Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Many Gifts: North America – June 10 – July 31

Our time “at home” in El Norte this year gave us the opportunity to be thankful for many gifts of kindness.   Our visit ended in sadness, but that, too, included gifts:

Most Important Gift of All:  Though we received many gifts during our visits, the most important was the opportunity to spend time with Bryce’s mother, Mary Donna Andrews, before she died on July 27.  Mother A (Molly’s name for her) was in her hundredth year so we can’t say her death was unexpected.  She had a long and loving life full of family and friends, so her death can't be called a tragedy.  But it was a huge sadness to those of us who will miss her.
We arrived in Lakefield, Ontario on July 25 for a visit we had planned several months ago.  Bryce and his sister Brenda visited Mother A at the care facility in Lakefield where she lived.  Bryce was saddened to see how frail she had become since we last saw her in February.  Later that evening we received a call to return – that Mother A’s health had deteriorated further.   We spent much of the next 36 hours at her side and we each had a chance to hold her hand and tell her what she meant to us.  That is a gift that can’t be overvalued.   We will be forever grateful to Mother A for giving us an opportunity we had feared we might not have when we embarked on our nomadic life almost two years ago - the opportunity to say good-bye.   
Gifts of Caring and Kindness:  The rituals of death followed – we received food and flowers, reviewed family photographs, picked music, flowers and readings for the service, and met with extended family and family friends to share memories.  We appreciate all the kindnesses shown to us in this process.  Mother A’s obituary can be read here: http://www.hendrenfuneralhome.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2179258&fh_id=14678
New Family:  We were also reminded of the cycle that is life when we were introduced to our latest family member, Myles Kidd.  At three months he is a most spectacularly handsome fellow and his mother and father were generous enough to permit Aunt Molly (we’ll dispense with the “greats” that attach) to cuddle and feed him.

Myles and Cousin Erika.

Before our trip to Canada, we spent a less complicated time with family and friends.
In California – June 10 – July 23 -- hospitality from San Diego to Tahoe City:
  • comfortable guest accommodations in Alhambra, San Francisco, Sacramento and Tahoe City;
  • delicious home-cooked meals there and in Napa -- roast chicken (thanks for the recipe, Rob), grilled steaks, fresh salmon, a silky veal tonnato and for Bryce's birthday, a Spanish seafood stew we will not soon forget (and Molly hopes to replicate someday) to namedrop but a few;
The Dish
Chef Frank Chan
  • tasting visits to several wineries in the Napa area;
  • gifts of time at table – an introduction to wonderful sushi restaurants in San Diego and San Francisco and to the savory waffle at the Oakville Market, a high tea in Glendora, lunches squeezed into busy Sacramento work days, a bluesy picnic at McClatchey Park, and brunch with Arnold second cousins and cousins-once-removed in Santa Rosa;
  • gifts of time at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens and at “The Ranch” in Oakville; and
  • the gift of a family photo session with Molly’s brother Rob Arnold, his husband, Tom Reynolds, and Bravo the family canine (Bravo and Bryce are a mutual appreciation society) – thanks, for arranging this with Daren, Tom:
The Five of Us
For all of these, Thank You!

* * * * * *

We are now “at home” in the city of Guanajuato in the State of Guanajuato, Mexico where we have rented a one-bedroom house for the months of August and September.  Our next postings will be about life in town and our return to school (we are studying Spanish).  If you want to whet your appetite for our reports here’s a website with a nice video about Guanajuato:  http://www.visitmexico.com/en/guanajuato . 

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