Harold Gassner--my dad--was a nature boy born in Brooklyn. He loved the outdoors and claimed there was more of interest to see in a square inch of earth than in all the great cities of Europe. I spend many a day with him in the woods in all sorts of places: Cook's Forest, PA; Sherwood Forest, UK; Muir Woods, CA. He was astonished at the redwoods there and brought back some carefully gathered seeds (okay, he was also a bit of a klepto and you never wanted to leave him alone in a drs. office for all the tongue depressers that he'd make off with). He brought those redwood seeds back to our house in Gibsonia and planted them carefully, there by the blueberry bushes he had such fond hopes for. My mother and I hooted. The blueberry bushes had withered; what made him think he could grow a redwood tree? And how old would we all be before it was even a sapling?
In Mendocino last week, I saw this redwood burl, or another one like it, which was actually sprouting tendrils. I knew I had to have one, for my father, because he would have had one and grown another redwood tree. So that's what I'm doing. In his memory.
I miss you, Harold darling, but you are forever in my heart.
I am a therapist, a shrink if you will. The one piece of equipment that is ubiquitous to a shrink's office is the box of tissues. People cry when we talk to them, sometimes noisily, but mostly just gentle tracks of tears. The tissues are for dabbing at the tears. And then for shredding in the aftermath of the tears. I know this, and I empathize (which is what we shrinks do). But here's my question: Except for the occasional snot-filled sob session, why should anyone need more than one tissue at a time? What is it with these doubledippers, who reach out and without really looking, lift one-two tissues from the box? Are they just tissue gluttons? Do they think perhaps just one won't suffice the enormity of their grief? Every time I get a double-dipper in my office, I want to ask them.
But somehow it just doesn't seem like the right moment to do so.
I have been MIA, I know, and for good reason: an actual vacation, like the real people take. D and I don't vacate well. The first time we tried we got lost on some logging road in Northern California that soon degenerated from merely difficult to practically unpassable. It was not paved. Nor, actually, was it probably a road, more an access for mad woodchoppers and other axe-wielders to plie their trade. And we had no gas. Really. The tank was on empty, we were lost, the night was closing in and--and.... Well, obviously we found our way out or I wouldn't be writing this now.
Still, it was a long time before we attempted another vacation. We have gone places, sure, but Always For A Reason. Or we got in the car and just drove, having no destination and therefore never really arriving anywhere. And along the we worked ourselves up from Motel 6 to Days Inns to Best Westerns. The beds were bearable, they took our dog, and they provided us with a supply of small bottles of cheap shampoo, the kind we would never buy if given the choice at the drugstore.
These past five days, however, we have been vacating at an Inn in Mendocino County. I will have more to say about Mendocino County, and the people therein at a future date, probably tomorrow. But I wanted you to know that we had a relatively good time. We ate fantastic food, and a lot of it. We laughed our pants off with our friends Jimmie and Wendy. We built two fires, walked the cliffs, and I took what are for me an inordinate number of photos, which I shall be posting shortly to Flickr.
Now we're back home, and I have made some vows to myself regarding this site. I'll tell you about them this week.
...of which I am not one, Asian, that is. But somehow I've gotten addicted to the programming on AZN TV. The Korean soaps, or dramas , as they call them. I have never watched American soaps, but these are different. The acting seems better, more natural. The production values are really good, and the people are prettier, not so overdone, so pumped and primped as they are on soaps or telenovas. My Lovely Sam-soon is the one I'm watching now. It's half in English with Korean subtitles and half in Korean (I guess) with English subtitles. The plot lines of the programs I've seen all seem to revolve around one beautiful but poor girl, who is or is not in love with a handsome boy, who is or is not marrying a rich girl because his parents are demanding it and the poor girl is also loved by a rich but somewhat wild boy who may or may not be a cad or a hero. Typical romantic fare, I know, but it gets a certain gloss on it by being all Asian. I feel as if I'm in getting a rare chance to eavesdrop on a culture totally different from mine, and, frankly, I'm mesmerized.
to say--except, am I the only one who is tipped into a miasma of lithping by the word pithy?