July 13, 2013
I joined my friends Ryan & Brian for a trip back to Ryan’s hometown in Stanislaus County. We had big plans to visit his dad and attend the local county fair so that I could get my livestock fix for summer. Ryan’s dad & stepmom were lovely hosts. Their property was so relaxing with views of almond orchards and the sierra foothills. We spent the afternoon lounging by the pool, waiting for the temperature to drop to head to the fair.
We loaded in the PT Cruiser convertible and headed to the county fair not far away. I decided to skip on the truck pull and join Ryan’s stepmom for a walk around the fairgrounds. We all took a ride on the Zipper before anything, though. None of us threw up.
Sadly, not all of the animals were at the fair yet. We saw lots of dairy cows and goats but no beef or swine. They had an amazing petting zoo area, though, which became my heaven.
I petted so many baby goats and then we got to the miniature horse & donkey who both had foals. Adorable doesn’t begin to cover it. There was also a horse and colt. Sadly, there was no branham calf this year. But then it got even better, when I got to the sow with piglets. They were close enough to the fence that I could give them a scratch behind the ears.
They had a pen full of pigs, goats, calves, and a turkey (odd) that we could walk around with. I wanted to stay there forever. Even if I were the only person over age 12 hanging out there.
We kept the top down on the drive back to the house since it was still about 80-degrees at 10pm. Watching the rows of crops go by under the light of the moon and feeling the temp of the breeze undulate between warm and cool as we went along took me so far back in my mind. It was like I was 8 years old, sitting in my dad’s truck bed with my sister as we drove around checking the crops. I just closed my eyes and thought back through everything that I took for a given back then that had now been turned on its head. It gave me time to think about how far away I’d gone from all the really basic things that used to bring me such happiness. Everything seemed so clear and I felt in that 30 minute ride that I had everything figured out. Naturally, as soon as I got back to SF, that clarity melted away.
We spent a little time by the pool listening to the locusts before calling it a night. I retreated to the guestroom where I awoke the next morning to a view of a beautiful purple dawn on the sierra foothills. It was magical but I was too tired to get up to take a photo. When I did finally get up for the day, I walked to the back patio and sat watching the Longhorns chew their morning hay as a red-tail hawk swooped just overhead. It was tranquility at its best.
After a trip to breakfast at Corner Cafe and a ride in Ryan’s dad’s ‘57 Beetle, we lounged by the pool for the afternoon before it was time to hit the road back to SF. A lovely weekend retreat with so many nice people.