Oh, California!

Kelly, Alaina and I are back at the Ranch, tuckered out from the great California adventure.

Alaina and Kelly at entrance to Disneyland
We spent Wednesday at Disneyland, which is just a few miles from my cousin's lair in Laguna Woods.  Cousin Melanie served as tour guide and inside dopester for the day. 

Once there, we faced a typical dilemma: which park to go to, Disneyland or Adventureland?  The girls don't like wild rides, but they are very concious of being adults, and I was afraid they would disdain the fairy tale and princess cultures of the old park.

Our kind of ride
Not to worry!  The huge carousel was a hit, and they even stood in line for Dumbo, although they didn't use the joy stick for most of the ride.  I suspect Kelly, who hates heights, was the reason for that.  At one point, though, Alaina grabbed it and up we went.  Unfortunately I wasn't fast enough to catch the look on Kelly's face.

The day was warm, but not hot, and the crowd was small.  Waiting was minimal for the rides.  The main attraction, however, was Main Street–getting pictures taken with characters, eating ice cream, and shopping for the boy friends.

We had dinner reservations at the Catal Spanish restaurant, a “Disney-dining experience” I'd made reservations for the day before, so about 5:00 we availed ourselves of the restrooms in City Hall as we made ready to go eat.

Signing in the plaza
While inside we heard the sounds of a band playing.  Coming out we saw that a flag ceremony had begun in the Main Street Plaza.  Hey, if there's music, we party, so over we went.
A barbershop quartet was singing God Bless America.  Kelly and Alaina stood to the side and began signing the words, very intently and seriously.  The color guard approached and began taking down the flag and all were invited to join in singing the national anthem.
Eyes were equally on the proceedings and on the girls as they signed along, and not a few welled up with tears as true patriotism overrode the staginess of the event.  This was easily the high point of our delightful day at Disneyland.
Ensconced at Catal and the sole focus of the extensive wait staff, we relaxed with cool drinks and pondered the menu.  Pat, Melanie and I went for the paella, but the girls are not so adventurous, so the waiter deftly worked with them to identify a dish they'd enjoy.  I tried not to think about the fact that they'd had been as happy with a $10 hamburger as their $30 entrees.
Said paellas were outrageously good, worth every penny.
After dinner we strolled around listening to street musicians, and the girls were captivated by Drew Tretick, from whom we each bought an album.
Loved it and had to have it
Thursday was more laid back.  Cousins Sherri and Steve had us over to their place for pizza.  The girls lounged in the hot tub and pool as the sun went down.  We ate pizza and laughed over old times and  family adventures in the good old days.  (Melanie says I was her “Auntie Mame.”)
Alaina relaxes in the pool
Friday morning we were out the door by 5:20 AM to catch our plane. I'd caught on by now to request pre-boarding so I could be sure to sit with the girls.  When the skies got rough a few hundred miles from Austin and we were rocking and rolling Kelly got scared.
Alaina leaned over toward her and stroked her arm.  “It's all right, Kelly,” she said. “Jesus will take care of us.”
Kelly replied, “Yes, he will and everything will be all right.”

And I wasn't needed at all.

When we got back to the Ranch Kyle and Sterling were waiting.  Sterling came tearing up to Martha House on his bike to help carry luggage into the house.  He and Kelly shared a shy kiss and she gave him his present. 

“See you at the Pavilion!” he cried, and headed back up the road hooting and hollering like Tarzan.  Jerry and I laughed.  Kelly and Alaina got up to the Pavilion to rejoin their friends and things were back to normal at Down Home Ranch.