Mom flew in from South Carolina on Friday, after weathering Tropical Storm Hanna the Friday before. We met at LAX and caught the Horizon Bombadier to Redding to visit my Grandma at her new house. My Uncle Jim arrived earlier that week after driving 16 hours straight through from Troy, MT. My brother and his wife, Lynda, were having car trouble and were unable to make it.
My family are early risers and I was always the last to get up at about 6:30, cowboy coffee on the stove and watermelon in the fridge. We all came and went throughout the weekend, together then apart, taking our own roads then coming back together. It was an easy pace with no real agenda to follow.
Mom, grandma and I walked to the Farmer's Market and picked up some produce (tomatoes, cucumber, herbed goat cheese, fresh basil) and home baked garlic herb bread that we had later for dinner. Jim did some yard work and went to the library. Grandma and I walked over to the park along the river. I walked over to the library, and mom and I walked to the corner store to get some ice cream. What was so great about this visit, among so many things, was just being with my family.
We drove past The Shack, a burger joint downtown, that I remember going to with my friends and ordering fries and a coke after summer school. We drove past a string of motels on Miracle Mile where I used to pool hop on summer days while making my way home from Whiskeytown Lake.
We all have our own memories wrapped around the town of Redding as it has been a big part of our lives, and going back there is always like going home again for me. Although Grandpa is gone it seems like he is still there because every story we tell includes him. He could be sitting right there, with a little black dog in his lap.