Monthly Archives: June 2013

Snooze

Naptime

Nap-time

It’s been a restful Lord’s Day today, with beautiful warm weather. My dad would have been 89 today. There were many hummingbirds in the yard — his, and many in our family’s favorite bird — he would have been delighted.

On Friday however, it was a different matter, when I drove down to Hollister, attending to an errand for my youngest son. It was a whopping 95° F. when I got there with traffic aplenty. I was expecting my navigation system to complain about this excessive heat. I know, I would, if I was sitting under a hot windshield — and I would have asked for a glass of ice tea, or lemonade perhaps.

Several tractors plowing fields on the left of Highway 156, just past Gilroy, were stirring up clouds of dust driving on the rich dark soil. To my right several large broccoli fields. I love looking at the vast expanse of the different kinds of fields in the valley, the golden hills with their stately old gnarled oaks on them, spaced apart just right, surrounding the valley.

Having completed my errand, I enquired directions (inside the office building, so as not to hurt Ms. Navigation’s feelings) on how to get to Mission San Juan Bautista, one of California’s Missions, that sits on El Camino Real, and also the San Andreas Fault. For decades I had passed signs on Highway 101 attesting to its presence, but I never got off the highway before, always eager to arrive at my final destination, be it north, or south. After receiving instructions, I left.

I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. San Juan Bautista has the typical feel of a small California Central Valley town — a place that time forgot. One can picture it in a John Steinbeck novel. I parked at the Mission, and then stepped inside. The temperature drop inside must have been at least 30 degrees. The old — four to five foot thick adobe walls — have a natural air conditioning effect. After visiting the museum, I spent a few quiet moments in the Mission church, and then stepped out into the huge courtyard, greeted once again by the heat and olive trees, passion flowers, oleanders, and palms — a Mediterranean garden — peaceful and well maintained.

After exploring the garden I went back into the Mission and chatted briefly with the entrance fee collector. To my surprise, as I was leaving — I saw a cat sleeping on a chair — content of course inside the cool adobe building. I had passed the cat coming in, but hadn’t noticed it. I petted it, and it didn’t even bother to open it’s eyes. Siesta time, Mr. tourist — you may depart now.

Have a blessed week (and some naps).

Summer

Dahlia

Dahlia

The lumbering bear is in dire need of moving around a bit to stretch, so after making a payment at my dentist’s office, I park on the street next to the beach. I am careful to observe the rear view mirror, in case there are any lurking meter maids, as it is five minutes to 11 o’clock, and there is street sweeping here today until said time — the sign informs me. From the looks of the street, the sweepers have already passed, but due caution is always advised in such matters.

Today is June 21, the start of summer! A few days ago, a beautiful dahlia from my small garden opened up — that’s a sure sign of summer, if there ever was one. It reminds me of my mom’s dahlia garden in Germany.

Having taken off my glasses, to put on a baseball-style cap that my youngest son gave me, I meander to the beach, where I take off my flip-flops, for a long walk along the water. To my left are some rather well-nourished seagulls, who keep a respectful distance. In front of me, I see a bright neon orange plastic starfish mold, an incentive for a kid to produce sand starfish, and plenty of them too! A starfish colony, perhaps? Starfish are beautiful creations — I’m always amazed at their feel, which is not unlike sandpaper. I see a kite in the sky; surprising, considering there is almost no wind today. But upon closer observation, the kite moves north and turns out to be a Southwest Airlines airplane. What a doofus — the glasses would have helped clarify this sooner; I chuckle.

At the end of the beach, I decide on some lunch, and enter a Japanese restaurant to have their bento box lunch special. A few tables away, I see Captain America (he is wearing his t-shirt) eating lunch with his two small children. They seem happy, that dad took them out to lunch. I have been observing the girl who has been seating people at their tables, while eating my lunch, and I am amused by the way she walks — it looks like she is sleep-walking. After paying my bill and as I leave to exit the restaurant, I tell her of my observation, to which she giggles “oh my gosh”. Adorable.

OK, time for the loooong walk back to the car.

May God fulfill some of your summer dreams this year,

Matthias Leue

Oranges, fries, and apple tarts

Orange

Orange

I drive down the hill and park in the parking lot, so I can run some errands. Next to the corner of the lot, a young Hispanic boy is sitting next to several bags of oranges he is selling. He is wearing an American flag bandana. A colorful image that reminds me that I should always carry my camera with me. I admire his patience sitting all day in one spot, just to sell a few bags of oranges.

I usually park in this lot and then walk around the block, taking the long way to run my errands, so I can get a little exercise. I decide on a pit-stop at Mickey-Ds today — a place I rarely enter — but the smell of French fries wafting through the air lures me through the door, like a rodent following the Pied Piper. I order some small fries from the young man behind the counter. His name tag says Leonardo — to which I wonder aloud — if he is named for the painter or the Ninja turtle. Grinning back, he says he hopes — the painter.

My French bakery has some small apple tarts today, not only do they smell great, but they look beautiful — the slices are shaped and arranged to resemble a flower. I sit down on the bench outside the bakery for a bit after the apple tart purchase, to soak up some sun. In the other parking lot across the street  I observe a sign that reads” “Make the Dimond glitter, pick up your litter”. Below it are several discarded cups and cans – a memorial to illiteracy it seems. A car drives by, the bass emanating from it causing the nuts and bolts of the vehicle to groan in unison. A car parked at the curb shrieks in distress — its alarm triggered by this unexpected disturbance. I think its time to safely bring my apple tart home.

Have a blessed week, and may an apple tart cross your path.