...And a great time was had by all. I'm sure you've heard enough about my family for now, but I have to say, it was a terrific party on Saturday, and most important, my Dad had a great time. We were there to celebrate all the July birthdays, but truth is, we were mostly there for him. A lot of pressure comes with wanting to make another person happy. All we could do was provide the ingredients as we them, and hope for the best. The best is what we got. I still feel a knot of tension in my shoulder, but it will ease out as I let the weight of the world drop away. We did it. All together, we made a party to remember. And Dad liked his present too, which is no small feat. I made him a set of 80 marbles. Kind of a joke, because he loves jokes - "so you won't lose your marbles" - haha... But also a beautiful set of wondrous glass orbs to explore at his own pace over time, in a sunny window. He looked at me and just said, "This is amazing", which he rarely says, and then he closed up the knitted bag and put them away in his room, refusing to share them with the group because he was afraid some might get lost in the shuffle. Pretty funny. I had wanted to show them off to everyone, but this was not about me. A gift given has to be let go of. I'm pleased as punch he's happy.
(See all the pictures on Facebook. Sorry! I have a lovely slideshow, but can't get it to post here...)
We moved on up the coast a whole 38 miles yesterday, so see some dear old friends in Santa Cruz. When we all went to high school together in San Jose, we spent a lot of time over here at the beach when we should have been in class. It was so great to see them after all these years - more than 30 in some cases. Amazing. We went to Bocci's to hear Bruce play at the weekly jazz jam. He was a drummer back in the day, but stopped playing for 20 years while he and Masami raised their kids. I'm so glad he got back to the sticks. He's really good, and it makes him so happy. Randy's been a bass player forever too, and actually makes his living playing music. How cool is that?
Wendy, Gregg, Karen, Brian, Chris - so dang good to see them all. We're a little bit caught up now, and a little bit reconnected. I've never been to a class reunion, and don't plan to go to one, but these little gatherings mean a lot to me. I loved these people when I was a kid, and I love them now. I have good taste in friends.
Here we are - Randy, Karen, Bruce, Wendy, Gregg, Chris, Me, and Brian. What a lovely bag of marbles we are, hm?
We're parked in Bruce and Masami's driveway for a couple of days. They have an amazingly gorgeous home. It's big and grand and comfortable at the same time. Our humble "house" parked out front looks a little bit "Beverly Hillbillies" and out of place, and I find myself contemplating my own accomplishments and value on the planet. But then... there's always a but then... I remember what we're up to here, that we've made this choice to live small and loose and to be open to where it takes us. Sometimes we'll be in dusty desert RV parks, and sometimes we'll be in beautiful spots like this. We're still just us, wherever we are, and though we may not always know what we have to offer, surely we contribute something in any situation. We all do, always, whether we stay aware of it or not. My off-and-on ability to accept the good things offered to me remains a challenge, but I'm getting better and better with it. And I think what I give back is a love for rounding people up and connecting them in happy ways. It started in Taos, my new job as a human glue stick. I think it's something worth doing.
I know one thing today. I've missed the ocean terribly, even though I didn't know it for years. I took the dogs for a walk yesterday while Rick napped in the big massage chair in the house. I drank in the smell of sun-warmed eucalyptus and the feel of the soft sea air like someone who had spent a lifetime trudging across the desert dust, and finally coming across a mountain spring. I guess I have done that in a way. I'm not sure why I ever left here, and while I don't know yet if it's home, it sure feels like a dear old friend.