Friday, September 23, 2011

23 September 2011, later

Hi from Motel 6! We slept in again and then went to Carlock's Bakery again. So good! We walked in, and Peggy said, "It smells like Tank in here." :) It did! Like old-ish man, and coffee, and...something fried. And there WERE a lot of elderly men in there, true to the demographic in this area. I don't know where all of the elderly women are. Peggy had a cookie and a cinnamon roll, and I had a meat-and-cheese filled croissant. Again, we stayed at Carlock's to eat, instead of eating in the car. It was so reminiscent of Tank. I wonder how many times he went there. 100? 200?

We drove north to Ragged Point, which is SUCH a gorgeous drive. The day was beautiful, too: a little cloudy and about 65 degrees. We stopped to view the elephant seals, which is always a blast. There were about a hundred of them visible, and no babies. I suppose it's not the time of year for babies. They made a lot of seal noises, and did wacky seal things. Most were sleeping, but I noticed one seal using a front paw/fin thingy to cover another (sleeping) seal with sand. I wonder why. The sleeping seal didn't seem to mind. Some of the seals on the beach were either playing or fighting or mating. It was exciting, and such a treat to get close to something so natural. In the water, others were diving and playing and barking.

I was fairly comfy in my sturdy sandals (men's size 8.5), and Peggy seemed just as comfy in her strappy black espadrilles with a 4-inch wedge heel. There were about 40 people seal-watching, and only ONE of them (Pegbo) was wearing anything other than flats. A few people (most people) cast a glance her way. I don't think she noticed.

("I think I make really good shopping choices when I'm with you," Peggy just said, from the bed. "It's true!" she reiterated, when I laughed.)

The seal-watching reminded me so much of Tank. He would have LOVED that we stopped, even though we've both been there several times. The sounds and smells, the group of cheerful tourists, the giant and oblivious seals, the two daughters, so much alike and so all would have pleased Tank.

We drove north for another half hour until we arrived at Ragged Point. Since we wanted jewelry, we immediately walked toward Brother John's kiosk, but it was closed, which surprised us both. We went to the mini-mart next door and inquired about when Brother John would be back, and we were given the surprising and unsettling news that Brother John had died on August 19. I was shocked. I thought he was my age (he was 71). He seemed so healthy and fit a year and a half ago. I was very sad.

We walked to the gift shop, and asked if they had any of Brother John's jewelry. The nice middle-aged hippie girl that worked there told me that they did not. She said that he died of cancer, and had been quite sick and unproductive for about a year. She said that he knew he was sick, and didn't seek medical care, and when he finally did, they treated him with chemo, and he died that night (after his first and only chemo treatment), peacefully in his sleep. We talked briefly of death, and she mentioned the Mayan calendar, and Peggy bought a beautiful scarf (or a beautiful table runner...I couldn't tell), and we left the gift shop. I was still sad.

Peggy and I shared a BBQ sandwich and the best onion rings I've ever had. Like a good Utah girl, I mixed mayo and ketchup, because other states refuse to climb on the fry-sauce wagon. It was a delicious meal, there on the patio. We chatted about the handful of times we'd been there with Tank, and how happy he'd always been, and how cheerful, and how generous. If I'd said to him, "Wow...those fries look good," he would have plunked a handful of his fries onto my plate, without a word said. For someone who loved food, he didn't become emotionally attached to food, and would hand it over without considering how doing so might affect his share.

After we ate, we walked toward the ocean, where, as I recall, "The Sandpiper" was filmed. I haven't seen it. I should watch it, and pretend that Elizabeth is Nola, and Richard is Tank. That would be fun. We walked to the farthest viewing area, and hung out there for a while. Gorgeous beyond words.

We climbed back into the car--happy--and drove south. I mean, as happy as we could be, given that Tank is gone and that Brother John is gone. We held them in our hearts. Well, I just assume that Peggy was holding them in her heart, also.

It was only about noon (it's as if time moves more slowly here), so we drove back to Morro Bay and hit Coalesce bookstore, another of Tank's hang-outs. We didn't buy anything, but it was fun to be there, and we checked out the plant-filled backyard, which houses a wedding chapel, and is a little slice of Central Coast heaven, and Peggy expressed chagrin that she hadn't chosen this as a marriage location. It's all private and lush, with water features and succulents and a good vibe. We walked a few stores down the block, and Peggy shopped for jewelry-makings while I people-watched on a bench outside. Between the bead store and the bookstore is a coffee shop, and I think it's quite likely that Tank went there for a cup after picking up his Parker books at Coalesce. It was easy for me to imagine that, and his gait, and his booming-but-polite voice, and his pleasure.

We were driving back to the motel, but I missed the exit, and we took a scenic drive and ended up at Morro Bay State Park, which is shady and pungent with eucalyptus trees. We pulled into the parking lot and took a walk around the grounds. Neither of us had ever been there before, which surprised us, 'cause it seems like the kind of place Terry would recommend. Very cool! There was a gnarled old tree that looked like Tank, if Tank were a tree, so Peggy climbed into the intricate root structure, so it seemed like Tank-the-tree was hugging Peggy, and I took some pictures. She posted them online, and Kent immediately responded with a funny comment about Peggy's "hiking" shoes. We went to the gift shop, where a cute woman who looked like Jane Lynch chatted us up and rang up our purchases. I bought a small gift for Elvis, and it was the first item I've purchased other than food. Peggy bought more gifts for her grandchildren.

Near the State Park is Bayside restaurant, and we went there for dessert (my idea). Peggy spotted a tasty-looking appetizer, so we shared a delicious skewered tuna steak with teriyaki sauce, in addition to sharing a slice of coconut cream pie. We hadn't PLANNED a meal, but it WAS a meal, but we have no intention of skipping dinner, fyi.

On the way to the motel, we stopped at Bottle Liquor, 'cause Tank loved Bottle Liquor. It's a friendly place, and it's easy to understand what Tank loved about it. I bought wine for Dan, and a scratcher. The scratcher is still in the car, but I'll let you know if I win big.

We finally made it back to the motel, and called Terry to let her know we were in town. Strange, though...the phone rang once, and then stopped. It happened a few times, from both my cell phone and Peggy's. I don't know what that means. The car is there, but hasn't been moved in the several times we've spotted it from Highway 1. The house was completely dark one night when we drove by. Maybe she's out of town. We're about to leave here, and just knock at her door, and see if she's home. If not, we'll find the hidden key, if it's still there, and take a look around. You check on her. :) And to grab anything that we think we deserve.

"Wow...I just got to a new level on Angry Birds," Peggy just said, with awe in her voice, from where she's sprawled on the bed in her f***-me shoes. Now, she just added: "I'm thinking about going to get some beef jerky. In the car." :) Then she yawned, and didn't get up. Fyi, the Angry Birds are now fighting (or whatever they do) at night. Now, Peggy's at the motel door, trying to get it open, to go fetch the jerky. She struggled with the door briefly, but finally managed to get through, and here she is, back. "Look!" she said, holding a bag of Brach's Pick-a-Mix from Spensers. "I forgot all about this!" she said. Then, seconds later, again, "I forgot all about this!" :)

So, I'm going to sneak up behind Peggy and wrest the bag of candy from her grimy hands, and then we'll go to Terry's. I'll be in touch later. We have wi-fi for another few hours, but god knows I can't afford another $3 for the next 24 hours. Our love to all...

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