Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sweet Thirteen

I recently spent the entire day with my soon-to-be-13-year-old grandson. He planned the day for what has come to be called a birthday date with Dearma The itinerary in itself was fairly remarkable, but what was even more noteworthy was the simple pleasure of spending time with a kid who is loquacious, respectful, funny, and truly seemed to enjoy spending time with his 60- year-old grandmother.

We headed out in the late morning for Groveland, traveling up Priest Grade and talking all the way about his friends, soccer, cars and even the recent history field trips we had taken together. Our destination was the Iron Door Saloon which was the first establishment in California to be licensed to serve liquor. We didn't sit at the bar, but we had a great view of the old bar and all the mining paraphernalia hanging on the walls and from the ceiling. Cody noticed that our bar stools and tall table were set up against a boarded up fireplace—probably once the source of heat for the old stone building. The reason we went to the Iron Door was because Cody was curious about the hundreds of dollar bills that are stuck to the ceiling. It's traditional for customers to stick a thumbtack through a dollar bill and then wrap the bill around a quarter before throwing it up to the ceiling where it will hopefully stick. We watched several customers give it a try. One guy threw his dollar again and again but never made it stick. Another made it on the first shot and even made a second attempt. After we finished our meal, I handed Cody a dollar and quarter and our server gave him a thumbtack. His dollar stuck on his second try.

Next we went to Columbia State Park where Cody wanted to take me on a hike. We hiked on a trail packed firm by recent rains. Everything smelled fresh and clean. Cody explained why parts of the trail would not be good for riding a bicycle though I'm pretty sure he wished he could give it try. We paused at the highest point for a great view then headed back down. We were parked near the cemetery, and so we decided to take a walk there and look at the older graves, some of which date back to the late 1800s. When we had wandered all the way to the bottom of the cemetery, we noticed that our car was parked on the other side of the chain link fence. Cody suggested we hop the fence instead of walking all the way back around. "Right!" I thought. I'm not exactly fence hopping age, but Cody found a spot where the barbs were just below the top rail and there was a lone cross bar not present anywhere else on the fence and I DID IT! It sure was fun to do something I'd never attempt on my own.

We walked the streets of Columbia and Cody made a few purchases—a bandanna, a switch-blade comb, and cap firing shot-gun. I was happy to indulge his interest in such benign weapons though we had to go searching for caps which didn't come with the gun. Even that was fun as we tried various possibilities before Cody remembered seeing them at Pak 'n Save.

But that's not all we did. We also went shopping at Columbia Nursery to get seeds for Cody's mom and to Legends where Cody had a malt and I had a dish of ice cream. Finally we dropped by Uncle Culley's where Andrea had just finished baking bread. Anna Mae was babysitting during the bread baking and had painted Huck's and Nell's faces. The two painted creatures jumped ferociously on their cousin who bore the attack good-naturedly. Our final stop was the baseball field where Cody's family was watching his sister's game. We arrived just as she went in as pitcher.

It was music to my ears to hear Cody say, "Thanks Dearma, this was really a fun day!"

Thank you, Cody. I had a blast spending time with the sweetest 13 year old I know.

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