We sped south, Mary Ann and I, along I-5 in the direction of
highway 1 in the central desert on an urgent journey to find a
home along a deserted shore in Baja. Our children, grown now but
still with us, were meeting us at Camp Gecko in a week. We hoped
to have found a home by then.
Before we crossed the frontier at San Ysidro we stopped at a
fast food place for burgers. We put our drinks, diet Cokes, into
the holders on the dash of our Baja-bought Vaca Blanca suburban
and headed south for the border.
We spent a total of three weeks in Bahia de Los Angeles. During
the first week Mary Ann and I revisited several houses we had
seen previously that we liked, and decided to make an offer on
two of them. Both were accepted and now we were down to serious
When Miguelito, Kevin, Carly and their friends arrived, a few
days later, we were focusing on the finer points of both places
and wanted the kids to help with our decision. But this was
their vacation and my approaching retirement and we had
different agendas. We spent time together daily looking at
properties and discussing issues of each before the kids took
off on explorations of their own. It was the first vacation in a
year where we had all shared the same space and was wonderful to
have them with us.
We piled daily into old Vaca Blanca and toured areas around the
bay. We spent time at La Gringa just hanging out where we had
all had so much time together earlier in our lives. Daily I
packed our small portable cooler with drinks and ice to see us
through the warm days of spring as we sorted through smooth
round beach stones for tiny shells along the quiet shores.
Miguelito always had his music and him Dumbek drum and was
keeping time with the moods of our environment.
After a week of togetherness, Kevin and Carly and friends were
heading north and back to work. Miguelito stayed with Mary Ann
and me to help pick a home for our future that would someday
belong to the boys. We wrestled with the issues of Fideicomisos
and buying houses on Mexican land from the Americans that had
built them there.
We eventually came to some conclusions, focused our interests,
negotiated and made agreements. Money changed hands. Then we
were headed north and back to the border, work and news of the
war we were waging half way around the world. It was just Mary
Ann, Miguelito, dog Dito and me on the return trip. We settled
into the truck and made our personal adjustments. I drove the
first leg. Mary Ann had shotgun and Miguelito was in the back
fighting for space over the dog who had commanded the entire
rear seat on the drive south.
It was ten hours 'til we reached the border, with a night in
their midst at the Old Mill in San Quintin. Once we crossed into
the States we all wanted junk food and stopped at the first
place we found off the 805. We ordered and consumed greasy
cheeseburgers and refilled our respective sodas and were back on
the road several hours from home. Miguelito had driven much of
our return trip. I was noting that I wasn't as fearful as I had
been previously, as he entered turns, passed trucks and followed
other vehicles closely in the hamlets along the way. We sucked
our sodas and talked as peers in the front seat while it was
Mary Ann's turn to fight for space with Dito. But Mary Ann
always wins in any argument. By late in the day we arrived home,
unpacked, and settled in. It was good to be back.
The next morning I got ready for work and nestled into the truck
for the long drive to JPL. I put sunglasses on to face the
bright eastern sun. As I pulled onto the highway that leads me
south to another life my eyes noticed our drink cups from the
drive north the day before. I had no need then for the radio
that usually entertains me on my way to the lab. My spirit was
buoyed by the memories of my family on our trip and the times we
had shared in forming our shared future. We somehow, despite
some obnoxious efforts on each of our parts, seem to have
arrived at an age where we all belong together.
It was nice to have the time to myself, to reflect our shared
lives starting when the boys were babies, through their
pre-teens and all the sports and our family games, through their
junior high issues and arguments, and high school, unfinished
college, finding work and value, family gatherings along the
way, fast friendships, shared problems, individual issues, and
loves of their lives. Somehow, we had made it through the mires
and minefields of a sometimes tumultuous and complex set of
relationships to a perhaps only momentary safe harbor where we
now found ourselves.
I can only hope and anticipate things will stay for a while
where they have presently come to rest. From my vantage point
that would be the best, to have arrived at a place after the
stages of family life where we discover we actually are where we
want to be.
Our worlds can reflect love if we only allow them that freedom.