We have moved on to Madera, CA - Jim's hometown - for a family reunion.
Hot! Hot! Hot! The heat has moved in. Even in San Francisco. But I was not ready for the 109 degrees here in the Valley. Jim says it feels familiar to him. Maybe so, but whatever - it's HOT. Thank goodness for air conditioning.
We are staying at the Madera Valley Inn. It has fallen out of favor with some of the other out-of-town family members but we are loyal to it. Yes, its getting care worn but after forty years of annual visits we feel at home here. To us it is the "king's motel".
When our grandson Jamie was 3 years old he noticed the Best Western gold crown logo and dubbed it the "kings motel." And so it has been for us ever since.
The coffee shop at the "king's motel" is a breakfast gathering spot for old-timers in town. Jim always sees someone he knows. Last time we were here he ran into a girl-friend from high school. This morning he introduced me to a guy he knew at Madera High School who is a seasoned large scale farmer in the area - managing large pistachio orchards for absentee owners along with his own acerage. I found the guy fascinating and learned a lot about how farmers adopted the pistachio when cotton and corn were on the way out as profitable crops thirty years ago.
When I asked him how long his family had been farming in this area he shared some wonderful stories about his family arriving in the Valley by covered wagon in 1870. They came from the South, their freed slaves choosing to come with them.
He said his grandmother was a six year old girl. http://www.friendsofsaguaro.org/rattlesnakes.jpg
She told him stories of the trip. "They gave her a sawed-off shot gun. She walked beside the wagon and shot snakes in the brush which they ate for supper. She told me that a well-cooked rattler tasted just like chicken."
And ofcourse there is always the quick trip into Wal Mart to pick up something.
We watched the fireworks over Moraga, CA from the Safeway parking lot - fewer cars and an excellent view. We set up lawn cars beside the car and enjoyed the show. Only one thing - Safeway Starbucks had closed-so no lattes.