A Place to Flop
Annie and I are heading up to Eureka this morning for the weekend. We have been making the two-hour trek for shopping and relaxation since the mid-eighties, having long since established that we like the pace of life better in the north, than in the south (Santa Rosa).
Yes, there are a lot of down-and-out people in Eureka, but they don’t bother us and we have been going up there for so long now, we are certainly taken for locals. Street people are not as inclined to bug the locals because there is less tolerance involved, and po-po is just a phone call away.
And sure, a tweaker is a tweaker, but you hear them coming a block away.
We have no agenda, except for booking a room for two nights at the Red Lion, and using it as a base of operations. Normally we stay at something a little less posh, but it’s November and the tourists are down to a trickle, so the rate is good.
We could actually bring Dozer the bulldog, and have done so many times in the past, but this time the Doze is staying here with Lito. Whenever he needs a spot for Large Marge, we always take her in, so turn about is fair play, and Dozer loves it when Lito is around.
All the years I taught, we went up to Eureka twice a year, once before Christmas and once the first three days after the school year let out. Eureka was for us a place to go and flop, although Christmas shopping is not exactly “flopping.”
Still, Eureka represented a little three-day oasis away from work, kids and household responsibilities, and was essential for our survival as a couple. We never did the vacation thing except to take the boys camping every summer, so to get away to a motel where there are no chores, is paradise with an ocean view.
We walk along the water behind Seamus T Bones, on the beautiful trail, while I take vast unlimited numbers of photographs. When Dozer is up with us, this affords him the opportunity to stretch his legs also, so it feels just like home.
Annie likes to check out the thrift shops, and we both enjoy strolling around Old Town, popping in on the occasional antique shop or used bookstore. Ramone's for chocolate macaroons is a must, as is the Gold Rush for lattes in the morning, possibly on our way to walk.
Eureka is also Costco and WinCo, and a choice of hippie stores, from which to get that which we can’t grow ourselves. Eureka is a sense of timelessness, connecting us to past times and past successes, and remains a venue when we recharge our batteries.
Annie spends a lot of time these days, traveling to Sacramento for her immunotherapy infusions, and going back and forth to Willits and Ukiah for local health care. It’s nice that for once she can get away and do what she wants, instead of doing what she has to do.
she can hit Joanne’s Fabrics up, or she can go shopping for new boots, while I either sit on the Group W Bench, or nap back at the Red Lion. We are comfortable in this mode of operation, and it has provided us the means of being able to enjoy one another’s company, without any of the usual impediments to relaxation, like doing dishes or bringing in firewood. Or anything to do with the chickens.
Just the fact that we look forward to these excursions with such enthusiasm, tells me we are in pretty good shape, as a couple, for the shape we’re in.
Cancer doesn’t go away-it never does-but it does recede into the background for a minute or two, and these are the moments that make the rest of it all worth it.
There are still going to be trips to Sacramento, visits to the oncologist in Ukiah, and the incessant phoning in to the pharmacy, to obtain the prescriptions necessary to keep everything going smoothly. But for one weekend, there is also a reconnection to good times past, and good times still to be enjoyed.
Like that hot fudge sundae I am contemplating tonight.