I spent four days last week in Santa Barbara, CA. I traveled north to get some inside repairs done on my rig, EmmyLou.
Santa Barbara is such a lovely town sitting out on the Pacific. I stayed in an Air BnB very near the coastline. I could walk or ride my bike almost anywhere. I rode my bike back to the Air BnB after I had dropped my rig off. Even the bike ride was a pretty one. It makes me want to return to that area and spend more time.
In the last thirteen years of my working life, I was a Tour Manager and Tour Guide. I often took people on tours to the Santa Barbara area. I know this type of work sounds glamorous but let me tell you it is work. I had to be responsible and ready twenty-four hours a day. And I had to be the expert. What’s that tree? What’s that rock? Who lived in that house? Although fun could be exhausting.
I enjoyed spending time alone in this town. I could finally do what I wanted and when I wanted. I could explore and get to know this area my way. It was a quiet and fun-filled four days. My rig is ready to roll. I had some time to explore at my pace, at my leisure.
Last Saturday I returned to San Diego for the final medical tests of the year. I am one year out post-treatment for thyroid cancer. These tests are now done and I am awaiting results.
Driving north or south on the coastline in southern California means that at some point I have to drive through Los Angeles. The ride up was easy. The return ride was a little how I remember the traffic in LA pre-Covid. As I drove through the “Valley” my thoughts turned to Jim’s family. I connect that drive through Northridge and Chatsworth with the Fenningham family. It still feels odd to not exit the freeway and drive to “Mom’s” house. Each time I drive through that area I remember times with Jim’s parents and sisters. After both parents died his sisters and I have gradually moved forward with our lives and don’t stay in touch. We all move on yet I still miss this connection with Jim. I think of his family often and hope they are doing well. I also wonder if there will come a time when I drive through that area and don’t reflect back.
I am grateful his family was so inclusive when Jim was alive. I felt like I had a mother on the west coast after my mom on the east coast died. She was instrumental in keeping the family together. The whole family took me in as another member. I am grateful I had those twenty-one years with my west coast family.
Now my rig is ready to roll and so am I. I am taking a few precious days to enjoy Cynthia’s and Ward’s company before I head out on Wednesday of next week. We have been quite a household. I will miss their company.
Today I am thankful for all those years I had with my west coast family. I am thankful that I still feel so much love and kindness for them. Their support after Jim’s death was important and wonderful to have. I am thankful for friends who become family. Today I am thankful.
Beauty. Peace. Love.