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Grateful for a Day in Greater Yolo

May 17, 2015

Nothing like out of town guests to help you expand beyond your usual boundaries….

The set up:

Aunt Ellie’s cherished friend from UCLA days (and Eric’s godmother), Nancy, drove up from her current home in Manteca to visit with her son Jim Thompson and his family (Kath, Kylie, Kate and Emma) who live in a charming country home on a few acres off Road 96 where they board horses and manage huge gardens in addition to many other typical Davis in-town things. Here is a view as we pulled up to the house.. very peaceful and shady:

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Jim, Peter and I tagged along for Uncle Bud and Aunt Ellie’s visit with them and we found we had numerous Davis-y people and experiences in common with the Thompsons.  We were all treated to a great patio lunch beneath a drapy, plum-laden tree, listening to parachuters falling from the sky above the tiny (and adjacent) Yolo County Airport.  Peter and Kylie are in the same spanish class so that made things even more interesting in that teenagers-thrown-together-by-adult-social-circumstances way.

I didn’t take any pictures of any of this, but it was a lovely scene around that table.

We then mobilized and caravanned out to a rural, hilly place northwest of Woodland to watch one of the sisters (Kate) compete in a horse show. We caught the second of three events–the jumping, which was quite exciting to watch (dressage and cross country were the other two events). Information about these things is here.

The setting was surprisingly un-valley-ish–hills, horses, eucalyptus. It was very pretty and very familiar, reminiscent of Rolling Hills where so many of my friends spent time growing up and participating in the very same horse-related things.

Some shots:

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And here’s Kate, early in her nearly perfect run:

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(I’ve got to fix my iPhone camera… this blurriness is not an intentional effect.)

On the way back to town, we detoured to a place at the intersection of County Roads 95 and 22: Monument Hill Memorial Park. Wikipedia says it’s at an elevation of 135 feet–a high elevation for us valley dwellers–and the views were gorgeous.IMG_6523

It’s a cemetery …

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… but it’s also the site of a significant surveying landmark and point of measurement…

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(sorry for the blurriness)

Jim gave us a beautiful explanation of what, exactly, is inside that monument (it has nothing at all to do with its location in a cemetery), its historical importance and how it was part of a system of markers along a very long boundary line cleverly, painstakingly set in the 1800s [… and I wish I could explain this but I’ll have to back-fill once I get a review from Jim. Stand by.]

It was very cool.

We returned home, took the obligatory photo at Dad’s bench..

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… and spent the entire rest of the afternoon talking:

Aunt Ellie and Uncle Bud…

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Jim and Nancy…

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Very fun to find out that my dad hired Nancy to work in Sequoia, way back in about 1954. He had been hired to manage the company that managed guest services at Sequoia National Park. The ink was still wet on his Stanford MBA and this was one of his first official management jobs. She described him as intimidating in that way handsome, confident, take charge guys are (I’m thinking Don Draper, of course). She described my mom as sexy (the actual word she used) and popular with the rangers. She said she and my mom played a lot of volleyball during those years with those same rangers.

I liked Nancy a lot.

Then Peter joined us and we all went to the Buckhorn in the heart of Winters … housed in what was originally the DeVilbiss Hotel, built in 1889 on the corner of Railroad and Main Street (not sure when or why it was called the Empire Hotel)….

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Way too much food, as always. But, I have to say, the filet was impossibly tender and flavorful (and fantastic…I’m sticking with filets from now on). It went well with a Turkovich syrah, an extremely creamy but tasty tomato soup, a perfectly baked potato, great bread, etc, etc.  Steakhouse fare. All good.

Nancy then drove back to Manteca; B & E will take off in the morning.

These opportunities don’t come along very often… a long, leisurely two days to really sit and talk with people who you grew up knowing and looking up to. I am adding this weekend to the life’s great memories list. So delighted Peter was willing to hang with us for a lot of it, and was, for the most part, engaged and on his game. He seemed to understand and appreciate the importance and value of family, without my having to coach him (well, not too much anyway).  He received a few well-deserved kudos, too.

Grateful for the whole thing.

One Response to “Grateful for a Day in Greater Yolo”


  1. […] More horse show pics are here. […]


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