Never Regret (3) from Child Grower Annita Woz

“But to get all this into words is a hopeless task.  The leanest sketch of of each feature would need a whole chapter. Nor would any amount of space, however industriously scribbled, be of much avail. To defrauded town toilers, parks in magazine articles, are like pictures of bread to the hungry. I can write only hints to incite good wanderers to come to the feast.” – John Muir in meditations of Chris Hagland’s compilation called Nature’s Temple.

 a s feet looking up at giant sequoia

Starbucks Coffee Proudly Brewed Here says the sign above the twin silver coffee brewers at the lodge. I am so pleased.

I have had a no-coffee morning since traveling is a challenge enough with three kids without numerous trips to a restroom! I have had some hotel lobby parking lot shuttle coffee, sprayed into a styrofoam cup.

I’ve had some airline coffee that bit my tongue worse than a Chilean wine at a NGG wine club tasting.

And I had tried some Vegas decaf to get me through one last walk to see the light and fountain show at the Bellagio on the strip in Nevada, the state that my young daughter tells me is known for gambling and women who don’t wear any clothing. Decaf was not what I wished I was drinking when she followed up that comment with, “and I think when I grow up, I want to live in Vegas.”

And yes, I had tried a cup of hotel room coffee- brewed in a 4-cup system that someone once told me airline stewardesses were taught to use to steam clean their panty hose while on a layover from a redeye.

To say I was relieved to see this Starbucks sign in the middle of the mountains, right here, free for the taking, any time of morning, any time at all, was an understatement.

I walked up and introduced myself to the machine, lovingly lifted the lever of the fresh brewed blackness, and added a healthy dose of 100% whole milk from the dispenser rather than spend any time opening the tiny vials of half-and-half and could not believe how content I was, right in this moment,  right in this place. 

As though I was at Tuvalu drinking Mayan Super Dark from a fresh-brewed caraffe, I half-turned to see if my friends were walking through the door ready to share a little story,  their latest mean mommy moment, their small hurdles, their latest treasures of wisdom.

My only lacking was family. 

Yes, my own were here, but I felt like this was a place where the cousins and the grandparents should also be. I wanted to fly them all to the mountains to participate in reverse camping – camping in the snow-  in a lodge in the wintertime instead of our normal ninety degree cabins and pop ups that we dragged to our summer weekend reunions.

This was a good place.

When there wasn’t a meal being served on the buffet, the kids could always go into the kitchen, grab a bowl and some cereal.  Families could make and eat toast and jam all night long if they wished.  If soup had been served at the noon meal then there would be more sitting in the crock, ready for any family who had spent the day sledding or fort building in the snow.  Hot chocolate, fountain drinks, milk and juices, and of course- coffee, was available all day long. 

The cousins would have loved it here! And so would Grandma Dorothy and Grandma Billie and Grandma Sue! cont after the photo


We laughed at a family from San Diego who had just come in from a snowball fight. They had not worn gloves! The youngest had swollen red fingers, wet jeans up to the knee level and her parents put her socks on the hearth to dry. Her big brothers were laughing and picking clumps of snow out of their collars, and one smaller sister, with hair as white as an angel’s reminded us of cousin Lakken and my girls took time to play with her while the grown ups lounged in leather couches, well worn by the resting readers who had plunked down in this same place in years past. 

We dutifully looked at the evening program posted on the bulletin board near the front where the upcoming activities are announced.  We thought we should just go to the bunk beds, but the roaring fire drew us out of the lodge to a circle of logs, cut half-length and made into benches around a roaring fire.  As the kids got into a snowball fight we were lured to the campfire songs and one of us to the s’mores.   The sounds of amateur musicians who had the foresight to bring their guitars and one violin in their trunk, already bursting filled the space between the fire and the snowcapped mountains that were lit by a bright moon with song.

I could see steam rolling off the small outdoor jacuzzi and even with the music, could not miss the squeals and shrieks of the kids who were jumping in, settling down for one second, and then climbing out to repeat the circle.  My little guy told me that he was going to grow up and live in the mountains. I told him I would visit him so much that he would have to ask me to live there, too. 

Could it really be this good? It was.   

Though we were too late for the passing out of the music books with the lyrics, I became more grateful for the useful life skills taught to me and my siblings by my father, the faithful and talented singer, songwriter, guitar loving player who had prepared me for this connection of mountain and music.  His years of plucking guitar strings and singing in the car with us were times well spent as I was able to remember and then sing out around this campfire, with confidence,  the lines of Puff the Magic Dragon, Michael Row the Boat Ashore and Let It Be. 

Hugging my girl to my hip and rocking back and forth, we turned to gather into our circled arms the rest of our family.

### by child grower- Annita Woz.


4 Responses

  1. Too much is all I can about this one! I feel like I was there when you saw that sign “STARBUCKS COFFEE BREWED HERE”! You amaze me, decaf at the vegas strip, what the heck girl…..
    What awesome memories you created on this trip, I am envious!

    • You will always look back at this trip as a Kodak moment. Traveling with the family is priceless. Memories are what we hold on to in a family

  2. I would just like to say that I really apologize for that Chilean wine at NGG!

    • Sorry, Karen, I have had many chilean wines since then, and they are delish. I think I have even learned to like the barnyard nose of some of them! HA! Seriously, I love wine from Chile, but I miss the NGG.

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