I was not at the farmer's market. And we were alone. It was Saturday, and Kevin and I were sitting in the car on a motionless street in Calistoga, California. We were supposed to be in a hot air balloon by now, rising slowly in the chilly morning air with the blare and blaze of the burners drowning out the small crowd standing and staring around us in the basket. It was probably a good thing the flight was canceled due to "high winds aloft." It was good that we received the phone call at 4:45am, as we drove westward on Interstate 5. I felt like was missing something as we left the house a few minutes earlier. I did miss something. I had forgotten my jacket, and I would have froze to death in the wind.
I was freezing anyway, feet firmly planted on the ground. We had tried walking around the main drag, looking for a coffee shop or a breakfast joint that looked promising. But I was too cold and apparently too hungry already to make decisions. So we sat in the car and talked about how we always seem to do that--sit in cars, arrive too early, travel awkwardly, even when only an hour from home.
Note to self: eat before you leave the house; bring enough warm clothes even if it is almost June; let your husband of now 10 years, the one you've been with for over sixteen years, the one who knows you well, let him make decisions for you (where to eat, when to eat, where to get the cup of coffee) when you are a puddle of hungry tears. It might go more smoothly. You might even get a proper cappuccino from a really cool fair trade, organic coffee shop (instead of the hole-in-the-wall where they burnt your milk), where the girl behind the counter knows how to pull a shot of espresso. You might sit in in that shop with the poetry on the walls for the two hours instead of in your car.
You might even ask the girl where to get breakfast before 9:30am, and you might even listen and eat a really delicious version of huevos rancheros, with the eggs shaped in a circle to match the tortilla, half drenched in red enchilada sauce and the other half with green. In other words, remember, listening to your husband (of 10 years now, did you get that), might let the good day you had start a little earlier.
The day did, finally, pick up. We found the coffee shop with the good coffee and the good, amazing oaty-berry tart (which I will be attempting to reproduce very soon). We found the girl who knew coffee who told us about the Mexican restaurant down the street that was open for breakfast. We even got to see the farmer's market, get some ridiculously aromatic red wine vinegar, and sample some delightful locally made panforte, all in time to find the bike shop and cycle around to a few small wineries. Good day.
It didn't matter that I nearly killed myself on my bicycle in the first four minutes, or that neither of us could taste the wine after the first few tastes, or that it started to rain after lunch (before the second winery!) and we that we punked out early and sat in the car some more. It didn't even matter that all we really wanted to do after lunch was take a nap on the side of the road (oh! for a blanket, or that blasted jacket!). What mattered was that we got to spend the day together to celebrate our anniversary; we were alone (without our beloved child); and we didn't have to be home for a long time. What mattered was that we could have a picnic while the sun was still out, and have a cherry pit spitting contest, and finish the almost-too upper-crust-for-us wine tasting touring day with a delicious dinner at a gritty pub, with a satisfying, tall, familiar glass of beer.
Here's to you Kev, to a good day.
Here's to us, 10 years--that's something to be proud of.