The Wild West

The Wild West

The dust was piling all around us, big, thick, plumes of it. The hooves of the pack of horses ever increasing in speed as each sharp turn followed another and another and another. The beautiful California hills were vast, but no match for our team and driver. Rory squealed with delight as the speed of our determined stagecoach, rickety and racketing over the well-worn path, tickled her tummy from one peak to the next. Faster and faster we went, passing tattoo parlors and burrito hubs, painted houses of the Victorian era, and plants of varying sizes resembling sea creatures akin to octopus and squid.


One might think we were back in time: The mid 19th century stagecoach of Wells Fargo barreling down jagged mountain passes between the wild west’s cities and suburbs; dangers lurking but rarely slowing the pack and their well-trained driver. From the airport, Uncle Alex, our trusty Whip, took the trails of macadam and cement with confident speed in his ever-reliable 117 horsepower-ed Honda Fit, bringing us safely to his home in San Francisco.



Two years ago this same trail was tread by Ryder for his 5th birthday and now, Rory for her’s. Two flights were expertly ridden across country with her fearless Oma and ailing mother (if we were getting off at Ellis Island in New York, I dare say they wouldn’t have let me leave the vessel and I would have been sent back to my homeland). Rory efficiently packed all that was essential to this grand birthday trip: Pig, Piggy, a tiara, a magic wand, crayons, pajamas, dresses, tic-tacs (thanks Grandma!), play dough and accompanying tools including, of course, a rolling pin.


The first day after arriving in the city of San Fran was gray and foggy, matching that of my mood. It didn’t deter Rory’s determination to slide down the ever-famous slides of San Francisco, the ones her brother has raved about for the last two years, the non-stop excitement that one can achieve with just a scrap of cardboard and leg muscle to reach to the start line atop the hill. Believe it or not, these slides are so unbelievably fun that the city has signs posted that only those with the magic of a child in tow are allowed to access the slides and they make that stance firm by gating and locking the slides in three places, only to be unlocked at the wondrous hour of 10 a.m., six out of seven days a week.




All the hype withstanding, Rory couldn’t get enough of the hallowed out slides. Slalom racing her uncle Alex from top to bottom, top to bottom, and “one more time!”. It didn’t matter, frontwards, backwards, traditional, or flipped, the slide and gravity reliably carried Rory from mountaintop to foothills, from clouds to sandy dirt. Everyone took her invitation to race down the smooth and cool slide, tummies tickling, and smiles plastered childishly on our faces. Like any great and glorious time, it is often interrupted by a need for sustenance. So sup we did at a beautifully quaint French café a few miles down the road, Chez Maman.


The heavily french accented staff took our orders fast. Filled our teacups high with piping and bittersweet coffee. Warm bread was cracked open and slathered with butter while perfectly prepared fresh dishes made their way to our table: ratatouille, Gruyere mac & cheese, salmon, pork chops, and crisply toasted Brussels sprouts. Merci!

Making our way to the car we spotted a small bookshop called Christopher’s. Rory dreamily explored the shelves until settling on a brown wicker basket full of plush friends desperate for adoption. Thanks to Great-Grandma and the saved birthday cash, she settled on a small brown and black German shepherd well within her means, now called Chase. A small blue whale nailbrush for just a few dollars more and Chase is the best-groomed pal in the city.


So what does one do after such a momentous morning? Two years in the making to ride such magnificent slides, where does one go from there? To more slides of course!…in a few days. Keep that carrot in front of the horse if you will. Plus, uncle Alex had a surprise massage for Oma. Happy early Mother’s Day! So we walked the city of San Fran and looked in a few stores until Oma returned to the car hazy and relaxed. We all agreed, on such a foggy and gray day it was time to turn in early, enjoy hot bubble baths, and watch some British cooking competitions inspired by the chefs in the Great British Baking Show. Rory was a doll, making her ailing mother bedside watermelon and strawberry play dough dumpling soup. Such care, such service, such love! Until morning, au reviour!



4 Replies to “The Wild West”

  1. Well, you did it again Charity! Wow, really looks like Rory’s time w/everyone; how nice! There are times Bob and I look at her pictures and we really see a little, young, pretty Charity. She is precious and the stories are great! Also good to see Uncle Alex too.

    Thanks once again for a trip to CA. Never been there before – looks exciting! Thanks between your blog and FB; we feel like we went on that trip too!! Lots of fun!

  2. So fun. I love San Francisco. Bummer it was gray, though. 🙁 Wouldn’t it be great it we all had kid’s outlooks?….Well, most of the time. 😉 Glad everyone had a nice time.