Aunt Arlene’s Mantle; A Pritchard Imprint
The Pritchard Diningroom; Moments Of A
Vacation Day 7 saw us on the road to San Francisco, a 45 minute freeway run from Monte Sereno. The sky was slightly overcast, the temperature a balmy, yet cool, 70 F.
San Francisco is a sprawling metropolis seaside, considerably cooler than inland where temperatures are in the order of 85 F. The city is a diverse blend of commerce in the metropolitan center boasting a vast expanse of impressive architecture, visitor attractions and a shopping mecca. The first large and highly prominent structure just beyond the terminus of the freeway on the easternmost limits of the city is the AT & T stadium, home field for the Giants. Excited baseball fans where just beginning to trickle into the stadium for an afternoon game as we ambled past.
The city has an eclectic flavour to it and as we approached the famed Fisherman’s Wharf we became acutely aware of the expansive warehouse structures along the sun-bathed piers, the streetscape plugged with vehicles, streetcars and double-deck tour buses. A diversely cultural mix of humanity streams along concrete sidewalks of anticipation as visitors work their way through a maze of attractions which include shops, restaurants, bar & grills. Boats line the pier awaiting tourist boarding for excursions around the San Fran Bay and across to the famed Alcatraz Island, sole proprietor to the now infamous Alcatraz (hard time) prison, its walls now silent of the criminal element yet standing testament to a humanity failed of itself to the point of desperate acts which led to long-term incarceration.
The Wharf was teeming with humanity excitedly ambling along, enamoured by not only their presence in this historic location but the beauty and charm of the city and seascape. We stopped for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe’s outdoor patio. Inside familiar rock music pumped through ample speakers, efficient serving staff bustled to look after guests in resplendent favour with a cheerful and confident disposition only found in a well-operated service establishment. The fragrant breeze carried the scintillating scents of a scrumptious array of food and drink items proffered by this seaside haven.
Fast forward to Monte Sereno where Aunt Arlene has called home for a long time now, her lovely house nestled amidst the serenity of trees, shrubbery and floral splendour, the very home shared with her beloved husband Archie (mom’s brother) for such a long time. They built this blessed place, neglected by its previous owner, together and in their own creative and loving image, brick by brick, floor board by floor board, every nuance an extension of their affection and individual personality, cherished and truly lived in for all their years together.
Monte Sereno is a charming blend of suburban housing, a mix of relative middle-class to superbly landscaped estates where the wealthy live in stately, historic and contemporary dwellings in seclusion, their lawns and gardens manicured to striking perfection, luxury vehicles adorning long and mostly obscure driveways of meandering approach where sunshine and tree shade are convergent entities behind the security and seclusion of neighbouring properties.
The Pritchard home has a charm befitting of its familial occupants. During quiet evenings spent around the dining table and livingroom space special moments are shared recounting years past, blessed times with family, friends and relatives. Aunt Arlene recalls the many moments with her beloved Archie that she holds close to her heart and will cherish always. Brief pauses between smiles and fond recollections reveal traces of tears as eyes wander momentarily, visualizations and words replayed in her mind and, perhaps, not openly shared. Facial expressions and spoken nuance tell a familiar story. The love between two people so very close need not be outwardly spoken for it is evident in the eyes, in the heartbeat of an angel, in the body language of love and sensibilities.
Words cannot always convey the great sense of love and appreciation we have for Aunt Arlene, her warm welcome, her generosity in sharing her home with us for this short time. Upon leaving there will be moments of longing, private moments to remember and give thanks. We will long to return. For now and always, we will have these memories…of love, of family, of belonging.
Copyright Don MacIver, 2011; All Rights Reserved