Born and raised in Sacramento, I guess the first Landmark I saw was The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. A trip to ‘The City’, which we rubes in Sacto. called SF way back when, was pretty exciting for a kid, and crossing the GGB today still produces a feeling of exhilaration! I guess my next Landmark would have been The Space Needle when I visited the Worlds Fair in Seattle in 1962. My friend Rick Winn and I hopped the fence and snuck in before the fair opened, so we would not have to wait in line to go to the top. Lady Liberty standing in the harbor did not disappoint when I visited NYC and I worked in the Shadow of the Sears Tower when I lived in Chicago. Leaving my beloved Windy City to return to the West Coast I stopped to see Mount Rushmore and left in awe.
In 1995 I was living in Portland with my daughter and her family. Ashley, Declan and kids went to Ireland for Christmas to visit family, leaving me to fend for myself. I decided to take Amtrak to Seattle to see my Oakland Raiders play the Seahawks in The Kingdome. I had seen many Raiders games at the Colosseum in Oakland and the 49’ers at Candlestick, so I was looking forward to seeing my first ‘indoor’ game. The train ride was scenic and The Kingdome impressive. Pretty cool… until the game… What’s going on here??? The players look like high school kids. The field’s too close and What’s with the Rug??? The game experience was a complete disappointment. Was not football for me! Of course it didn’t help that I was surrounded by a bunch of idiots rooting for The Seahawks! The beer didn’t even taste good! I could not imagine watching the Seattle Mariners play baseball in there! I left in the third quarter and went to a bar across the street and enjoyed the rest of the game on TV… boy, did it ever look a lot better and the beer was good!
So, it wasn’t so much the Landmark that was a disappointment, but the experience associated with it. Mercifully, that Landmark ended in 2006… Seattle is better off with The Space Needle!
Having been been away from home for some time, I was looking forward to a trip to the grocery store, or market as some would say, to stock up on goodies. Of course DESSERT is a must, and I had to get my favorite… Marionberry Cobbler from the Willamette Valley. And, that leads to Hand Churned French Vanilla Ice Cream to top it off! After a trip to the Frozen Food Aisle I made my way through check out and headed for home.
Leaving my grocery bag (the reusable kind of course) on the backseat, I took some artwork I am preparing for the County Fair inside the house and decided to check my e-mail… two hours later I remembered the food.
Well, I took my time putting everything away ( being involved with facebook by now), having forgot there were frozen goodies involved. By the time I dug out the cobbler and ice cream they were thoroughly melted. And, to make matters worse, the cobbler was on end… meaning it had all slid together at one end of the container. Well, in the fridge the ice cream went and I mixed the cobbler together and put it in the oven, figuring I would not cook it as long since it was no longer frozen… Hey Great!… more time to check out something on the computer. Well, I cooked it about 1/2 hr. too long and it was an interesting brown colored crust. The good thing was that the ice cream solidified enough to spoon out somewhat whole.
Tasted semi-okay and better than nothing I guess… Another example of the Dangers of the Internet!
When I was 15 my father thought it would be a great idea if I worked on a cattle ranch hauling hay… to teach me the lesson of why I should go to college. Well, I did go to college but not because hauling hay was hard work. (which it was) So, in 1958 I spent 4 glorious weeks on a cattle ranch in Modoc County near the town of Adin. Our family spent a few weeks each summer at our friends ranch… and I got an extended stay. The rancher’s wife took me to town in Alturas, and I got fitted with boots, jeans and a cowboy hat! It was Farmer’s Boot Camp for sure… they treated me as an adult and expected me to work. I learned how to do, and did, everything re: haying. I straightened and raked furrows, repaired broken bales, moved bales into rows, rode on the baler and helped fix it (seemed to break down a lot to me), worked the loader, drove a tractor and ‘bucked bales’ to load the barn.
Well, the ‘city boy’ was pretty pathetic at ‘bucking bales’ because they are damn heavy! I was the source for much amusement for the crew that summer. But, they were good guys and helped me out. I could move 1 bale while they were moving 5. I also got to feed the chickens and the pigs. I thought it was great fun and they all loved getting out of the chores.
We started at 6 a.m. and had dinner (lunch to me) at noon for 1 hour. What really cracked me up was that the rancher and all the farm hands watched soap operas while we ate lunch. All these big tough guys watching ‘All My Children’ was pretty funny. Back to work till about 7 when we had supper. Everything you ever heard about farm meals is true… lots of good home cooking.
In addition to work, of course there was play. And like most 15 year olds I was pretty much of a goof-off when I could get away with it. The rancher had a 16-year-old son who was a pal and a wild one. We hunted rabbits at night sitting on the hood of a Mercury with shotguns going through the fields to catch them in the headlights. Chased girls with snakes… never could figure out how that would get you laid (as if I would have known what to do then anyway). Rode a horse driving cattle about 3 miles to a new field and got to help with branding calves… then tried to ride them. Got to milk cows too.
My lasting remembrance of that summer came when I chipped my front tooth on a beer bottle. Of course I said it was a Coke bottle to my folks. I had a patch on my tooth for 25 years before getting a new tooth. I think the thing about that summer that really made it special was that for the first time in my life I was on my own and for 1 month I was kind of an adult.