Mama’s First Flight At Age 84 — and California Dreamin’

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Our California trip in 2009 would not have been complete without visiting the home of the Jelly Belly. It was back-to- back eye-popping color, and art created entirely with Jelly Belly jelly beans.

Mama and I had been talking about California for years —  a trip to see her brother Marrell and family. Well, all plans came together in 2009, with the addition of one wayfarer cousin, Joan (mama’s niece). And, man, we had a ball !! My California aunt and cousins met us at the airport in a limousine — another first for mama — and took us home in style. It was after dark when we arrived, and Uncle had supper cooked. It was a great reunion.

But, wait!! I have pictures. It began at the Birmingham airport. Mama had never been to an airport, so we watched planes as we waited for ours.Here’s Mama and Joan at the Birmingham airport watching planes. I’m there, too, I’m just watching them through the camera. Joan is a childhood playmate. She has kept up with all of us through the years. She doesn’t forget birthdays, and certainly never forgot her Aunt Bessie’s. Mama loved cards and kept them all.

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 ————————————————————————-pilot and ma————————————————  If mama had known flying was this much fun, she would have become a frequent flyer. Now time for the pilot to get back to work.

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Later, Mama gets a “tour” of the cockpit.


— We are now in California and playing tourist — 

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Here we are at Jelly Belly’s, the jelly beans that President Ronald Reagan made famous. Talk about a blast of color! And the jelly beans weren’t bad, either.

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Now we go into wine country with our California aunt and cousins

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I’ve lost some weight since then, thank you very much. Mama and Aunt Bev arm in arm in background. Those wine barrels back there are BIG. And the grounds here are gorgeous. But that’s a post for a later time.

Napa Valley

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Touring the Wineries

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Cousin Pam does her Vanna impressionPicture 336


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Going to San Francisco

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Queueing up for the ferry 

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Mama was given a front row seat on the ferry. She had never seen the ocean. The San Francisco Bay was beyond anything she could ever imagine. “Is ALL that WATER??” she asked. She couldn’t believe her eyes.

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View from the ferry

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It’s cold in San Francisco in the summertime. Mama didn’t believe it till she got off the boat. Cousin Pat helps her on with her coat. Mark Twain once said that the coldest winter he ever lived was the summer he spent in San Francisco.

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So where we going from here?

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Visual wonderland of Pier 39; walking through the looking glassPicture 794


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 Restaurant overlooking San Francisco Bay from Pier 39

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View framed by restaurant window.

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A view of Alcatraz and sailing boats seen from our window. Do you see the irony of the unfettered freedom in the foreground as opposed to the prison rock in the background?

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The sea lions of Pier 39’s K-dock

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On the return trip back across the bay, Joan watches Alcatraz recede through cloud and mist.

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The whole crew together as the day draws to a close

Thank you Aunt Bev, and Pat and Pam, for some wonderful memories. Mom passed away two years ago today, July 30, 2011. Her brother Marrell followed a year later. Back in 2009, we said our goodbyes in his driveway. As he hugged us he asked for a picture together, because, he said, we’ll never meet this way again.

Thank you also to my precious daughter-in-law Tammy, who gave me this song to finish up our memories, a song that asks for a brief moment of time in a place more beautiful than California.