Chapter Seven Jumbled Vacation Journal
“I had no problem writing in my journal when I used a mechanical pencil,” she grumbled to Vince. “So I couldn’t find my pencil, and I quit writing. I didn’t write anything yesterday, or maybe it was day three. What have we been doing since we got here? I remember the Trees of Mystery. I’ve lost track.”
Since he had nothing better to do for the moment, no lawn to mow, no sprinklers to fix, no chores of any kind, Vince sat down with Marsha and they started sorting through the hundreds of pictures in all of their cameras. “OK, that’s enough for now,” he said, jumping off the kitchen bench seat across from Marsha. “You’d better hurry if you are going with me. Doyouwanttogo?Iwanttoleave here by 6:15 this morning so I can get to the car dealer by 6:45.” Vince took a breath.
“Yes, I want to go.” Marsha rushed to answer the last question she heard.
Vince continued. “The dealer opens at 7:30, and maybe somebody will come to work early. I want to be the first one there. Then I’ll take you to Starbucks and you can use the internet there. You haven’t written anything in your journal for five days! What happened? You can stay here if you want to work on your journal.”
“No,” she answered quickly. “It’s ok, I wrote some of it online. But now I’m mixed up. Is it Monday? I’m not used to being on vacation and being so out of touch!”
“You know it’s getting late. Are you going to take a shower? You’re burning daylight,” Vince prodded his wife gently away from her computer.
Marsha now understood what her dad had said to her 30 years before when he told her that she made him tired with all her bustling around, and couldn’t she just sit still for a minute and talk to him. It was all making sense. She was almost over her cold, but felt she was still moving at half speed, and Vince was still moving full speed ahead. She just wanted him to slow down for a second. It was 5:30 in the morning and he had already had HIS coffee and cereal.
By 6:15, as planned, they were on the road in their red rental car, winding their way back to Crescent City to see what might be wrong with the truck. While they waited in the parking lot of the GMC dealer, Vince alternated between pacing the lot, and checking his emails on his cell phone. It was nice to have cellular service. He barked a few orders of who to call and email to Marsha. He wanted to make sure that things ran smoothly back home.
“Vincie, it’s only 6:45 a.m. Hang loose a bit. I’ll call them when the sun comes up. Why don’t you go walk around a bit?” Marsha knew he was antsy. In all of her many years in education, she still hadn’t learned how to gracefully take orders and be Vince’s unpaid secretary. She didn’t mind working for free doing community work, but somehow it annoyed her when he thought he was her community. She had tried to train him for years until now he just mimicked her, “Isn’t there a better way to say that?”
Well anyone listening or looking at him would know he was a little pressure cooker. At five feet four inches tall, his 139 pound muscular build and tense shoulders told the tale that he never stopped moving. If there was nothing to do, he adjusted. It was time for him to make an adjustment somewhere besides inside the car. People had started to arrive, so he bounced out of the car and introduced himself. Men loved him. He carried himself like a mover and a shaker. His demeanor stated, “I am here to get this done. How do you think we can get this moving?”
Time passed quickly for Marsha too since she had internet and cell service. Vince kindly let her answer all her business emails, and by the time they had breakfast and got back to the trailer to leave for the day’s adventures it was 9:00.
Daylight was well on it’s way, and it was beautiful. The bright blue sky and 75 degree temperatures couldn’t have been lovelier. The couple drove south to Eureka to check out the road and cancel the other nights at the KOA they had booked. The attendant was kind enough to only charge a small cancellation fee, and they were on their way, but to where, they weren’t sure. There was so much to see in Eureka.
First on the agenda was lunch. Vince had not eaten much since 5:00 a.m., and he wanted man food. That meant burgers. Marsha had YELPED restaurants all the way from Arcata, and the one that sounded best was Surfside Burgers on Highway 101, the main street, which was also named 5th Street as it ran through downtown Eureka. The weather was so beautiful that for that one day during the year they enjoyed sitting outside at a little table eating their burgers with 1/2 inch chunks of bacon smothered with two kinds of cheeses, tomato and lettuce.
As they ate, Vince poured through the tourist map he had picked up at the Eureka KOA. “There is so much here, but I think my brother said we should definitely see the Ferndale Cemetery. Want to check it out?” His brother, Jimmy, had gone to Humboldt State, and was an expert in all things Northern California.
“A cemetery? hmmm. Sure, let’s go. Why not? Cemeteries can be interesting.” It really didn’t take too much to keep Marsha entertained if there was blue sky and she had her camera along.
“This one is supposed to be famous, according to Jimmy,” Vince added.
“Wow, this cemetery has plots. Unlike my journal, which has no plot,” Marsha joked. Look how big the markers are! This is the size of Ralph!”
“You could put two Ralphs in here side by side, Marsha. Look at the inscription on this one. Did you hear that woman over there that said she found someone here born in 1799? Almost all the markers around here are from the 1800s”
Marsha was already in another world taking pictures of cracks in the walls, and lopsided head stones, dates, and moss on rocks. Vince took the dog and walked up the steep incline to the top of the cemetery. There was no point in calling down to Marsha. He knew she would never hear him. Vince wished she were up there so he could show her where to stand to get the best pictures, but he knew she would get irritated at him for telling her what to do.
“Sometimes,” he thought to himself, “I just can’t win with that woman. She wants my help, then she gets mad when I tell her what to do. Why can’t she just do it, and smile at me? That would be a lot easier. It’s a good thing I think she’s cute!” Vince knew his 61 year old wife was no traditional beauty, but there was something about her smile, WHEN she used it, that he couldn’t resist.
Knowing and doing were two different things. Marsha did eventually make it to the top. “Come right here, sweetie,” Vince held his hand behind him for her to grab as he led the way over to his chosen spot. “The view is great. Just point your camera out this way. See how you can get the ocean in the view?”
Judging from the look she gave him, he had been right. He should have kept his mouth shut. But obediently she turned to align herself to his body, and pointed the camera exactly as he told her, and snapped the picture. “Was that so hard?” he thought to himself.
Marsha grinned at him. She read his mind, and decided it was not worth it to make a big deal over his bossing her. The day was too perfect. She kissed him lightly on the cheek. “That was a perfect shot, honey. Thanks.”
As they left the cemetery, Marsha struck up a conversation with a gentleman placing flowers. It didn’t take long until they were engaged in a heated conversation about whether or not Southern Oregon and Northern California should become the 52nd state of the Union.
“This area was all set to become the state of Jefferson before World War II,” he informed her, assuming she knew nothing about history. These trees need to be managed, and the government just won’t let us do it. Ferndale is dying. There’s no industry here,” his ranting continued.
“Marsha, sweetie, we need to be going.” Vince saved her.
“It was nice to talk to you,” Marsha smiled sweetly even though she wanted to punch him in the teeth. Vince and Marsha headed toward the rental car.
“Ferndale is amazing. I love this place! It looks like it is still 1852 around here. Let’s take our time and take some pictures of the buildings,” Marsha wheedled.
She hadn’t needed to try hard. Vince enjoyed watching her have a great time, and he loved the architecture as well. If he had been thinking with his brain when he was in college, he would have become an architect.
Architecture was his first love, and he knew he would have been good at it, but other priorities called louder than college, and he had been a good salesman, too. As a bright young man, his hard work rapidly drove him to the top of the electronics company where he worked many years. His thoughts of college dissipated in the fast running money stream. He still enjoyed designing and redoing their home. He was glad that Marsha enjoyed the beauty of the buildings as much as he did.
Quickly the day slipped by, and the couple headed back to their temporary home base in Klamath at the Golden Bear RV Park.
As they drove, Vince spotted a herd of elk bathing in the river, and pulled over. Marsha jumped out of the car with about 20 other onlookers and captured the amazing views on her digital camera. Vince snapped a few shots with his cell phone.
“There is another herd about 10 miles up the road,” warned a driver coming from the south.
When they reached that spot, the elk crossed the highway as if it were a meadow in their private forest. Cars on both sides of the road stopped in the road, and everyone got out to take close up pictures of the racked celebrities. The elk seemed used to it, stopping to pose as they crossed the street, or lay in the grass having a leafy picnic. The effect was magical. Drivers became instant friends as they marveled at the large herd animals. Vince sat in the car worried that Marsha would be trampled.
Eventually a few cars inched forward around the herd, and soon the spell was broken, and Vince and Marsha headed down the road. Both accidental travelers were ready for a nap, and they still had to figure out how Marsha was going to conduct her meeting the next night with no internet or cellular service.