Author: Ramos, Jean

Making Memories

Is it the last week of August already? Summer is nearly gone and I don’t have much to show for it. Our youngest daughter and her family moved up from Hanford this summer. I have enjoyed getting to spend more time with the grandkids. They are both in high school and I’ve found that I have to learn a new “language” to communicate with them. They have a lot of fun at my expense.

Our oldest daughter came out for a visit from NY, along with our 10 year-old granddaughter, Alexandra (better known as Ali). Since the older kids started back to school the end of July, I decided to take Ali and her mom on a trip up the California coast. It’s a little slow going along Highway One but a beautiful drive. I told Ali how blessed we are to be able to see such sights and how there are many people who live their entire life without ever seeing an ocean.

We spent a couple days in the Mendocino area and then headed inland to pick up Highway 101 at Leggett. I told Ali about the giant redwood trees, she didn’t believe me when I told her that they were big enough to drive a car through; so we did just that. It was a tight squeeze, and I had to fold the mirrors back on my Jeep but we drove through the Chandelier Tree with Ali and her stuffed animals riding shotgun. This is a kid who was probably not impressed when standing at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or the Tower of London in the UK, but she was thrilled with the California redwoods.

We spent one night in Eureka and we all laughed when I showed them where I was born. It was on a bridge crossing the Eureka Slough. We visited the Clarke Museum and I was able to show them some of my paternal grandmother’s basketry and some books that had photos of Grandma and other relatives. There was also a quilt on display that my maternal grandmother had worked on. Of course a trip to Eureka is not complete until you visit Patrick’s Candy Shop. That’s always a hit for kids of all ages.

Years ago, my husband’s dad lived in one of the old Victorian houses in Eureka. In the 1970’s, I took a picture of Terry and his dad and sister, our kids and his sister’s kids in front of the old house. There was a little mimosa tree I used as a backdrop. On this trip, we drove by the old house, and were pleased to see that it looked the same except that the mimosa tree is much bigger. I took more pictures, adding the next “generation.”

We ventured further north and spent some time at Patricks Point State Park. We visited Sumeg Village, a recreation of a Yurok Indian village with tradition house, sweat house, dance pit, redwood dug-out canoe, as well as a native plant garden. Ali had a lot to “soak in” but she loved the outdoor “classroom.”

When we had started out, we were hoping to go further north to visit relatives up on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers but there were fires and dense smoke. The Orleans fire came right into my sister’s yard, within 16 feet of her house. We were sorry to have to change our plans but such is life.

After coming home, Ali wanted to know where we were going next. I told her about the California Gold Rush and followed that up with a trip to Columbia State Park. We did the usual tourist stuff like riding the stage, but the big hit (after a visit to Nelson’s Columbia Candy Kitchen) was panning for gold. We found that if you pay a couple extra bucks they will guarantee you’ll take home a couple flakes of gold and some semi-precious gems.

So far there is no music content to my column. I could tell you that there was a fellow playing a piccolo on the street in Columbia. You would probably be more interested to know that I have been practicing on the bass. I even taught Ali how to play it while we sang “Yankee Doodle,” in the key of D. We did a performance for her Auntie and Uncle and they both gave it a go on the bass too. Well, it’s a start anyway.

I hope you have made some fun memories this summer. I’ll probably see many of you at Plymouth. You know that bluegrass folks will use any excuse to get together and pick, so this week-end I am joining some friends at a “Can and Jam.” We are canning tomatoes, making salsa, marinara, etc. and jamming. I guess we could plan a get together to make jellies and jams and call it a “Jam ‘n Jam.

Posted:  8/25/2013

Copyright © 2002 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email