Thursday, February 23, 2006

Frances turns 80: The journey home

Trombone salute to Fran

After we finished wine tasting we drove to Petaluma. Along the way we stopped in a redwood grove and drove across the Russian River on an old bridge. We even went up Sweetwater Grade that I had ridden so long ago [Related 1999 Photo Link]. We arrived there after dark and went to our next destination, a downtown hotel. When we came in the door we found a young boy watching TV and apparently running the hotel. His parents were not there. We had reserved a suite with one room with a queen bed and another room with two beds. The boy led us up a narrow, twisting stairway to a very tiny suite. The smallest of the rooms had a bed with a trundle bed under it. If you pull out the trundle bed there was no room to walk! Fran and John were going to share that. I think not! It was totally inadequate! We told him so, left our phone number and went back to our car without accommodations.

Cell phones to the rescue, as we sat in our car Susie started calling around. Within a few minutes she had secured two new rooms. That was the low point of the trip. The high point was this: Susie had made reservations at a restaurant called Graziano's in Petaluma for dinner [Link]. That is why we had chosen that town to spend the last night of our trip. Graziano's is owned by Graziano Perozzi [Link]. It is a very nice place with great food and a good wine list.

The restaurant and Graziano Perozzi was great. Graziano Perozzi came over and spoke to us and especially Fran. He said, "I hope I look as good as you when I am 80." He, his family who were there at the restaurant, the employees there and us sang Happy Birthday to Fran while Graziano Perozzi's nephew, who was visiting from Italy, played the Trombone. It was one of those really rich moments in life and Fran was in tears.

We lingered over dinner, then drove back to our Motel.

The next day we took a leisurely drive south, through Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge and around San Francisco. We stopped for a yummy lunch in North Beach. Then, finally, we stopped for coffee in Palo Alto. Last, we made dinner at home and enjoyed a great bottle of Hook and Ladder Pinot Noir. Life is good.

The next morning, John flew home.

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