Ana and I joined the rest of our family in not-as-Danish-as-it-used-to-be Solvang for Christmas. As kids, we spent some family vacations at the Solvang-adjascent Alisal Guest Ranch, riding trail horses, feeding goats, and chasing chickens. We were staying just up the road from the ranch and I thought it’d be a great idea to walk there on Christmas Eve.
Not so much.
I liked the spongey, bouncy mulch on the side of the road. Good for my old lady knees.
And crossing the bridge next to town gave us a nice view. Loons everywhere. And yes, I heard them.
And lots of pretty hillsides and trees. Lots. of. them.
I started getting punchy a little past mile one. Ana tried to cheer me up.
But we just kept walking. FOREVER. I even started a pathetic, “are we there yet?” chant. The hills on the right side were nice. But on the left? Miles of unnaturally green golf course. FOREVER GOLF. Unhappiness (and hyperbole) settled into my feet.
I started taking random pictures of anything but the golf course.
Ana’s feet were fine. Cheery even. Festive. Bouncy. Cranky, I became.
We found weird random fairy baubles hanging from the lower branches of two large roadside trees. I thought maybe people were being festive. Yay! I cheered up a little.
Then Ana told me it was so people wouldn’t miss the tree and run their cars into it, dying in the snow next to a golf course.
I became sad and randomly started shooting things again. Like the sun that wouldn’t stop warming me.
Then things started to get a little more…manicured.
And then there was the blessed signage. The blessed, and yet hated signage. We’re here.
Complete with sisterly shadow portrait.
It’s still incredibly pretty. The front horse field only had one solo equine standing sentinel in the back corner. We wandered the still familiar driveway down to the barn.
Where I promptly sat down and handed the camera over to my sister. Chaos ensued.
We’re goofballs. Clearly. I watched the goats and chickens from a distance, unwilling to test the truthiness of the ‘guests only’ signage displayed everywhere. So after a few moments of soaking up the memories – of which I have fewer than I thought – and laughing at people wearing Uggs in 75 degree weather, I called Steve to come rescue my lazy ass from a tedious trek along the Golf Course of the Damned.
He mixed me a gin and tonic. The end.
Here’s hoping you all made some great memories this holiday season. I may have been Grouchy McGrouchypants by the end of the walk, and mostly because it was my idea (big dummy) and I misjudged the distance, but I still loved hanging out with my sister, which doesn’t happen nearly as often now that she’s living in the Pacific Northwest. She’s a hoot. And eventually she had me chuckling and poking fun at everything, including myself. She’s the Dorothy to my Julia. Everyone should be so lucky.