And We’re Off

Apparently, I have more than adjusted to being in the Pacific Daylight Time Zone. Though I woke at 5, I drifted back to sleep quickly, finally forcing myself out of bed just after 7…almost 9 back home. On one hand, this late rising feels decadent and wasteful of daylight. On the other, I do not remember the last time I felt so thoroughly rested when I got up for the day. Mi novia is glad I slept so late; I’m still not quite certain I appreciate wasting so much daylight to laziness. But I will shift blame for the aberration from myself to my activities of late; as much as I have enjoyed meeting and spending time with mi novia’s family, the engagements have required me to expend energy I otherwise would have stored. An excuse, perhaps, but MY excuse.

Last night, even though I was not especially hungry, I was convinced I wanted food, especially after seeing a menu from a nearby restaurant that included goat curry and lamb vindaloo. We went in search of the place, only to find it no longer exists, at least not in the location I found online. Of course I took an online menu as evidence of its existence; I did not bother to check. Despite that setback, we found another place that looked quite interesting, the Dancing Fox, a winery and restaurant. We shared part of a bottle of Old Vine Zinfandel; I ordered fish and chips, mi novia ordered a chicken pie. Both were excellent. And we spoke briefly to the owner of the place, who before his “retirement” had been a clinical psychologist. Fascinating story. He and his wife now live in the middle of some of his acres of vineyards and he loves what he is doing. He is doing, by the way, what I long ago dreamed of doing. I gave up on the dream, though, when it became apparent I would never have enough financial resources to buy enough land and equipment to start a winery; not to mention the money I would need to hire someone to teach me how to produce large quantities of good wine. Oh, well. Life is full of opportunities that pass us by. We simply have to accept that they are beyond our reach and take hold of those within our grasp.

Yesterday afternoon, after visiting with mi novia’s mother, brother, her brother’s wife and son, and various neighbors and friends, we went for a drive around the “old neighborhood” of Stockton and stopped for a drink and hors d’oeuvres at a place on the water. We then went back to mi novia‘s mother’s place, where we all napped. After our good-byes, as we drove by the dozens of vineyards we passed each day of our visit, I felt a little melancholy about leaving this agricultural sweet-spot behind. I love to see seemingly endless rows of grape vines, each one meticulously attached to stakes and wires that train the vines to grow in ways that maximize both their productivity and their visual appeal. I want my own little vineyard. As I’ve already said, I’ve long dreamed of having a vineyard, making wine, and living in the middle of what I jokingly call a “grape orchard,” full of “grape trees.” Ach. But not here. Not in the Stockton area, a place lately so hot that neither man nor beast could thrive. Maybe Napa. Or Sonoma. Or the Pacific coast of Chile. What the hell; I’m dreaming, after all.

This morning, I’ve been watching and  listening to our church service, courtesy of Zoom. But we have to leave, so I shut off Zoom and we had breakfast before hitting the road. I decided to finish up this post after the meal so I would not feel compelled to complete it immediately on arrival in Berkeley. And so, here we go.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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