Last summer on my return trip from Hawaii, I spent a few days in Monterey, California visiting with my eldest son, Marc, who was residing there. There is no doubt that the Pacific coast is awesomely beautiful. The colored-hew of the jagged rocks lapped by the ocean waves, the beauty of the trees and forests, the sandy beaches--all like scenes I remember from "Play Misty for Me", and from a previous travel along the Pacific coast. Of course there were towns like Monterey and Carmel to experience and enjoy. (Sorry, folks, didn't see Clint Eastwood anywhere.) My son and I had a very good meal at an Italian restaurant. Italian pasta is not something one would recommend for lite eating. I think most people would agree that a plate of pasta is a meal in itself, although you can not tell that to an Italian. The meal was particularly memorable for its dessert. I was brought a slice of carrot cake that was at least a quarter of the entire cake, complemented with huge double mounds of vanilla ice cream. As the waitress approached our table the site of that cake was obscene. I saw the owner smile and look approvingly as the dessert made its way down the aisle like a bride at her wedding, and captured the attention of every eye in the restaurant. I humorously, publicly offered to share "the slice" with everyone present. I can be a real sucker for desserts, so I generally stay away from them. Like an alcoholic, it's all or nothing with me. In this case, it was all; and yes, I did eat every last bite of that sumptuously delicious cake. The two women sitting next to us smiled when the cake first arrived, but upon my completion of dessert gave me the most disgusting sneers, which screamed "glutton!" Guilty as charged, with no iota of guilt feelings. If given the chance, I'd do it all again!
In September, Marc had made his way for a month of travel and study in Egypt, where he was able to see all of the historic sites and immerse himself in the culture and history. Needless to say, Marc enjoyed the experience immensely, and had the opportunity to make new American friends who accompanied him on the trip as well.
By January, Marcus was saying goodbye to Monterey and traveling by car to his new assignment in Texas. His brother, Chris, was doing desert training in the Death Valley area, and Marc stopped by the isolated base, and by chance actually caught Chris at a time when he wasn't doing a mission simulation. No one can contact the soldiers while they're training, and Marc if he had not been military himself never would have gotten beyond the gate. The two had about an hour to visit at the base's Burger King. Chris was totally surprised, wearily tired from the little sleep he gets in training, and found their meeting to be totally surreal. What were the odds of pulling off such a meeting in the desert of California, while one brother was on his way to Texas and the other would soon be returning to Hawaii.
Marc recently completed his assignment with the Air Force in Texas, and is now at home before he leaves this Saturday for his new assignment in Maryland outside of Washington, D.C. Since he was seven and took a Saturday class in French, it was obvious Marc had an ear for languages and sound discrimination. At seven, he had already sounded like a little Frenchman. It was no surprise that this highly verbal kid would later choose to be a college English major, study Spanish in high school and in college (If only his dad had done the same--welcome gringo to Cuenca.) Now as Marc heads out East, and looks forward to everything the East Coast has to offer, I'll head southeasterly this Monday for Cuenca. What an age in which we live; where life, space, and time are all compacted into a one big swoosh. In turn, my sons have truly been raised to live in a global world.