Friday, February 26, 2010

Todos Santos

I wanted to post a few scenes from Todos Santos before I set off on my next adventure, Cindy's birthday week.

Here is a brief description of these pictures.
1. C&A with Heidi and Blossom in front of the Rav, a sturdy vehicle for Mexico dirt roads.
2. The path to Playa San Pedro or Palm Beach as it is generally called.
3. The 3 of us on an isolated beach near La Paz. Hiking over rocky terrain is worth it to snorkel in aquamarine waters.
4. The new stone walkway, designed by Connie and built by Pepe.
5. C&A, happily retired.
5. Patricia at an open reading at an art gallery in Todos Santos.

Like I said, this was a hard place to leave.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tiny Town

Tiny town is Connie's & Andy's pet name for Todos Santos. It refers to the manner in which news flies through the gringo community, or the entire community for that matter. For example, while I was visiting, Connie gave her housekeeper Maria a ride to her next job and on the way talked about Andy wanting to get in touch with the builder of the house, so he could deal with a few water issues. Two hours later, Paul, the builder, showed up at the gate saying, "You wanted to see me?" That's the way it is in Todos Santos. Communication travels rapidly via word of mouth.

Sometimes it's right on, like the way in which the neighborhood heard of C&A's arrival at their house last December. People immediately started dropping by to say hello and extend invitations. In two months, they have come to know everyone in the neighborhood, including all the neighbor's pets names. Most folks have at least one dog, and many have two or three. Barking dogs and crowing roosters form a back drop of sound that one no longer hears after a while as those sounds are ever present. Connie gets rides to Zumba from a neighbor and Andy shares tools and workers with guys in the neighborhood. It's a tiny town.

Sometimes the news gets twisted, like when we waited in the bank to cash a check. The regular customer rep was not there, and when C&A asked the person in front of them where Daniel was, he said, "I heard he got fired." Soon that news was passed down the line. But when Connie was cashing her check, she tactfully asked the gal about Daniel, and learned he would be back next week. She made sure, she told the fellows in line what she'd learned.

Late one afternoon while I was there, we got a call inviting us to join a bunch of neighbors at a newly opened restaurant in town. That's where I learned that Todos Santos is a tiny town in other ways too. One of the gentleman who joined us had graduated from the same high school as Andy and I. Another fellow had spent summers during his youth in Boot Jack which is where Cindy's parent's live, and he had attended the Mariposa County Fair every year throughout his teens. Another gal was from Modesto, and when she was growing up her family had cabin in Twain Harte just like my family. We knew all the same haunts, the Frost Top and the skating rink and the rock at the lake. Two people grew up in San Francisco and one in Orange County where Connie is from. The coincidences were enough for me to agree that Todos Santos is a "tiny town."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Change of Plans

Cindy and I planned to go to Todos Santos for two weeks in February to hang out with the dogs while Connie and Andy came back to the states to get their kitties. But all that changed.

Turns out the kitties bonded with Nora, the housesitter in California, so there was no compelling need to go get them, so Connie and Andy decided they would go camping since we were coming anyway. Then Heidi got VERY ill, and they weren't sure she was going to pull through. Meanwhile a bad cat mauled Ebby, and she was at the vet for a few days, and our normal cat sitter was not going to be able to watch our kitties while we were gone.

Though we had two excellent offers from animal lovers who were willing to watch the cats, we did not think Ebby could handle a stranger giving her medicine and taking her back to the vet to have the wound cleaned. Also, the bad cat was still hanging around, so Cindy canceled her plane reservation (now we had a big vet bill AND forfeited air fare).

Down in Todos Santos, Heidi was making a nice recovery, so Connie and Andy were going to be able to go camping after all, and Blossom would go with them. After my arrival and orientation, Heidi and I bid them farewell as they headed northeast to camp, kayak, and snorkel on the Sea of Cortez. Well, I waved good bye. Heidi hung her head in sorrow.

The first day was iffy. She wouldn't go for a walk with me; she jumped up and stood at the door at the slightest noise thinking they had returned, and then she vomited her dinner after which she went upstairs to her bed and would not come down. We are talking about a VERY old, large dog here, slightly senile and quite frail. I did not want her to get sick, or worse, on my watch. The 2nd day was better, but she is still making regular visits to the yard to stare longingly at the other car and the gate. She's waiting. Such incredible devotion.

I have just one question: Who is in charge here? The people or the pets?

Monday, February 1, 2010


Cindy's dad, Fred Dixon, recently turned 80!
That's a lot of years!

So the family threw a Surprise Party. Despite all kinds of commotion in the days before the party, Fred never caught on. And when he walked through the door of the Clubhouse at Rawhide Mobile Home Park, he was totally suprised. His first expression said, "What the . . . ?" And then he broke into a wonderful smile as he recognized family from far and wide grinning back at him.

He circled the room greeting people, hugging them and shaking hands until he got half way round the room to face his brother Cliff who came from Kentucky for the party with his daughter, Sissy, and granddaughter Audrey. SURPRISE!
Next, he met his sister Barbara who came from Chicago with her daughter, Loretta. SUPRISE!
Sister Rosie was there also with a big group from Southern California. SURPRISE! The siblings had a great time catching up and cutting up!

The entire family enjoyed visiting as they ate sandwiches and salads, played ping pong, poker, and horsehoes. The cousins had has much catching up to do as the elders, especially when Cindy's mom brought in boxes of photo albums she had prepared for virtually every member of the family. She had gone through ALL of her pictures and labeled them and placed them in albums to give to each person. All across the room people were oohing and aahing and reminiscing.

Eventually it was time for cake and ice cream. Cindy had ordered a special cake with a photo of Fred panning for gold and there was also a cake in the shape of the number 80.

Near the end of the party, Cindy presented her Dad with a money tree to which Fred said with a twinkle in his eye, "I think I'll water it and see if it grows!"

It was a spectacular day of reunion and celebration. Spending 80 years on this planet is definitely worth celebrating. Congratulations Fred!