Thursday, June 20, 2013

Where Were You This Week?

Writing Prompt #2  in my online writing course.

Where Were You This Week?

Downtown Martinez.   It takes an important event to bring me back to the place where I grew up.  And even though Martinez is only a half hour away from Oakland without traffic (aka the Caldecott Tunnel), it’s like a different world when you finally arrive.  I went to the Martinez Marina this past Saturday with some of my family to celebrate Father’s Day.  It was something my parents wanted to do, and so I picked up my 89 year old grandmother in San Leandro, (the only other Alameda County resident in my family), and hightailed it out to Contra Costa County.  Past the tunnel and six freeway changes later, Grandma and I arrived at my parents' doorstep.

My mom, dad, grandma, sister and I all piled in my mom’s white van and rode the 10 minute drive to the marina.  The air conditioner went on and the suntan lotion came out.  Martinez may only be a half hour away from Oakland, but the Bay Area’s micro-climates will cost you.  Another reason why I moved out of the town I grew up in-  I could never handle the heat.  And neither could grandma. 
Once at the marina, we carried out lawn chairs and umbrellas and begin to look for shade.   We found a tree to park all of our stuff under and weren’t seated five minutes when my father decided he wanted to get up and look at the vendors that were set up for the Barbeque Festival that was happening right across the way from where we were sitting.  No one seemed to want to go just yet, but it was Father’s Day, and like a fourth born who takes after her father probably more than anyone else in the family, I got up and walked with him. 

It wasn’t long before my dad was schmoozing with a Martinez local about the Carnival Cruises he was selling.  My father with his blunt Archie-Bunker-like Irish temperament was going to tell this young, thirty something vendor all the things that were wrong with cruises.  My father should know, he has been on plenty of them (probably all  my mother's doing and if it wasn’t for my mother those two would never go anywhere).  My father would be content to just sit in his den in their three bedroom townhouse with the air conditioning blasting, sucking on his sugar free orange popsicles while watching some old movie.  And he had a belly to show for his inactive lifestyle.  So the fact that he actually wanted to get up and walk around and look at vendors I saw as a good thing.

As we continued to peruse the other vendors it was now my turn to chat it up with some women who were working behind a booth that was promoting the Martinez Youth Football program.  I let them know I first got my start in cheerleading through this program back in the 80’s.  It was such a fun time.  So when they told me they were having a hard time finding girls to try out because costs had gotten so expensive just to be a cheerleader, I bought a Martinez Youth Football tank top to support their cause.  And this was the town I had run away from so long ago.  Yet there I was, going back to my roots, trying to keep the cheer program alive.  Keep the change.

My dad and I finally finished walking the plank and headed back to our shaded area on the lawn across the way to join the rest of our family.  We sipped on overpriced tropical punch and ate corn dogs and curly fries.  I played games on my smart phone.  We chit chatted for a bit. Then finally when we were all finally bored and couldn't take the heat anymore we relented, packed up our stuff, and sought refuge in my parent’s air conditioned house for dessert. 



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