Sorry that I haven’t been a very prolific blogger lately, but I have been working way too much, and I’ve been busy trying to reason with the rest of the bloggers out there that post things just to make me mad and see me jump.
I have several good ideas, but even good ideas need some research. I have a lot of un-posted history from my very own family that I want to post about someday. It probably smacks of nepotism to write about my family, but they say that you should write about what you know best, so in my case that would be my family. Plus, I kinda’ like my family, and when I look around I see a lot of people that don’t get along that well nowadays. What’s up with that? It seems like everyone is turning against everyone lately.
Maybe it’s Seasonal Affected Disorder. That’s were the dreary weather physically makes you depressed. Something about the lack of sunlight does it to you. I’m not depressed by lack of light; it’s just that winters get so damned annoying! Sometimes I just want to slap something! But, I'm not affected by it.
I promised myself that I wouldn’t stoop to the obvious and comment about the weather again, so I’ve missed some grand opportunities this last couple of weeks. I could have even taken some pictures. But, just about everybody that would be interested probably has a better story than I do, and I hate to be outdone.
Like I say, I'm not affected by that SAD thing, but I don’t understand why I almost slapped that nice young lady that came prancing into the store the other day and proclaimed so cheerfully that; “I just LOVE the rain, it's soooo fresh!!!” Damn, it makes me mad just thinking about her! It’s a good thing that I’m a cheerful person. I feel sorry for all those people that are affected by all this damn dreary weather!
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Sorry that I haven’t been a very prolific blogger lately, but I have been working way too much, and I’ve been busy trying to reason with the rest of the bloggers out there that post things just to make me mad and see me jump.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
My Mother, Elsie, was looking through my grandfathers papers the other day and she ran across this document. (click on photo's for enlargement)
Back in the early 1900’s My grandfather, Wilhelm H. Rathjens, was the manager of the El Rancho Primero, a large ranch in the north end of the Laytonville valley. The ranch extended to the Main Eel River and took up all of the Woodman canyon area, also the Black Oak ranch, and Iron Peak area. I’m not sure of the exact boundaries, but the ranch was huge by today’s standards.
Wildfire was a concern back then as it is now, but the ranchers would burn the brush and trees to clear their land for cattle or sheep. Because of the fire hazard involved, large stands of brush were not allowed to accumulate. Even when I was a kid there was much talk about the Indians managing the land with fire, and it was considered to be necessary to burn. They burned very frequently.
Fires would often get out of hand, and burn far beyond what they were supposed to. The only method of fighting fire was by hand. They would use wetted gunny-sacks tied to a stick and wait for the fire to move into the grass land were they would wet the sacks and flail them onto the burning grass, or by building hand scraped fire breaks. A large wall of people with wetted sacks was the best way to stop a wildfire. Often, every able bodied person in the whole valley would be recruited and organized into fire fighting brigades. Every man woman and child would be involved in stopping a wild fire. Houses were protected from an approaching wildfire by burning the grassland around the buildings, and controlling the rate of burn with the wetted sack flails. Controlling a fire would become a large community effort. They packed water by hand or horse, everyone had to be fed. Everyone had a job to do with the fire until it was out. There never seemed to be much blame placed on anyone for starting the fire, probably because most of them were an accident.
Getting back to the document that my mother found. The document was dated 1922. This was before she was born, and she doesn’t recall any stories of fires of that era. But, I found that it was interesting that it was a “voluntary” position. Whatever that means. And, that it was the “California Board of Forestry” that issued it. The document in itself tells a lot, the fact that my grandfather was a “Voluntary Fire Marshal” was indeed interesting to me. There is nobody alive at this point that would know any of that kind of history, and my mother doesn’t remember any “stories” of Warden Grampa.
Does anybody know anything about what that document meant? Maybe Eel River Ernie would know. One of my Grandfathers nicknames was "Willie", do you think that he might have been the original "Piss Fir Willie?"
Monday, January 21, 2008
As Ekovox already knows, before “Newcomers”, the loggers wore cork boots outside, and Romeo Slippers inside, and “never the twain should meet.” (That means, “the boots stopped at the door frame“). It was the same way with the ranchers and farmers, the Milk boots and overshoes stopped at the door frame.
Ahhh… But then came the “Newcomers”. They thought of themselves as the “Modern-Day-Daniel Boones”. They all had long hair, a “Jim Bowie Knife” strapped on one side of their hip, and a “Buckskin Powder Pouch” on the other. It was darn strange smelling “Powder” they had, but they were real concerned about keeping it dry.
Whenever we were in the presence of a lady and had a hat on, we didn’t have to take it off, but it was absolutely certain, and without any doubt, that you had to either tip your hat or touch your finger to the brim to acknowledge that you were in the presence of a “Lady”. To not touch your hat was an insult, and about the same as calling her a whore. But the newcomers were so busy pointing out all the things that we did wrong that they never picked up on that subtlety. Then they would say: “What do you people have against newcomers?” While we were thinking “You just called my wife a whore and you don’t even know it!”
At my Gramma’s door there was a hat rack, and when you came inside, the corks came off, the Romeo’s went on, and the hat went on the rack. It was “Disrespectful to wear your hat in the house”.
Then came the “Newcomers”. They wore their “newcomer get-up” wherever they went, inside, outside, in restaurants, in stores, at parties, wherever they went their costume went. Their hats stayed on top of their heads at all times, it was part of their costume, and they would have felt naked without it. They didn’t know the rules of country etiquette.
We used to cuss a lot when we were outside or with the men folk, the language was referred to as barnyard talk, or woods talk, but it didn’t belong in the house, or around polite women folk. The newcomers talked the same, no matter who they were around, or where they were. They didn’t know how to cuss very good outside, but what little bit that they knew about cussing, you guessed it, they took it right on inside with them.
Now to get around to what Ekovox was referring to when he talked about waffle stompers. He knows how those shoes upset me.
The newcomers showed up with their “Country Shoes”, Waffle Stompers, Vibram Soles, Mud-Grip Hippie Slippers, Manure Spreaders, Mud Trackers. Yep, you guessed it again, those shoes went wherever they went, through the pig pen, through the mud, through the dog poop, and right into your house, or store, with nary a thought of wiping their feet. You see, they were raised on sidewalks, and they didn’t know how to wipe their feet. They didn’t recognize that they were tracking crap into your place. They thought that everything in the country was clean.
I have been able to meet the newcomers half way on most stuff, and some of them have even become great friends, but most of the city habits that they brought with them never changed. So when you see someone track mud into a house or store, I will give nine to one odds that the person was raised in a city. Check it out. You’ll find I’m right!
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I guess it’s about time that I explain what I mean when I say; “Language is not about correctness, it’s about communicating.”
Most of my people, as I like to call them, admired educated people and would show them great deference, they would usually quiet down around an educated person. When there was an educated person in the group; that person always had the first and last say. When an educated person wanted to take over a conversation they would usually start it out with something like; “There is no such word as “ain’t”, usually in the context of correcting someone else. That always gave the educated person the floor because my people didn’t talk without words like “ain’t”. Their language was colorfully sprinkled with contractions and colloquialisms. To me their language was like a carefully thought out poem. And I loved to hear them talk. I knew from being around them, that some of them were the smartest and wisest people that existed anywhere. I knew their language, and I didn’t interrupt them with rude “correctness”.
I was always far more interested in what the working people had to say than some of the crashing, crushingly boring, educated people. It always bothered me that my people would stop telling stories around the “educated”.
“The most striking feature of Shakespeare is his command of language. It is all the more astounding when one not only considers Shakespeare's sparse formal education but the curriculum of the day. There were no dictionaries; Although certain grammatical treatises were published in Shakespeare's day, organized grammar texts would not appear until the 1700s. Shakespeare as a youth would have no more systematically studied his own language than any educated man of the period.
His facility with language, and the art with which he employed its usage, is why Shakespeare is as relevant today as he was in his own time.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you have story that you want to tell, tell it here.
I don’t know how to use most of the words in the English dictionary, and care little if I ever use them. If I can tell you a story, or you can tell me one, that is what this blog is all about. I don’t give a damn how good you spell or how bad you talk. I'll accept swearing if that's how the hell you tell your story, I speak the language. I’ll delete with-out a trace, any criticism about how you use your "languge".
I want to hear history, I want to hear tall tales, and I want to hear bald face lies. But I want to hear your stories. I want any little known fact, I want any recipe, I want anything to do with the north coast…Even if it starts with; “I heard from somebody that heard from somebody that this story is absolute fact!’
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I failed Enlgish in high school. If I can communicate, so can you. If I would be offended by anything, it would be if you tried to talk like somebody you aren’t. So, start telling me things! Learn to spell later. I did.
"This above all: to thine own self be true". (Willie again)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The Jerry Seinfeld show was known as “The show about nothing”. My blog is rapidly becoming “The Blog about nothing”. Well… At least it’s the blog about the weather. Exciting stuff.
My whole life I’ve heard anecdotal evidence about how terrible the weather was in all of the thirties. When my ancestors would tell me that they had to walk ten miles to school and back through a foot of snow, and it was uphill both ways. I knew it was an exaggeration, but when they told me that they drove the Model-A Ford up the creek to get back home on to the ranch, I kind of believed it, but I thought that It might be like the Santa Clause story. It was only told to impress us kids and it probably didn’t happen.
As I grew older I heard more stories, and the dates had a tendency to coincide, so I started giving the stories some credence. I have personally seen the snow on the main street of Garberville over six inches deep, at least twice, but I remembered that I didn’t believe my ancestors, so what would make anyone think that I actually saw that.
A very, very deep freeze in 1933 comes up over and over again, and there are many stories of driving on the creeks and rivers that I know that it must be true. All of the thirties was known, or talked about as being years of incredible cold, and the stories are told from Miranda to Laytonville with nearly all the same dates. So something happened in the thirties.
One of my cousins that won’t say a word on my blog, just e-mailed me and told me this story. I’ll put it out there without his name on it, because he is just too shy. He’s always been kind of a sissy anyway…
Idle Parker told me one time that when he was a kid he would hire on with the Garberville to Harris mail stage to open and close gates. All 22 of them. This was so the horses didn't have to stop.
Kenny Parker told me he saw 18" of snow in Garberville in 1936 or 38, can't remember which year now as my memory fails me most of the time. Obviously this was before global warming.
“Jim The sissy”
“Jim the sissy” is legendary in his own right, I’d tell you how he kicked Paul Bunyan’s butt and ate his ox for dinner, but I’ll have to wait until he gets through being shy.
Thanks for the story Jim.
What I’d like to know is how does one go about accessing historical weather records like that, or the rainfall records of the floods, Or the high temperature records from the fifties when the summers were hotter than hell? There must be some one that knows that stuff. Who does that???
Monday, January 14, 2008
“Sometimes during a real cold spell in Laytonville, your uncle Ben would set a sprinkler on one of his bare trees near the highway overnight &, by morning, the thing would be covered with huge & beautiful sparkling icicles. It would literally stop traffic! We ran a picture of it in the newspaper more than once, I think.”
I hope you don’t mind that I make a posting out of your comment, but I do remember him doing that. He would spend a good part of the night getting the water flow just right. Too much water and it would melt, not enough and it wouldn’t make icicles. I’ll bet my cousin Penny has some photos. I’ll see if I can get her to post them.
Uncle Ben discovered how to make an icicle tree by accident. As you may know, Ben had a sawmill about four miles north of Laytonville, back in the Fifties. On really cold nights they had to keep the water running to the water tower, to keep the pipes from freezing. The water cooled the saws when the mill was running during the day. There was about a twelve foot fir tree that grew beside the tower, and the overflow would splash on one of the tower crossbeams spaying the tree with mist. It was on of the most beautiful sights that one could ever see when the sun shined through it. It was pure and clean, and just plain beautiful. My uncle Ben decided that the only way to tell people how pretty it was, was to make his own tree next to the highway. He really enjoyed watching people screech to a stop, back up and take a picture. It was as pretty as a crystal chandelier.
Friday, January 11, 2008
This has been a miserable winter so far with all the wind, rain, road failures, and power outages. I overheard a couple of newcomers that had Garberville weather all figured out. They were seated at the counter of a popular downtown restaurant. The subject of the weather came up and the one guy said to the other, “Only a damn fool would not believe in Global Warming after all of this weather.” They talked about the rainfall and the minor flooding, and how it even snowed in Redway, and about all the trees that blew down, and how this is the worst power outages in a long time. They put it all together and decided: “Yep! Global Warming”.
As I sat there chuckling to myself, and trying not to tell them that they were missing a whole bunch of information. I got to thinking about the weather I’ve seen in Garberville.
The first time I remember the weather being a phenomenon was the flood of 1955. I won’t go into great detail because the flood of 1964 greatly surpassed it. But, there were a bunch of homes and towns that were washed away, or heavily damaged in 1955. Some were rebuilt right back in place, because they thought that the flood was a freak occurrence and wasn’t likely to happen again.
Then there was the Columbus Day wind storm in 1962, where forests were blown down like match sticks. The north end of the flat over by the Garberville airport had a large stand of Fir trees. If you know where the Crazy Horse Ranch is, they grew on that flat. A whole wall of trees blew down across the road. A man, Lloyd Swenson, who was a passenger in a pick-up truck, was killed. The man who owned the Garage in Briceland, Pete Star, decided that the wind was just getting too bad, and he decided to drive home to Garberville. Just as he was nearing the west end of the bridge that crosses the Eel river in lower Redway, a large diameter Redwood fell clear through the west approach to the bridge. Realizing that he was not going to be able to travel any further, he turned around and headed back toward Briceland. Before he could get out of the grove, more trees came down and he was blocked in. Not really thinking about what he was doing he got out of the truck and ran for his life. Heavy Redwood limbs were falling all around him. He made it out of the grove alive and walked back to Briceland. His truck was relatively unscathed. There were more trees blown down than the loggers could salvage, and some ended up rotting. That was a gravy-train year for the logger, with all the trees already down and all laying in the same direction. Nowadays there would be some environmental reason that they would all have to rot.
The brunt of the storm hit in Oregon where the wind was so strong that the wind speed gauges blew up. They figured out that some ridge top winds hit 179 M.P.H.
The 1964 flood has been talked about by almost everyone, but one of the things that you may not know is how much it rained. I have heard all kinds of reasons for the flood to have happened. The one that I’ve heard the most is the loggers built so many roads in the hills that they just washed away. To some extent that was true, but south of Leggett California, there was a whole large hillside of virgin timber that slid clear into the river. The forest had never had a piece of logging equipment in it. It was one of the worst landslides on the South fork of the Eel.
In the headwaters of the South Fork of the Eel, Branscomb California, It rained twenty-four inches in forty eight hours, seven of those in the last four hours. It rained like a heavy thunder shower for two days, and the final rain was so heavy that it couldn’t even run off. It looked like it was raining so hard that you couldn’t breathe the air. All of the culverts in Garberville were over run, and water was running down the streets like rivers. A person could not walk across the main street, because the water was to deep and swift. It was one of the spookiest feelings that I’ve ever had. Everyone was speechless, dead silent. Some times you would hear someone worry out loud about someone or some place, otherwise there was dead silence. There was some that even wondered if Garberville was high enough off the river to avoid flooding. None of us had ever seen rain like that before, or since.
In the early seventies the winter temperatures got down to 14 degrees in Redway, the fire hydrants froze and broke. It was so cold that even the drain lines were frozen, and almost every pipe and faucet that was exposed broke. The temperature got down 4 degrees in Whitethorn, and it got clear down to Zero in Branscomb.
In the middle of all this cold weather, my cousin Roy Branscomb came up from Laytonville to go fishing. We went down to lower Redway, to the Pete Johnson hole. He hooked a large steelhead almost immediately. He played it for quite a while and his hands were getting very cold. Just as he got it to shore, it came unhooked and we both jumped into the shallow water with our hip boots, and between the two of us we were able to grab the fish and flip it onshore. We left the fish there and ran for the truck, our hands were so cold that we couldn’t feel anything. I had left the keys in the ignition, you could still do that back then. The truck started and while we were waiting for it to get warm we looked down at our hands and the backs of them had ice on them.
Also in the early seventies, we had over one-hundred inches of rain in Garberville. It stared raining in August and it rained fairly steadily up until May. I remember that my new bride, Janis, and I were taking a drive up Mud Creek in Laytonville, to see the mud springs. My Uncle Ben Branscomb was driving his new Bronco that he was so proud of. I remarked about what a warm rain that it was. My Uncle replied; “It aught to be warm, this is August!”
When the Franciks moved to Redway, they rented a house, and I delivered them a new refrigerator. They remarked that they didn’t want to buy a house yet, because they heard that it rained a lot in Garberville, and they weren’t sure that they would like it here. I must have thought of them a hundred times that winter. By spring they decided that if that was one of the wettest winters, that it would be okay, and that they liked the people here. So they stayed.
In the late seventies we had less than twenty-two inches of rain. It rained so little that all of the hill people’s springs were dried up. That was back before all of the potable water trucks were around, and every one had to haul their own water. Dick Keating was smart enough to buy up a bunch of surplus pickle barrels and he sold them by the thousands. People were coming out of the hills and stealing water from anyone that had a faucet that they could sneak up to. Finally they put in a water dispenser at the Redway fire hall. If I recall correctly it was set to dispense fifty gallons of water for twenty-five cents.
One person that I knew hauled his water in an old waterbed that he had in the bed of his truck. He had a piece of plywood placed over it to keep it from sloshing. He had some good old Garberville ingenuity.
There has been a few remarkable earthquakes, and some pretty terrific fires also. The Finnly Creek fire burned from Finnly creek on the Wolf Ranch on Telegraph Ridge to Shelter Cove and out to sea in one night. Over ten thousand acres. It was fanned by a strong land wind, like a Santa Anna Wind but the Southern Californians get upset if you use that term because they own it.
Then more recently the Saddle fire and the Canoe Fire. But most people know about the recent stuff, I just though you might like to hear about some of the things that happened around here to the best of my recollection. Some things I’ve left vague because I can’t remember the exact dates, or numbers but otherwise this is a fairly accurate recolllection of things. Please feel free to add to, or correct me.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
I was just over at “The Journal's” website, and I ran across a very witty poem that I would like to repeat here to save you the trip over there, but I’m not sure it’s okay. You know how those professional writers are about using their stuff without paying them. So, make the trip over there and come back here. Then we’ll discuss it.
David Holper wrote a very witty poem about punctuation, I think. But, it really hit home with me, because I’ve always had a tough time with punctuation, and I’ve noticed that a lot of us amateur writers have problems with punctuation, and grammar, and spelling, but we always seem to get our point across. It used to be that when I wrote something, I would spend a long agonizing time trying to clean up the way that I wrote it. When I got through, it was not even anything that I would say, or even recognize.
I finally figured out that most people don’t use correct English. So, I decided that I would try to communicate by using the language that people “really use” instead of correct English. My rule was; if I can understand it, anyone can. And, I adopted the philosophy that; “Language is not about correctness, it is about communicating”.
I find myself falling way short on my punctuation skills, but I try hard to get my point across, and usually people “get it”.
One time when my wife and I were at a concert, and the band was exceptionally good. I was feeling pretty insignificant, because I can’t play a note, it occurred to me that probably none of the band members could build a refrigerator, and I’m darn good at it, and it made me feel a lot better.
Now, whenever I'm very impressed with someone else’s talents, I lean over and tell my wife that I don’t think that person knows how to build a refrigerator. I'll bet David Holper doesn’t know diddley about building a refrigerator.
What do you do well, or like to do? Or, I'll make it easier, what don't you do well, or don't like to do. How about, what would you like to do better?... I wish I could be a better writer.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Click on photo to enlarge
All those downstream of Redway, two thousand gallons of raw sewage, and fifty gallons of diesel just dumped in the South Fork of the Eel river. The truck went off the freeway at Hooker Creek and down over the frontage road. It spun around and broke almost in half and all the pieces ended up down over the riprap and stopped just with the drivers side wheel in the river. The driver climbed out the passenger side, his only apparent injury was a cut to his left hand and he was not transported to the hospital.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Centerville beach road, looking north.
Early technology. Sadly, if that was mine I would have ruined by restoring it to perfect condition, and noboby would stop and take pictures.
Nice little stream, what we used to call a crick.
A nice photo with lots of sky, it would make a great photo for a title page. All kinds of sky to write in.
Which photo do you like best of the last two Janis and I can't agree. So what else is new!
When I first started reading Blogsites, it was because the Reggae Festival thing had hit the fan and all of the people involved in the issue were at each others throats. My first reaction was one of shock, and my first question was; what the heck is happening? Then I got an E-mail from a friend telling me that Erik Kirk was putting all the pertinent information on his Blogsite. As a member of the community that was deeply involved in “the happening” of the Reggae festival, and had zero to do with the planning, or the implementation of the event, I became concerned. So I started reading Eric’s blog, and after a while I started trying to comment, with GREAT difficulty, but soon I was commenting with the pro’s. And, I found a few blogsite like 299 Opine that talked a lot about local history, and I became interested in those sites. (I put a list of the sites that I visit on a daily basis on the left-hand side of my blogsite.)
After a few a people started criticizing the way that Eric was deleting certain comments, probably because the comments were filled with slander or liable. He made the remark; “If you don’t like the way I run my blog, start your own. It takes about five minutes”. Being a person of curiosity, I did start my own. At first I left it private, and played around with the color scheme and font styles and sizes. Then I discovered that I could put the comments that I made in a blogsite on to my own blog, where I could save them for my own reference. I soon learned that I could post things on my blogsite from anywhere that there was a computer. I started putting things on my blog while I was at the shop, them finishing them at home without having to remember to download to a memory stick or e-mailing them to somewhere. The convenience of everything being accessible all the time was nice.
I was writing about a lot of family things, and some local stories and recipes. I e-mailed my family to let them know that they could check my blogsite for my stories, and I told them how to comment. To my disappointment, I’ve not received any comments from them, other than e-mail. So I put a site-counter on, to see how many people were looking at the site, and I was amazed at how many times my family and friends were checking on it, without leaving a comment.
When Eric announced that I had a blog, the meter went nuts for a few days, and has now settled down to a steady but impressive (to me) pace.
But, I’ve always liked being part of a discussion, not the one doing all the talking. So why do people check this blog-site? Is it the acorn muffin recipes, the local history? Is it the hope that I might say something interesting someday?
I have had people make great comments, then apologize for taking up so much space. But, I have had some awfully good comments, better than I expected, from people like Ben, Ekovox, Carol & Greg, Kym, Eric and many more. Some from out of the area, which surprised me that some of the subjects that I talk about would be of interest to them.
I always find the comments to be more interesting than what I post, even the simple ones. I like it when someone adds an opinion, or suggests a new subject.
I’m personally fond of local history, local characters, local recipes, local events. Or amusing stories. Or little known facts about anywhere. I’m not very good on world politics, and I feel that I can do very little to change them. I like to stay current on local politics, but I find that there are people out there that can eat me alive with the minutia that they can bring up, and it seems that they must spend a great deal more time on the details than I have the time for.
It seems that nowadays many people are living behind “walls” of their own making. But I have found that by using my own name on my blog, I have discovered that people are more willing to comment, and add opinions that we share in common. I have found long lost friends and relatives through posting with my own name. Conversations come up like we used to have in the good old days when society was more open and inviting.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
1- Have you ever seen a woman go totally crazy swatting chickens off the porch with a broom? Do you know if they will ever learn to stay of the porch?
2- Have you ever slept in a real feather bed, with a real feather pillow? Did you help pluck the feathers, or do you know how?
3- Have you ever used an out-house? Do you know how to make toilet paper out of a catalogue?
4- Have you ever made homemade ice cream? Out of real cows cream and fresh ranch eggs?
5- Have you ever seen a dog round up cattle? Have you ever seen a dog go get the cows by itself?
If you can answer the first part of the question you probably belong here. If you can answer the second part of the question you were probably born here.
Does anyone have any more two part questions, or do you know the answers to the first five?
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
My wife and I were out celebrating our anniversary. We were married on New-Years eve. We thought at the time that it was a great time to get married. We thought that New-Years Eve would be great, because there would always be a party to go to. We were right about that, but in our youth we didn’t think about the quality of the parties that we would be going to. After a while, when I wanted to take her out to someplace special, it became apparent that New-Years-Eve was the theme, not Janis and Ernie. It became more and more difficult to dump the crowds and just have a nice evening. The food is usually a reduced menu, and the patrons of most of the Restaurants are there to celebrate the New-Year. Their plan seems to be, to get drunk and scream at the tops of their voices. And, where-the-hell did the women of today learn that loud-as-hell “wwwoooooo” that they do.
Some of our anniversaries we would grab a couple of steaks and a bottle of wine and go to my mother’s vacant house in Laytonville. We would built a big fire in the glass front stove and eat steaks, salad, and French bread, and drink a bottle of wine. But, that comes with doing the cooking yourself, plus cleaning up the mess. That went by the wayside the last few years because of the weather and the Confusion Hill Slide.
So this year I planned ahead and called for reservations at the Ginger Bread Mansion in Ferndale. My new friend Bob answered the phone and told us to go to their web site and choose a room, and that they were all available, when I made the reservation, with the exception of one. After a long lecture about the fact that they don’t allow smoking, candles, or incense I told him; we don’t smoke, so that suited us fine. I don’t like candles anyway, they stink. And, I explained that we could forgo the incense until at least Chinese New-Year. Then he told me; “Oh, by the way, there are NO cancellations”. So, I put everything on my card so we could have the room. I chose the Rose-Room because it looked warm and it was right in front, with a good view. The room with the tile floor was definitely out of the question. I could imagine my feet freezing to the floor on the way to the bathroom. I told him that I wanted a king-sized bed, because that was what we were used to. He said that the room has a king sized bed, but the top of the bed was about four feet off of the floor, and he gave me some Victorian reason why that it had to be that tall back then. I told him that the pedestal bed would be fine, even though I had no intention of sacrificing any virgins, that the bed would be fine, and that my wife and I were quite agile, and we could deal with it... "Alright", I thought, "So it sounds like my wife and I have a date."
The next morning she has the dreaded “Humboldt Crud”, and I had an anxiety attack over the fact that I had a high dollar, non-refundable room in Ferndale. But, not to worry, she got well in plenty of time for our “Date”. I think she does that for the attention.
My wife somehow got wind of an “Afternoon Tea” that happened in the afternoon. So we had to leave early, because she either has never been to a “Tea” before, or she just knew it was “not-to-miss”. Whatever… We had to be there early! When we got there, it wasn’t time to open yet and we had to wait until four. I think Bob said something about that, but I wasn’t in the least worried about the “tea” at that time, so I instantly disregarded it. My bad… As it turned out there was no “Tea” on that day, so this is my fault too, I freely admit it, and I remind myself that I have “manners”, and after all this is our anniversary. So, I smile and act like I feel terrible that we missed “Tea”. Bob met us warmly at the door and introduced us to his wife and business partner Julie. We filled out all the paper work and had a nice conversation about life in general.
We had dinner at The Ivanhoe, Bob had made reservations for us at seven-fifteen, we arrived right on time, were seated immediately, we had menus and water on the table before we were completely seated, the servers were fast and efficient. I had Mahi Mahi, Italian style with a fresh basil sauce over the top, perfectly steamed vegetables with a delicious sauce over them, and the pasta with a great tomato based sauce. My wife had a perfect Fillet Mignon with a baked potato and the same veggies.
Being a people watcher, I noticed quite a few Dairymen and their wives there, all talking loudly, and talking with their hands. The men were talking about their farms and what all the other farmers were doing, and the women were discussing the happenings of the day. There were a few young ranchers and their wives, and there were a few of what can only be described as newcomer, outsider, confused tourist types, with “Whaaaat the hell?”… looks on their faces. It was a fun place to be, and I didn’t hear any screaming, or wwwwoooo’s.
We had a great meal and we were out of there by eight. We went back to our room and sat in front of the real looking, but nice and warm fireplace and chatted about our long happy marriage, and how proud we are that we have been able to avoid a murder/suicide so far. We went to bed early. We found the stairway to get into the bed, I dubbed them “the stairway to heaven”…. Because the bed was so high. What were YOU thinking? I slept like a baby ’til eleven-thirty where there was a premature fireworks volley, then it all calmed down until midnight when there was another volley of fireworks.
Shortly after midnight the town sirens started sounding. Being a fireman myself, my feet just automatically hit the floor when I hear a siren. I congratulated myself that I remembered that I was four feet off of the ground and made my way off the end of the bed. I ripped the curtains open and watched the trucks leaving. The fire station is just across the street from the Mansion. I remembered my fire radio and turned it on to find what the call was. It turned out that someone had dislocated their hip on Mainstreet. So I reassured my wife that the firefighters were probably locating the hip by then, and all was well with us, and we went back to sleep.
We went down for breakfast at nine, we had granola, fresh orange juice, a raspberry muffin, and something made with ham and bread and onions and egg, then all mixed together and baked, with a great cheese topping. It was delicious, so it wasn’t quiche! Because real men don’t eat quiche.
We went for a drive to the beach, Janis took many photo’s, some of which you may see someday, but at any rate I can assure you it won’t be currently or timely.
We had a great morning at the beach. We came back and had lunch at Curley’s. Again, we had great service, we were served readily and we both had Tomato-Basil soup with a Spinach Salad, with fresh sourdough bread with garlic stuffed in the top, with a bowl of garlic dipping oil. Yum!
We came home early this afternoon. We had a great time and we would highly recommend the Gingerbread Mansion, The Ivanhoe, or Curley's to anyone, based on our experience today. My wife had so much fun that she’ll probably go back by herself next year.
Actually, with all kidding aside, we had a wonderful and romantic time, but she probably wouldn't want me telling you about that. So this is what you get!