I opened Kaye’s passenger side car door, mumbled, “Just a minute!” and huffed and puffed up my front stairs again. I was so much in need of this getaway and yet so unready. Just one more thing it was that I had to bring with me on our Spring Goddess Weekend. Good thing my head was sewn on tight. I apologized to the cats and the dog again for leaving them with my husband for the weekend, not a sad prospect by any means. Mr. Softie is very fond of the furry ones and they often come to snuggle up against, on or around him. But he was away at the San Francisco Giant Opening Day at the Ballpark baseball game, a tradition he is unlikely to break for any reason. I was taking off for the Russian River to meet my friends. Well, I was after I found just one more thing.
Finally in the car, house locked, cats and dog fed and consoled, dressed, packed, repacked and in a dither, we made our way slowly towards the edge of town.
Kaye, so patient with me, asked, “Do want me to turn back?”
“No, just pull into the high school parking lot. No one is here now. Just pop the trunk.” I did not have that visual memory of putting my toothbrush in my overnight bag. I rummaged through the trunk (that’s “boot” to you folks who speak alternative English) and realized that the reason I didn’t have a visual sense of putting it in my overnight bag was that I had put it in a different bag, one that was, at least, also in the trunk. I sighed with relief and a pang of guilt.
We drove a few blocks further and Kaye’s phone rang. You can’t talk on the phone and drive in California any more, not without risking a fine and of course much more importantly your safety. Kaye pulled over again into another strange parking lot and spoke on the phone a while. Then she shook in sobs of what I was soon to find out was relief; her sister’s diagnosis was so much better than they feared. I offered to drive. Kaye declined. We were both good now, Kaye I think much better than I was, having been so recently much worse.
We made it as far as the Sonoma Market, a wonderland of good grocery shopping worth every penny of the slightly higher prices. The deli, the bakery, the cheeses, the fish counter! We zoomed around the store to pick up provisions for the weekend, all the while sure that we would have too much food. We always have too much food. It’s what we do. It’s who we are.
“I forget, Kaye,” I called to her, my grocery cart behind hers as we headed in search of hummus. “Do we still drink wine?”
“Yes,” she laughed over her shoulder. “And we eat meat, too.”
A young man passing us in the aisle snickered. Kaye is younger than I am. I knew she would remember. The Giants won their home opener in extra innings while we were at the checkout counter and I breathed another sigh of relief. My husband would be elated at the win.
“Do you like Pete Seeger?” Kaye asked when we were back in the car, “Or Art Garfunkle?” Both, of course, and we listened to Angel Claire and then sang along with Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie.
“Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be "deportees."
As we sang, I watched the vineyards, the oak and laurel woods and coastal hills green with the heavy winter rain. The crumbling with little landslides had not completely collapsed onto the two-lane winding roads. I began to let go of technology in the specific, letting automotive and MP3 technology lull me to our favorite spring getaway spot with our friends of 20 years or more.
We had just hauled our bags and groceries into the house at the river when Julie arrived, then Ronda, then BG and we all sat at the round oak table, not my new one, but the one in the river house owned by my friends Al and Alice. We snacked on all the forbidden things, the wine, the brie, the chips, the salsa and a couple of token pears to ease our collective conscience. We traded our stories. I cooked the pasta in pesto with shrimp and it turned out all wrong but it tasted all right. We watched Tangled on the DVD player and howled and cried. I squirmed recognizing so much of my mother in Rapunzel’s “adoptive” mother who never, ever, ever wanted Rapunzel to leave the tower. It was midnight all of a sudden and I went to bed. The girls stayed up and talked more. I didn’t mind. I love these free-form weekends we get together, slumber parties for the older who have more insurance.
Ah, I settled into bed with my book A Discovery of Witches. Al and Alice must have gotten a “memory foam” topper for the bed. It was like sinking into comfort. I didn’t read. I turned off the light.
Bounce. What now, I thought. Someone had sat down hard at the bottom of the bed. "I’m sleeping," I mumbled. Two more bounces on that lower left side. Seriously. Another bounce on the end of the bed on the right side, then the bound of someone reclining on the right side next to me. Fine. Whatever. They all know I snore so enter at your own risk, I thought. And then I realized that these weren’t my friends. Well, they weren’t the friends I had intended to spend the weekend with. There were 8 or 10 of them. One of them looked a little like Bella Abzug without her hat. She seemed to be in charge of the “tour.” Another pushed a stroller. And they were upstairs and wanted to talk.
“No. Seriously, people, I’m sleeping. I’m off duty,” I grumbled. I would have put my foot down if I had not been lying down already. “You all have to go away. You’ll scare my friends. They think ghosts are scary, not just annoying or needy or whatever you are. Just go. Make an appointment next time.” I thought I recognized one of the departed members of the Football Pool where I met Al and Alice. They were confused a bit but Bella or whoever she was led them back downstairs. And out. Good grief.
I slept in a bit the next morning, showered, dressed and padded downstairs.
“You’re dressed,” my friends said, suddenly aware that they weren’t ready for the day. They kvetched and cooed and kitchened and changed into casual day clothes.
BG asked around the breakfast table, “Did any of you have a weird night?” She recounted being awakened by someone she didn’t know and kicking the wall beside her bed. I wasn’t going to say anything about the Tour Group but since BG had been disturbed I confirmed it.
“They’re gone now.” Kaye made me check for sure. Suddenly, I was the Knight of Swords, banishing evil, well, not exactly evil, more like uninvited guests. There was no evil there.
|Victorian Trade Card Tarot|
Now in its 2nd Edition
(c) copyright 2010
“Did you look under the beds?”
“No,” I said. “Everyone knows there are monsters under the beds and I don’t want to look at them.” We all laughed.
We discussed going to Armstrong Grove and visiting a friend of BG’s who had a table out at Duncans Mills. Duncans Mills won and the drive there and out to Jenner satisfied our outdoor needs; we stopped a few times for the stunning vistas. We shopped in Jenner and I found a couple of sweaters to take to Readers Studio. I asked the antique dealers if they had old tarot cards; no luck.
We returned to the river house and Ronda cooked her pasta, much better than mine, squash ravioli with walnut cream sauce and another salad. We were stuffed. And then we had Julie’s cupcakes. Oh. My. Goodness. Was chocolate like this even legal?
All the while we chattered at dinner, BG never suspected that some of our scurrying around was that we were getting ready to celebrate her recent milestone birthday with a croning ceremony. We welcomed her to wisdom, pretty sure she had brought some of her own with her, and told BG stories. BG had named the Cecile Brunner rose I had given her “Marcia Cecile.” I had never expected to have a rose namesake, so sweet of her! We made plans for the morning and retreated to bed, this time uninterrupted by visitors.
After our French toast and bacon breakfast a la Julie, we decorated our backpacks for our emergency kits. Japan’s earthquake and tsunami had inspired us to be mindful of preparations for The Big One. We had a long list of good ideas for things you will wish you had in an emergency, even a small one, and had exchanged gifts the night before. But that morning it was all about the bling: the fabric paint, the sequins and the personalized stickers. Fabulous, dah-ling!
I read everyone’s cards, even my own with Kaye giving her learner’s permit interpretations (and not too shabby, either) using my Art Postcard Tarot. We zoomed through the house like five tornadoes, dishes, laundry, trash, packing, closing, latching, settings, double-checking. And we left for home, humming the songs we had listened to and shrieked at the tops of our lungs in the woods, happy to be blessed with yet another spring of friendship.
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And guess what else is here? The Tea Tarot, the 2nd Edition of the Picture Postcard Tarot and the 2nd Edition of the Victorian Trade Card Tarot. Available now! Click on the link on the right just under that yellow bird, easy to find; it’s the one called Tarot Decks.