Remember the old story about Little Red Riding Hood? Little Red walked through the forest to visit her grandmother. Gayle and I emerge from the forest to visit our grandkids. Seems a little backward, but all of our kids work and even a couple of grandkids work, and our mountain retreat is 6 or 7 hours away. Consequently, it’s too far for a weekend visit for our kids.
So Gayle and I pack the car and brace our nervous system for our entrance into the frenetic Bay Area. Classical music and the drive through the
Feather River canyon is the lull
before the storm. There’s a lot to do and
many folks to visit within a few days.
We hit the checkered flag and the dog-friendly hotel in
Gatos in the afternoon, after the NASCAR race track on Highway 17, where you evidently
save fuel by staying in the draft of the BMW ahead of you.
Gayle went off to her daughter Carrie’s for dinner and I went for Chinese food with my old friend Al Borges. Al is one of the most gifted musicians I’ve known. He and I played in clubs up and down northern
back in the day.
Normally, a visit to
wouldn’t be complete without visiting my life-long pal Dick Whitaker, but his
recent death leaves a sad space in my schedule.
The next day was taken up by the graduation of our grandson Luke Brunner from
- the same school Gayle and
I graduated from back when land first appeared after Noah’s flood. He’s the third grandkid to graduate from L.G.
High. Los Gatos High School
It was a record-breaking turnout on a record-breaking heat wave and the last thing I wanted to do was sit in the sun and listen to speeches. I planned my escape.
Gayle went to the ceremony and I took Dakota and visited my friend and former coach, Pietro (Pete) Denevi. Pete is the author of the book, “Pietro,” in addition to being the best athlete to ever attend Los Gatos High. He’s now 86 years old and looks 60.
At 8:30 we had dinner for Luke and our family of eleven at Palacio Restaurant in
Los Gatos. New comers to Los Gatos don’t know that the restaurant
where they enjoy their steak was originally a mortuary.
The next morning we visited Frank and Ruth Nelson, old friends and classmates, but left at noon to meet with my two daughters and their families for a barbeque. We had the “maturity” to sit while our grandkids never stopped moving. My daughters are great cooks and it was good to let their husbands do all the work. It’s part of the senior discount program.
We headed to
after dinner to meet with Gayle’s son, who was celebrating his 50th birthday. We couldn’t find a parking place at the
restaurant, so Gayle could only run into the restaurant to greet Greg and the
group while I drove around and hid in “no parking” zones until she came
out. Very sad for Gayle and her son, but
we had too much packed into one day and got there late. Greg and Teri came out to the car, I
congratulated him, and we drove off.
We escaped the congestion in
San Mateo and headed for , where several friends awaited our
miraculous appearance. Obviously
drained, we spent the evening with our good friends Jay and Carla Cross (no
relation to Gayle). Jay anticipated our
arrival and had a gin and tonic ready for me.
He knew I’d need it. Discovery Bay
The next day we had lunch with Dwight and Lynnette Klassen, life-long friends and I met Dwight later that day for a beer. Then came the finale.
Four old friends had a fantastic dinner hosted by Jay and Carla, with Gene and Dannette Kreps and two tired mountain people. This was a stimulating experience with great conversations among the six of us. Jay is a retired steel company executive, Carla is convention speaker and member of Mensa, Gene is a brain surgeon and is on the Executive Committee of the Republican Party. His wife, Dannette, is a brainy woman and a nurse and when you toss in my intelligent wife, the conversations were fun and enlightening.
Fortunately we were all on the same team in terms of religion and politics, although Gene is a solid Republican and I’m more of a “Conservative/Libertarian” combination. But there wasn’t a single issue that he and I didn’t agree on, which was interesting.
The next morning was involved in moving furniture, hanging pictures, and other “decorative” stuff, engineered by Gayle and Carla. Finally we packed the car and drove the many hours back to Greenhorn Ranch.
All of the above is just typical of every trip we make to see our kids and friends. I guess I wonder if we’re nuts. Is this type of behavior normal for grandparents in today’s world? Are there too many cars and too many people back in “civilization” or have I lived in the mountains too long? Today is my first morning back. I just took my dog Dakota for a hike in the mountains and it felt reeeeeal good.