I couldn’t get warm at all yesterday. In the South may the fourth should conjure pictures of sunny sidewalks and folks out in shorts and flip flops, but this year we were subjected to torrential rains and temperatures in the 40s. 40s!!!! I spent most of the day doing what I do in February – huddling under a blanket with the space heater on. As I occasionally covered my icy nose with my sleeve, I asked myself if it were true that just one week ago I had been basking in the sun in the Napa Valley?
Why yes, I promptly answered myself, because talking to myself helped my blood circulate to my extremities. Just last Saturday, I told myself, you were luxuriating in golden sunshine at the Fremont Diner. And I reassured myself by looking at the pictures I had of that very day. One can’t be too careful; frozen people have been known to hallucinate.
A little background: I accompanied my husband on a business trip to the Bay area. We were fortunate that our daughter could fly up from Pasadena and spend the week with us. Maybe I should be writing my first post about the trip on how wonderful it was to get to see her for the first time since Christmas and how she warms my heart, but I’m just too cold. So let’s move on to the Fremont Diner. And by the way, all those corny expressions about being kissed by the sun, soaking up the sun’s rays, the sky washed clean? Those are all true.
On Saturday we drove to the Napa Valley. We had big plans for the night, but we’ll discuss those later. I sat in the passenger seat of the rental car, reading on my Ipad ,while my daughter and husband discussed the logistics of the trip. I was free to gaze upon some of the sights I had missed so much: the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin County, and the surrounding countryside. Thanks to the GPS we were guided in due time to the Fremont Diner, where my daughter’s dear friend Steve had advised us to eat lunch.
We clambered out of the car in our short sleeves, sunglasses and cameras and found our way to the hostess stand. There would be a 45 minute wait but we were in no hurry. And we would be in good company, with the other 50 or so folks waiting for tables on the …… not a patio really, more of a gravel yard.
We got ourselves some drinks and sat under umbrellas. For me there was a somewhat surreal feeling. We were in California but I could have sworn I was in Alabama. The restaurant appeared to be in an old gas station. Drinks were served in mason jars. Fried chicken was on the menu. And the place had a friendly Southern vibe.
We passed our forty five minutes visiting the chickens and watching the other waiting folks. Women in heels walked hesitantly across the gravel to picnic tables where chickens darted and scratched at the dirt. I suppose high heels on gravel could be considered an indication that one was not in fact in Alabama. Mothers attempted in vain to keep their children from chasing the chickens. Some waited in the grass rather then on the gravel.
Finally a brilliant turquoise picnic table opened up for us. And oh yes. The three of us knew this food: Southern, fresh, down home, plentiful. Who knew we would come all the way from California to eat good ( and in the South we don’t use that term lightly) barbecue! Of course the trouble with this food is that one cannot stop eating until every last glorious bite is gone. My daughter and I had the barbecued chicken sandwich with a delectable side of fresh green beans, black eyed peas and tarragon. My husband had the same, only with pork. My husband was thoroughly pleased but my daughter and I had pushed beyond the boundaries of our appetites. What had Steve been thinking, sending us to a meat restaurant?? No dessert, please!
The next stop was, unbelievably to our stomachs, a wine tasting. There was no room for wine. but we would cross that bridge when we came to it. For now we had full stomachs, endless sunshine and no humidity. Aah! Memories really can keep you warm!