We never know the worth of water until the well runs dry
From the heart…
Well ain’t that the truth! As told in a previous blog, my mother’s restlessness meant I had about a dozen different “homes” in the Northern California area by the time I was 15. The one constant though was that my mom never moved us very far from beautiful bodies of water. We always lived where it was a minimal drive to a river, a lake, or the ocean. I know this lifestyle is why I consider myself a “water girl”.
First, salt water taffy. That beautiful little cliffside town on the Pacific Ocean sold my all-time favorite, sugary-tasting, teeth-sticking, pink-with-even-darker-pink-striped-peppermint-flavored candy. To this day, when I see salt water taffy in stores, it brings me right back to the beach, the salty ocean air, and starfish-covered rocks.
Ah. Starfish-covered rocks. My second treasured memory. I say this with some irony because today, this is TOTALLY something I would NEVER allow my children to do. In fact, today it would make me cry! Today I am the person who will swerve out of the way to avoid hitting a frog hopping across the road. Or pull over to the shoulder to help a turtle. So here goes: We used to pry starfish off the rocks and bring them home with us. (OMG Mom. Really!?) Yes, taking starfish from their homes is one of my fondest childhood memories of visiting Bodega Bay.
When I was 11 we moved (back) to Sacramento and we remained there until I left for college. Hot as hell in that part of California by the way. In my teenage years, laying in the sun was almost a hobby for me and my girlfriends, but it was impossible to stay out there long enough to get a tan without being on water. Thankfully, Sacramento had three places for us, the American River, the Sacramento River, and Folsom Lake.
If we felt like rafting (and drinking) all day, we went to the American River. The five hour raft ride was an incredibly fun adventure, starting with coordinating our transportation. First, the entire group drove to the drop in point. Then a subset would follow a car (or two, depending on numbers) to the end point. They’d leave the car there, pile in the other and head back to join the group at the start. The coordination displayed by a bunch of teenagers (without cell phones) was very impressive. My girlfriends and I were very organized, but I have to admit that there were a few guys in the group that could match our skill!
The Sacramento River was where we went, and where I learned, to water ski. With it being touted as the longest river in California, I didn’t have to worry much about going outside the wake when the boat turned!
Lay on the beach, listening to our boombox? Folsom Lake. Because it was about 30 minutes from where we lived, we would be there all day, go home to eat, shower, then turn around and be out the door again to hang out all night. Mallory, Sydney and Charlie lived fairly close to me, so one of us would drive, and the rest of us would pay for gas. We thought of it as our special place to hide, have a bonfire, and drink long into the evening. Oh geez, I get “warm” just thinking about it.
Those days on the water left indelible memories, which only became more treasured because we didn’t always have the water. Over the years, there were times when Sacramento experienced droughts and the “well” actually did run dry, and our fun evaporated. As with many things in our lives, appreciation may be invisible until necessity is revealed. Only when it was gone did we realize how the water was our comfort. It was our place to be with friends, or simply to be alone and think.
40 years later, it’s a different type of drought for me. It’s not the American, the Sacramento, or Folsom, but rather the St. Croix River and White Bear Lake. I’ve made some great memories with my family and friends here, but reminiscing about Northern California makes me stop and realize how fortunate I was to live where I did, grow up with those friends. Hey mom? Thanks for making me a water girl for life.
I love that you were with me today. See you next time!
Lisa A.K.A. Loopie