Like most families, we’ve got many great memories of past holidays and vacations. Most of the memories are linked to family and friends who have joined us for these occasions. We will never forget those Thanksgivings in Keller, Texas when most of the kids and grand-kids showed up. The differences in where we lived in Texas versus their lives in California were substantial and that alone made the trips exciting and added to the fun and joy for them and we felt it too.
I’ve got a little story here about a Thanksgiving when there was no family with us and it was just Pat and I. The three kids were grown and out of the house. They had all made commitments to spouses, future spouses, out–of-town hosts and others.
Pat and I hadn’t made any firm plans but Thanksgiving morning was so beautiful we decided to go to Mission Beach and ride our bikes for a couple of hours and then go find some restaurant that was serving turkey dinners.
We started our bike ride in south Mission Beach where man-made Mission Bay is only a couple of blocks east of the Pacific Ocean. Riding north on Bayside Walk, the bay and its adjoining beach are on your right, while on your left you have the beautifully landscaped residences and vacation homes. It is always a stimulating ride due to the interesting beach-type homes and if you keep your eyes open you will spot some beautiful flowers like those of the plumeria plant that Hawaiians use to make leis. I don’t know the exact distance, possibly a mile and a half, and Bayside Walk takes you north until you get to the Catamaran Village Hotel. Just before getting to the Catamaran, you turn left onto San Raphael Street and go west about 2 blocks to the Boardwalk and the ocean. At the Boardwalk, we always turned north and continued to Crystal Pier, at the foot of Garnet Avenue.
It’s a great bike ride from Crystal Pier, south, to the Mission Beach jetty. It’s more than 2 ¾ miles and the Boardwalk is smooth concrete and probably 14 to 18 feet wide. There is plenty of room for walkers, joggers, skaters, and bicyclists.
Getting back to the story, Pat and I took off down the Boardwalk and were surprised at how few people were out and about. It was a pleasant ride down to South Mission Beach and we soon arrived at the parking lot south of the roller coaster where we had left our car. We were both getting hungry and as we loaded the bikes into the car couldn’t help noticing the large number of people around Doña Maria’s Restaurant about a block down and on the other side of the street. We decided to go check it out.
When we got to Doña Maria’s there was a line of people extending out through the front door. We got in line, figuring they must be serving up some excellent turkey dinners. The line moved right along and we were soon in the foyer and smelling turkey and stuffing and all the other wonderful things they were cooking. However, as we stepped into the main area of the restaurant we were shocked to see what was going on! There were a lot of people seated and eating and there were also bright lights and TV cameras. We were able to hear a reporter as he extolled the virtues of the local charity responsible for this Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless People of San Diego. As we heard that, we ducked our heads and tried to make ourselves invisible as we headed for the door. We had unintentionally tried to score a dinner as homeless people!
We got to the car and laughed at each other’s red faces and sheepish looks. We drove over to Old Town, San Diego and found an Italian restaurant that was serving turkey dinners. As we enjoyed the turkey and all the trimmings it almost became a religious experience. We were giving thanks that we had escaped Doña Maria’s without humiliation and were praying that we wouldn’t show up on the 6 O’clock News.
November 25, 2014