Our Nation Needs Families & Friends

Apple Hill is a beautiful part of Northern California located in Camino, CA.  As the name of the area would lead one to understand, it is a conglomeration of many farms.  For close to 18 years, our family has visited the area on the third weekend of October.  We always start with our apple fritters and donuts at High Hill Ranch.  They do an amazing job with their apple fritters and donuts, especially the fritters.  Nice size pieces of apple in this incredible donut dough concoction.  Makes my mouth water thinking about the apple fritters.  We walk around the craft area.  About 15-20 different vendors.

We then move on to about three other spots.  Go to Boa Vista and buy apple pies, salad dressings and this wonderful apple/cinnamon syrup!  OH MY.  We always visit El Dorado Farms for their vendors.  Every time we have visited there is a very nice lady with her basset hound.  Needless to say, this is her second basset hound that we know of.  However, this second one (just as sweet as the first one we met many years ago) is now showing age with its little white chin.

Why do I want to share this annual family trip is for some reason it affected me differently this year?  I don’t know why.  But it did.

As I was sitting and eating my awesome apple fritter at Hill Ranch, drinking an apple “cider” at Delfino’s, eating my lunch at Apple Ridge, and ending our day at Hiway 50 Brewery, I noticed the families and friends.

I saw all the grandparents with their grandchildren and adult children.  Seeing them take turns calming the baby down or feeding the baby or walking them around the fishpond at High Hill Ranch, I reflected on how much I enjoy those experiences and will never get enough of them.  As each day passes on missing those opportunities, I pined (yeah – that is a pun) for those opportunities.

Being a father / grandfather, I do focus on seeing the interaction of men with children – at any age!  Warms my heart to see the affection, care, concern, love a man shows to his child – at any age!  Fifteen years later, I still smile thinking of when I saw Tom Brady hug and kiss his father on the cheek before going to play golf at the AT&T golf tournament in Pebble Beach.  We need to see more men step-up and be an active part of their children’s lives.  I am in the “camp” of more fathers, less government.

All the friends!  Countless numbers of people enjoying one another’s company.  Petting one another’s dogs.  The smiles!  Sitting at tables and enjoying the beauty of the moment.

I do think the response to COVID19 stole many opportunities for such scenes!  We allowed too many “experts” to scare us and that fear took away the simple opportunities I saw and enjoyed on Sunday.  And now … thanks to Boston University!  You (Boston University) have made a more potent form of COVID that could kill millions of people?  Why?  Seriously.  Why?

So, here is what I am thinking:  LIVE OUR LIVES.  Enjoy the simple moments of eating an apple fritter.  Holding your child or grandchild’s hand.  Small chat with a dear friend.

Remember, to make it to the end of the day, we need family and friends.  Maybe not literally / physically there.  We need to create memories as bridges to the next time we are with our truly important people!  When we are with either, put away the phone and embrace the moment.  See how others are enjoying the moment.

As individuals, we are being divided.  Instead of being Americans, we are gender or race or ethnicity or all three (intersectionality).  Do all you can to not allow that division to seep into your family and / or friends.  This is very difficult.  Speaking as someone who has allowed the message from the “evil” seep into my soul, I have lost time with family and friends; time I will not get back.  And yes, I have walked away from people, as well.  I did what I could to ignore the differences and I admit, the differences got the best of me.  Yet, a relationship is like a bridge – there are two sides.  Will I re-connect with those family members or friends?  Answer:  only God truly knows and sadly, that answer offends some of those family members / friends.  Very difficult for me to be connected with folks who encourage independence from God instead of dependence on God.

As long as you are connected with family & friends, do all you can to enjoy it and not take it for granted.  As elections come closer and universities make viruses that have the ability to kill more people than COVID19, we are at greater risks of losing family members and friends.  Human beings without God are even more stupid.

Thanks for being my friend.  Thank you for your forgiveness.  All is well…