Archive for July, 2012

North Fork to Placerville

North Fork to Placerville

Via CA-49 N or CA-99 N

I was treated to the epitome of friendship at the home of Lee and her husband Craig in Placerville CA.

The sun shines, the pool sparkles, the dogs play and bark. The food is good, the companionship excellent.

Simple presence is a luxury.



I love the space of their home, light, airy. . .the air conditioner its own blessing. Trees, art, music, dogs barking and playing, the visiting deer. Peaches, peach pie, peach ice-cream, chocolate ice cream, homemade pizza, an open house with great apple and chicken sausage  Shish- kabobs – chicken and pineapple too!  The fun restaurants, the apple orchards, exploring the lakes and rivers. The watermelon is delicious. Watching the TiVo on a perfect screen, dogs with balls and toys all around.



It is hot here, too hot for me, too hot for the LT, yet I am full, I am content…  and Olympia learned to swim!!!

Here’s a slideshow:

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I have in my possession two of the saddest letters. . . even re-reading them, they gripe my heart. They are written by my Cousin Byron Raphael; the one who looked after Elvis in his early years in the mid ’50’s, to my Aunt Hermione, his mother. In the letters he is 55 telling of hardships: I hate the mindless opening of x number of cartons and the grind of cleaning up after somebody who’s had one too many. But, let’s face it, I have no skills or craft and this is the best I’m going to get. . . he speaks of his menial job where he is berated although his boss knows of his illness and how his wife works a menial job where she is propositioned by her boss. He says: I always had my dreams, my plan, my hopes and my tomorrows. But those are things I can only read about in books now. It’s the time in one’s life when you accept that your deepest dreams are gone. That, I find is the true death because it’s the time one stops living and stops feeling so the pain is stilled. I feel like a man standing high on a cliff overlooking his life and feeling forgotten but not yet gone. He ends that letter oddly by telling him his mother, my aunt to give a greeting to my father and his family but not to share his condition.

The other letter is worse:. . .Please believe me that I am not afraid of being ill and only the heavy pain gives me anxious feelings. . . . he tells how his Buick brunt out, and selling the last of his stocks at a loss. His wild life demolished, his career gone, his health is terrible and he can find no income other than as a bag boy or a dishwasher, yet his wife stays close working at a coffee shop and traveling by bus. He wishes better for her. I hate myself when I see Cherie come home from a job that she’s so much better than. I don’t have the guts to walk in front of a speeding car but I have stopped taking medications and I’m hoping that if something happens I don’t linger and make it worse for everyone. Page two of this letter is not in my possession; most of my aunt’s personal papers were strangely absent from her home after her death. Someone simply missed these two pages.

Byron is gone. Before his death he wrote the expose that many did not like about Elvis, I know it brought him money. I want to honor him. I never knew him well; he and I seem to have been similar. He  had a highly sensitive system; unable to handle medications, inflicted by terrors and bad reactions to drugs and the environment at a time when such sensitivity was not accepted. He suffered bad luck, bad choices, poor decisions, bad advice…. I do not know. When I read his letters I do know that I have not been wrong to not cave to my own illnesses nor loss of my income and career. He reminds me that blind acceptance is hitting the dark wall of the maze. One needs to hold to dreams and to take chances. It’s better to fall in the midst of reaching for what you want, like Forrest who at last had his land, than to become mired in the grind for the ordinary. No one should be bereft of innate joy. And no one of us should be unable to carry the light to others, no one should turn aside for we are all one people, one experience in a zillion voices.  Our strengths are different, our weakness effects us in ways we may not share. He says, life holds nothing for me now except Cherie and she must not spend any more of her best years with someone like me. My Dear Cousin in that you are wrong. ….

My next post will be full of photos I took at a wonderful friend’s home in Placerville.
Kudos to true friendship and enough money to make life work.

The Memorial for Forrest Lewis was the largest gathering Three Springs has hosted. I heard some 200 people in attendance. Tears, laughter, rituals, food, memories, Forrest songs and stories carpeted the community; there was even a skit and a telling of Forrest jokes. Everytime I turned I swore I saw my friend and was about to tap him on the shoulder, give him a hug, tell him how much I missed him and what did he think of this big party in his honor? I sat in the spot that I’d known him to occupy, waited till the end when the kitchen was empty just as he would have done to snack on the plethora of potluck dishes. I met more of his friends that day than I have ever known; shared with his family and faces I’d not seen in an eon. I told my story and was gifted with hugs. They filled me where I was hungry, with questions, with comments, “oh that’s what Forrest was like before I met him, before he came here, before his transplant,” they told me their stories, they gave me their love. I connected with his world, the people he loved; our loss blended into celebration of how he’d come and gone.

The North Fork (and surrounding) community is strong, living among them would be an experience yet I couldn’t help consider talks with Forrest, his disappointments and joys and compare them to the remembrances of the day. I tried on his eyes, his feet wandering, gazing at the land. What Forrest would think, what he would say? I think I know.

I left late, retrieving Olympia and Mason, busy rummaging among the snacks, yanking a hundred stickers and burrs from Olympia’s coat, pulled on the LT headlights which were dim. I was moving, and pulled again, now the road ahead was inky. A car passed and I darted behind it pulling and twisting the headlight knob recklessly. A strange sensation swept me. I chased the only other car on the road, holding to its ray of light. I knew it was foolish, like a Disneyland ride, the Mad Hatter or some evil ghost the kind that I’d been afraid of as a child. Afraid of the dark. Felt like Forrest was sitting on my shoulder, playing one of his games, saying, go ahead now; you go and keep up with him. There was wind coming from the wing window but I hadn’t remembered I opened it as I groped in the dark flipping switches and driving faster than I had any right to hearing the sound of loose gravel past curves and shadowy trees. When my GPS beeped the turn-off for Matt’s house and I was alone in empty darkness checking my eyesight for the rough dirt road I couldn’t see, I pulled once more just for the heck of it, wondering if I could use my flashlight strapped to the front bumper to find the way, and wolla the lights popped on, the brakes responded with a musical groan.

Something told me it was a right of passage, a parting gift from my dear friend, a heralding of all friends; I shouldn’t forget that the road holds surprises, that an ending is fantasy given the point of observation from which we view time, that fear of the unknowing (darkness) may be nothing at all, that we are closer now with space dissolved, with the mortal parts of us in the past.

…………………………… Word Press Trouble: Trouble seems to be in the new update for Firefox not loading the javascript windows . . .anyone know how to fix this???? Am using a differnt browser temporarly but this one is acting weird very hard to use… need a fix for Firefox

On The Porch at Matt’s house in North Fork, CA

A sweet cat, a friendly goat, chickens. . .lots to explore. Was very very hot.

Getting Ready

I’m lucky to have been able to live in such a beautiful area: the cool fog that buttresses from the interior heat, the artistic ambiance, the gentleness of the ocean on our south facing coastline. I took a walk this morning in the expensive neighborhood around the Four Season’s Biltmore  luxury hotel in Montecito CA, where I once was part of the Banquet staff. I stopped at Lazy Acres for a salad bar and few items to stock in the LT.

The Biltmore Four Seasons, Santa Barbara. A side entrance.

Along the Bikeway overlooking the sea in Montecito CA

Summer in Montecito / Santa Barbara

The replacement lid for the air vent brings in a sweet light to my motorhome. The LT is plugged &  charging her batteries., the frig is cooling. Tomorrow the dogs and I will head back to North Fork. The end of the circle; many troubles began with our trip to Oakhurst some weeks ago. My dear friend Forrest Lewis (check out his page) will be honored at Three Springs Community, a place he loved. We will all walk the ½ mile to his property and say good-by.