Friday, December 14, 2012

Carmel: Memories Of My Father

Carmel, CA -- A haunting musical sound drifted on the wind from the luxurious Spanish Bay Golf Links at Pebble Beach.  A Scottish bagpipe player emerged, playing a soulful rendition of Amazing Grace in full regalia—a kilt, knee-high stockings and a wedge-shaped cap with a trailing ribbon. The last time I heard that song was at my father’s grave site.  He was a simple, old-world man who insisted our family emigrate from Brazil to the land of opportunity—California.  The memory of my beloved father, his simple life, and love of the bagpipe made me smile, and then I wept.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Heart of Ireland Beats In Davis

Davis, CA -- The day I went to visit my son Jordan at his university in Davis, it was overcast and rainy.  Our first stop was a one-hour philosophy class deconstructing the skepticism associated with the writings of 16th century philosopher RenĂ© Descartes.  I don’t believe the professor understood when he wrote Cartesian Demon on the blackboard, it meant the demon Facebook because that’s what students were viewing on their laptops instead of listening to his lecture. 

After class, Jordan and I wanted some comfort food so we walked in a gentle rain from his frat house to de Vere’s Irish Pub in downtown Davis.   We sat in the library room on a plush red leather couch surrounded by antique fixtures, stained glass windows, polished wood, and yes, books.  If American Free Bird wasn’t blasting from the speakers, I would have sworn I was in Ireland. 

Our order of Bangers and Mash was clearly the comfort food we were seeking, wanting to sink deeper into Irish culture within this jewelry box of a restaurant.  The creamy mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy were worth the price of admission alone.  I asked our waiter Josh to bring us some gnarly mustard and he laughed.  A few moments later with the gnarly addition, the meal took on new heights as I dipped the housemade sausage into a zesty brew of brown seed mustard with a horseradish kick—my whole mouth zigging and zagging resounding with Zing!  My only regret was not ordering a pint of Guinness to balance the zig and zag.

Sadly, our time together was coming to an end.  Jordan and I walked back to his frat house and hugged goodbye.  He would pull an all-nighter to complete a term paper.  My heart was heavy for the parting once again, but made lighter by the memory of our precious time together.  I got in my car, turned on  the XM satellite radio to the 70s station hoping that Free Bird would float through the speakers, sending me back to the happy place once again, at de Vere's, with Jordan by my side.