Tuesday, August 28, 2007

No, We Are Not There Yet

Yes, a fine weekend was had in Fish Camp, at the Monticelli Family cabin! Much wonderful company was had, and much excellent wine was drank, much of it by Massimo and myself, and the toddlers and wives were tolerant through it all. It is significant that you can find yourself sitting across a table with a few old friends and still discover new things about each other, and things that you have in common. For example, Jane and I have the same birthday (and none of this half birthday nonsense, I'm talking about the same date) and Marci and Jane were born in the same hospital in Fresno. Massimo is still looking for something unique that he has in common with us all, but for now he makes wine and we enjoy drinking it and that is pleasantly sufficient.

There is a wine cellar in the basement. Perhaps "wine cellar" and "basement" are an overstatement. There are many old, one gallon Gallo jugs that have "96" written on the cap and that contain wine. These jugs are on the garage shelf, and hidden behind them is "the good stuff" which is contained in smaller, 750 ml Gallo bottles. The date of the Good Stuff is usually marked on the old Gallo label, and it's sometimes marked twice, so just go with the more recent date. Evidently, Grandfather Monticelli stored his wine up in the Fish Camp garage because it was just too damn hot down in the valley. Evidently, he re-used the bottles.

And God bless him for it! The jugs are filled with a most drinkable wine and the Good Stuff truly is. Massimo spryly worked the kitchen and the carafes all weekend, often fashioning a Fish Camp meritage right there at the table with a bottle of his wine and a jug of his Grandfather's. Soon, the wood fired barbecue was lit and crackling, and you'd stroll out on the creaking wood deck, wine glass in hand, the sounds of the children laughing from within the cabin and cricket song from without, and you'd look up at the emerging stars in the twilight and think, whatever Grandfather Monticelli did in his life, he did it right. I pray that my legacy might be the same: that in some distant future, some blogging shmo might experience the fruit of my labours, and be as grateful.

And in that future, may mobile blogging work as intended. I guess I shouldn't be disappointed that the nation's most prized National Parks are not forested with cel towers yet, but I had high hopes for the weekend. It was not envisioned that I would have to dart up a hill and hold my mobile phone up to outer space, whilst leaning in the direction of Bakersfield and remaining perfectly still as my 65 kilobyte set of data beamed itself to the internet, but ah, well... Fun all the same. I would have posted more if I'd bought that $4000 satellite phone I had my eye on, and I'm sure the iPhone would have cleverly captioned the photos for me.

It was the Little Ditchman's first trip to Yosemite! She loved it, of course, since her Daddy and Mommy love it so much. We loaded her into the backpack and carried her up the Vernal Falls mist trail, (leaving this recent marathon runner wondering how he'd ever made it to any finish line.) Yosemite is a magical, awe-inspiring place. One spends the bulk of the day looking up, as God designed it that way. We only had time for the short (but solid) hike up the enchanting Vernal Falls. I've seen that waterfall many times in my life, but I've never seen it with a little angel whispering in my ear a new word: "waerfaa...waerfaa..." It was never so beautiful. God's glory never so radiant, never so relevent.

So, yes, there was a certain amount of giving in to modernity's pull on this trip, the least of which was the portable DVD player we bought and hung on the back of the headrest. As parents who enjoy a good road trip, we had backseated this idea, so to speak, until the pained cries of the bored child could no longer go unanswered, and now we listen to Elmo's World, which induces a certain amount of pained cries all its own. That's Parenting. You pick and choose your battles, for you just can't win them all. Grandparenting, I imagine, involves hiding the good stuff behind the jugs in the garage so the grandkids won't find it until after you've long gone on The Ultimate Road Trip -the destination of which I imagine is not unlike the Monticelli deck in Fish Camp, at twilight, your children laughing in the distance, and a nice glass of wine.