Lighted palm trees and desert air

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been out of Humboldt County at Christmas.  Even when I wasn’t living here, I always  found a way to make it back to the redwoods for the holidays.  Until this year.

Mark and I are traveling to Arizona to visit his Grandpa.  On the way, we stopped at a friend’s house – a friend who I’ve known since preschool, and who I’ve always considered to be one of my best friends.  We haven’t been in touch for the past eight years, and I feel particularly blessed this year that we have reconnected.  He is happy, healthy, making a difference in the world and living life on his own terms – something it’s taken him awhile to do.  We stayed up too late talking about past times – the illicit bar set up in the Fortuna High newspaper darkroom….the time I hit a parked car, and he had to lift my huge ’65 Ford Galaxie off of it….how we ganged up on our 2nd grade teacher and made her cry.  We laughed and cried while our partners yawned and smiled politely.  It is wonderful to have the chunk that has been missing from my heart placed back in.

We were due to arrive in Southern Arizona today, but Mark’s Grandpa has been having some health issues and wasn’t up for our visit quite yet.  We found a cheap hotel near the Arizona border and a great barbecue joint for dinner.  Mark’s reading; I’m writing, and soon we’ll be watching bad Christmas t.v. (not that I’m implying there’s good Christmas t.v.) and eating tres leches cake with plastic forks.  Instead of Christmas trees, outside our room are perfectly lighted palms.  Christmas without redwoods and nephews and crab?  I miss them all, but this year the desert air somehow feels just right.  Happy holidays.

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