Char, Pat and I went to see "The Old Man of the Mountain" today. More accurately, I guess he would be the "Old Man of the Foothills."
This is Richard, who was our friend Michele's husband and who has lived alone in their house in the Sierra foothills since Michele's death. Richard, the dog Kofi (yes, named for that Kofi ... how many Kofis do you know? These are people who once had a dog named Milhouse during the Watergate years.) and a couple of cats.
Char picked me up and we drove to an Office Max in Sacramento, where we met Pat. (We also met Peach, who was picking something up from me...when I realized we were going to be late, and found out that Peach had not brought her cell phone with her, I called Pat and told her to look for a lady in a lime green Volkswagon and introduce herself and explain that we were running a bit late!)
As we did last time, we got slightly lost getting to Richard's house. It's in one of those crazy country roads that nobody ever travels and that defeat GPS systems. On our way out again, I took this photo...
...to remind us next time that at the mailboxes, we need to take the high road! If we make this drive often enough, maybe we will be able to get there in one shot and avoid all those u-turns and backing down strange driveways!
After we finally arrived at the house, Char brought out some wine and Richard put out clam dip (of course) and we all sat around chatting over old times and new times.
It was fun to reminisce about the old days at Tiny Tots nursery school and the crazy people we met there, who became part of our babysitting co-op. The former freedom rider who literally cringed whenever she saw a policeman...she never talked about what she had witnessed (or experienced) as a freedom rider, but it must have been painful. We remembered the couple, he from Egypt and she from the Bronx, the least likely "middle eastern" wife you'd want to meet. I learned about hummus from her. There was the couple with the spina bifida baby and the couple with the triplets (the day they were born, the pregnant mama had to climb down the ladder of their unfinished house because they didn't have any steps yet!)
We reminisced about how many times the Dads, who took care of the upkeep of the place, set fire to the building while trying to burn off the paint. Char, who was the person they had to report the fires to would respond "God, you didn't call the fire department did you???" They never did--they just prepared for the inevitable fire when they were working around the building. We would probably all be arrested now for child endangerment, but at the time it was all a lot of fun.
I recalled how I came to my "juice and crackers" philosophy of life in those days, a philosophy which has not failed me in the past 30+ years.
Eventually, it was time to leave, but Richard had one request before we left. He wanted help figuring out how to send photos from his computer. Char and I, figuring we were the big gurus, confidently strode into his office to show him how it was done.
But he has one of those toy computers--an iMac, I think he called it--and all the logical PC commands didn't work. We even tried the "help" menu and did everything it said to do and still could not get a photo to attach to an e-mail. Ultimately, we told him to buy a PC. Or to have Char's daughter, who also has one of those toy computers, send him instructions.
It was really nice spending the afternoon with Richard. We really should do it more often.