The Septuagenarian Speaks – published December 4, 2019, Siskiyou Daily News

For nearly fifty years my wife and I have gone to the Bay Area for Thanksgiving.  Our kids went with us when they were young and still living in our household.  My Mom and Dad, both of whom are now deceased, hosted Thanksgiving dinner for many years at their home in San Jose.  When they were no longer able to do that, one of my sisters, who lives in San Martin, continued the tradition, and still does.  It’s like a command performance, but one that we enjoy, because we see relatives we only get to see once a year.  Ann and I, together with our daughter and two grandkids, were packed and ready to go on Wednesday, waiting for a break in the weather (and for I-5 to reopen).  But Wednesday morning we cancelled the trip altogether, due to bad weather forecasts for the return trip and bad weather in the Bay Area.  I can only remember missing one time before, about twenty years ago, and that, I’m embarrassed to say, was due to a severe case of hemorrhoids that required surgery.

So, we stayed in town, hunkered down, and enjoyed the snow in Yreka.  There is a lot going on here during the Thanksgiving weekend, including the annual Chamber Holiday Parade.  Our friend Nancy Ogren is campaigning for Board of Supervisors and wanted to be in the parade, so we pulled the Corvette out of storage to be her chariot.  It was an adventure.  Top down, of course … in the snow.  I drove and she rode up on the back, cold and wet.  Her future constituents should be aware that she is a tough lady.  There was a good crowd for the parade, especially considering the miserable weather, and Miner and Main Streets were hoppin’.  After the parade Ann and I ended up at Esperanza’s Mexican restaurant in a group with our daughter, son-in-law, grandkids, and about twenty other people, about half of whom were kids.  Esperanza’s place was packed, but the food was good and the service timely.

I am writing this column Sunday morning around 9:00 AM.  Although a couple more inches of snow accumulated overnight, right now the weather is clear, and the sky a vivid blue contrasting with the bright white snow on the ground.  Beautiful.  Staying home and not having to make the fourteen-hour round-trip drive to the Bay Area freed up some time to kick back and think about things to be thankful for.  This morning, as usual, our clock radio popped on at 5:00 AM to NPR.  (Ann and I are equal-opportunity consumers of news: NPR in the morning, Fox News at night, and all kinds of media, written and oral, in between).  I listened to NPR for about forty-five minutes before getting out of bed, and I didn’t hear one word about impeachment.  Not one word!  I am thankful for that.  This is temporary, of course, as the hearings resume Wednesday in the House Judicial Committee.  I have some things to say about the current impeachment process, and when I started writing the column this morning, that was what I intended to write about.  Savoring the peace and quiet, I’ll save it for another day.

I have a lot to be thankful for.  Good friends.  A great family, all in good health.  I personally had a medical scare about four months ago that was a wake-up call, but am bouncing back. I still rely on the walking stick to some extent, but should be able to throw it away soon.  As an upper-end septuagenarian, I’m doing pretty well.

I am also thankful to live in a place like Yreka.  Every trip to the Bay Area reinforces this.  The traffic is horrible, and people are rude.  Not really a surprise that they’re rude.  I don’t know how people can live with the traffic down there and not be rude.  I’m the primary grocery-shopper in our house, and a trip to Raley’s takes me forty-five minutes, and half of that time is spent chit-chatting with people I know in the store.  Because of traffic, a trip to the grocery store in the Bay Area takes half a day. 

The rural life isn’t perfect, of course, and has its own problems.  But I’ll take it.

Bob Kaster
Yreka, CA

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