Sunday, February 5, 2017

Farewell to a Gracious Lady

It is pretty interesting that I can write these amazing blogs while driving the car, but never be able to remember them enough to write them down once I get home to the computer! Funny how that works.

Last week, Jeff's aunt Janiece passed away. She was 92, and she was the most amazing lady! Always so gracious, and always wore lipstick, sparkly earrings, and great shoes. We had hoped to drive out to Hemet to visit her once we got settled here. Sadly, we didn't see her again. We drove out on Friday night for the Saturday funeral, and of course, took the dogs. Her brother, Jeff's dad, rode all the way out there for the service with Jeff's sister Sharon. It was very nice. Janiece would have been honored to see the turn out! The little chapel was nearly full of friends and relatives. Like her pastor noted, not many people usually attend the service for someone over 90. They just outlive everyone!

It really was great to see some of the relatives, although I would hope to see them under happier circumstances next time. The whole Venable and Hardy clan are fun to be around, and I love listening to the old stories. For instance, my father in law Cal started flying at the age of 12. He wanted to be a crop duster, and so he was. He went on to fly in 3 wars for the U.S. Air Force (in the early days it was the Army Air Corps). And the stories about Janiece and her husband, Hardy, were pretty funny. He was a Navy man, but once he left service, they settled in Hemet where Janiece was born. Bought a store there, and also had a sanitation business. Hardy built outhouses. They raised their kids in the same town she grew up in, which hardly ever seems to happen any more! There were more stories, of course. Not the least of which is the one that revolves around the genealogy of the Venable name. My father in law, being a good military guy from WWII, has always refused to use anything French. His wife, Mary, was of Italian descent, with Gramma Rosio coming from a small town in the Italian Alps. Great story! Anyway, one of the Venables that I don't really know has been working on the family tree on the Venable side. Turns out that there is a town in France called Venables, and they have found ties to that family which dates back to Gilbert Venables in the first century BC! So, as it turns out, there is a good chance that Cal Venable is himself of French descent. I got a good giggle out of that one!

You gotta love California, too. Roses are in bloom, and the bougainvillea as well.  It was cool there, too, but not as cool at night as here in Phoenix. And the orange trees along the main street in town were heavy with ripe fruit! Of course, all the low hanging fruit was gone! We couldn't reach any....

Can you see the snow caps off in the distance?
On our way back, we decided to take the southern route through the mountains down to Interstate 8.
The road out of Hemet was so pretty! I don't know, I just like driving through foot hills! But this area was like something out of the Hobbit! There were big, huge boulders tossed everywhere on the hillsides. Down in the valleys where they would farm, no boulders! I wondered how difficult it was to clear that flat land. But the boulders might not have been in the flat areas. We wound around through there for miles and miles! I was in heaven, driving through there. We cruised through some countryside that I have never seen before. So beautiful! Just before a little town called Alguanga, we were just tooling along, and suddenly there was a big field with all of these metal sculptures! Of course I pulled in to get some photos.



Kept driving through the foothills, following the google GPS. There was a place called the Stagecoach Inn, which was on a historic stagecoach route. We kept seeing signs for historic places related to that stagecoach route. I think it was called the Butterfield stagecoach. We passed in and out of the boulder strewn hills, through areas with the biggest, gnarliest Live oak trees you have ever seen! Then, we passed through some really desolate country. I can't imagine anyone living there, much less settling there 200 years ago! However, we were faithfully following the stagecoach route! Then we passed into the Cayamaca Rancho State Park. Talk about some beautiful mountain desert! This place had it all! Saguaro, ocotillo, some barrel looking cactus, and some fuzzy cactus! The road was a bit windy and had no place to pull off through that section, or I would have a pic of it. I love that type of terrain! Not to live in but to look at. There was not much traffic there, either. Pretty amazing, seeing as how we were in San Diego county! Once we passed out of the park, we found a huge wind farm. I was able to pull off and get that pic as the sun was going down. You could see the dark sort of creeping up behind the wind mills.

Finally, we found the interstate. There is nothing on that highway.... it is just a road to San Diego! By the time we reached the interstate, it was getting dark. Probably a good thing, as it clearly was pretty flat and featureless. I noticed the smell of wet earth and water, and now and again, we could smell the chemicals that were being fed to the fields. Not sure whether I was smelling fertilizer or pesticide, but it was hard to miss!

I'm pretty sure Zilly and Zada were just happy to be along for the ride! They would rather be with us wherever we are than stuck at home by themselves!

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