Saturday, September 06, 2008

Day Three: Fresno to Lodi

We have a theme in tonight's post: lovely. There is "how lovely!" spoken with delight and enthusiasm and the sarcastic and heavily-spoken "just lovely." We had both today.

Since, once again, it is late and the connection is painfully slow, I will only share a very few highlight photos this evening, but I took probably just short of 200 pics today. You would be bored by most of them, trust me.

This morning we slept in late, both of us being exhausted. I rather think it is far less the rigors of the road and more cumulative exhaustion from inadequate sleep and sundry stress. After a late breakfast we headed to downtown Fresno.

This is the old Warners Theater. How cool is it? I will share more of it later on.

This is the statue of David of Sassoon, the great freedom fighter of Armenian folklore. I love this statue and have taken many photos of it on multiple occasions. This was a chance to get lots of digital pics of it. Once cannot fully appreciate the dynamism of this work without standing by it and walking around it.

Some of you will recall an earlier post when I spoke of the awesome fired tile mosaic of human knowledge arranged by the Dewey Decimal System in the Fresno County Library. A librarian kindly sent me two photographs of it. Today I took my own, a section at a time. This is the beginning (more later).

This is the house in which I grew up. It has changed. Originally built around 191o it had gray wood siding and a green shingle roof. In the back there is an attic sleeping porch. Now the exterior is a cream-colored stucco. The front lawn is worn down to dirt. It is for sale. Still and all, this is much better than the time I visited it and it looked like an abandoned crack house. I am glad to see it spiffed up. My grandparents lived here and my mother and her siblings all lived here (two adults and seven children with one bathroom - it was a different era!).

Today I pointed to houses, identifying them by who lived there when I was a little boy. The Francis house on the corner (they had pet skunks), Mrs Kradjian's house (where Edith and Hipolito, the Mexican consul, lived later), Mrs. Faeron's house (later the Woods house), Mrs. Londquist's house, Grandpa Anderson's house (he lived to be 104). Someone came to the door of the Woods house checking to see who this stranger taking photographs was. I explained that I had grown up next door. This seemed to satisfy him and he went back inside.

And this is that little boy on my knee from an earlier post: the groom. I wanted a nice photo of the bride but almost all my pics of the wedding party involve red eye and I cannot fix that tonight. But she is lovely.

Now, the adventure of the day is as follows:

Y'all recall my preparations for the trip - having a major service done on the car and obtaining a functional emergency spare tire (one of those "donuts" that I hate). I wanted a full spare tire but that was proving to take too much time and effort so I settled for a new donut to replace my dead old one. All my tires were balanced during the servicing, btw.

Well, we had a flat tire today, of course. In Manteca. While driving, say, something in the neighborhood of x miles over the speed limit, in the fast lane. I eased over to the shoulder and limped to the exit, around the corner, and into a service station. There we unloaded all our baggage and wedding presents from the trunk, took out the donut, and put it on in place of the now very flat tire. We had picked up a nail somewhere. Lovely.

Fortunately we had given ourselves a comfortable schedule but by the time this was done things were just a bit tight. We threw a beach towel over the flat tire in the trunk, repacked hastily, and also added air to the underinflated donut. I used to have a tire gauge in my glove compartment. Somewhere along the line it broke and the air station at the gas station did not include a gauge on the air dispenser. Lovely. We estimated the inflation pressure then off we went, driving from Manteca to Lodi on the donut.

Yes, my friends, I am very aware of how moderate a speed and short a distance one is supposed to drive with those things. Why do you think my original one was dead?

We managed a quick shower and change at the hotel and got to the church with about ten minutes to spare. And yes, my dear brother-in-law began to lecture me on donuts. Evidently he has learned the hard way too. I assured him I had been there, done that, and gotten the T-shirt.

The wedding was lovely (the very good kind of lovely). The mother of the groom, my niece, looked fabulous (you reading this, Jann?). Afterward, it being Saturday evening and we having miles to drive tomorrow, we inquired of locals how we might get this taken care of. A nice couple from Berkeley came to our rescue. She, a cousin of the bride, offered a ride to Berkeley tomorrow. Her husband got on the phone to Pep Boys and then told us they were open until 8, could do the job, and gave us directions. So while everyone else headed off to the reception, we went the opposite direction.

It was not the tire with a slow leak that had gotten the nail, of course, so I asked them to do what they could with two tires. The slow leak was repaired, the flat with the nail was beyond hope, and was replaced. We then headed to the reception where there was still food for us - and delicious food at that. Very good meal served in a catering barn out in the vineyards. Nice wine too, though being the designated driver I only had one glass. All in all a great evening and a chance to see family and friends of family I had not seen since my brother-in-law's funeral.

That was today's little adventure. All's well that ends well and thanks be to Godde for the kindness of strangers, who, it seems, are now freshly related to me after all.
--the BB


FranIAm said...

Wow- that is one big day!!!

I loved seeing your lovely photos and following the ups (mostly) and the downs (that dang donut and tire situation!) of this post.

Glad it all worked out and blessings to the happy couple.

Lindy said...

Lovely post... the good kind of lovely.

I can't figure out why we keep our spare tires in the bottom of the trunk so that everything has to be ubloaded to access them. It's the 21st century for crying out loud! There's got to be a better way.

From one who has been there...

Your pal,