The good-looking, young man deftly flipped hamburgers with a skill that belied his youth. Sizzling, mouth-watering aromas filled the air, enticing the patrons of this establishment. The aromas drifted out to the beach, beckoning. People of all walks of life frequented this place, not only for the great food, but to chat with the personable young man.This man had vision, as an old soul-- and he had a gift, a way with people. He was a great listener, because he listened to their souls and hearts. And so he felt their pain, their joy, and shared their whispered wishes and desires. All the time holding close a desire of his own. He had experienced a lifetime already and had traveled the world. Life amused him and he was the greatest fun they had had in a long time. He made them feel special, worthwhile and enriched their lives so.
Perhaps you have been lucky enough to have frequented Front Street, a little restaurant in Santa Cruz, at one time or another. To experience the incredible ambiance, to become part of the 'family', the laughter, the easy talk, the pleasure of enjoying life. Today the restaurant is no longer in existence although the memories continue to bring smiles to our hearts. It was famous for those burgers. You know, the Blue cheese burgers, mushroom and onions, and the decadent bacon cheeseburgers. Not to mention their sweet little side dishes (pastas, seafood, inventive singular creations). In this little place near the beach, talented young men presented an amazing array of dishes along with a wit and charm that immediately endeared them to you. This was an intimately friendly place--a casual sort of hang-out for good food, good friends and good times. After hours, he would enjoy the shop's hot tub under the stars, and dream. Santa Cruz, this was where Tim worked and lived, and where Chalia, his only daughter, was born.
And so it happened that he left this ocean city for the mountains of his daughter's home, to be near her. He was a sensitive, caring man, with a deep love for her. With a charisma given to few, he liked people, enjoyed life, and took nothing for granted. He had a gypsy soul, yet his heart seemed to be waiting, waiting for someone special, and something magical.
She adjusted her short skirt, eyed the back view of her legs atop the cute white-strapped heels, and smiled. Tossing her long brunette hair, she whirled around to pose one more time before her mirror. All day she had been thinking about this guy at work; how he looked at her, how that made her feel. And it wasn't like anything she had ever experienced before. His voice was full with a deep resonance and his hazel eyes touched her soul. She often found herself day-dreaming about him, which really surprised her. She was not looking for a relationship at this point in her life. There was just something about him that made her heart leap. He had the riverboat gambler look, with the jaunty tilt of his hat, and that bewitchingly sexy mustache.
She was in a place at this time of her life where she was discovering herself, trying new things, finding out who she really was. The enlightenment totally empowered her, giving her a confidence she had never known. Now this stranger appears in her life, just when she wasn't looking! Suddenly she was excited, with a hope she hadn't felt in years. The promise of a gentle, happy future filled her days.
Isn't it strange how things happen, this meeting of two souls? Uncontrived, unexpected, totally meant to be. Well, read on and see what I mean!
She often walked during her work breaks, and at lunch time. Winter lingered on, flirting with the sun, chilly breezes snaking up her legs. So she walked, thinking of her life, focusing on the events in her life. She wondered where she would be in five years, ten years. Would she be married? Where would she live? Would she be happy? The thought saddened her, slowing her steps and suddenly she felt alone. She shivered despite the warmth of the noonday sun and a cold breeze pierced her thoughts. Then a voice broke through, "Hey..". She immediately recognized the voice, it was Him!
Leaning against his truck, legs crossed at the ankles, hat charmingly tilted back a bit (like Clark Gable's!), he grinned at her. She was smitten with the casual charm of this man, who, in the same instant, thrilled her. He had a way about him, a seriousness, a depth, making him totally alluring. She choked out a light "Hi" and continued on her walk, not daring to look back, so conscious of his gaze. Over the next few months, they often ran into each other; was it really by accident? Or, perhaps, could he be waiting for her to pass each day? The short 'Hi's' turned into chats, and then, to longer talks. She started to expect him, walking nearby or in his blue truck, parked, and always with that amused grin on his face. She looked forward to 'discovering' him during these times. So it was inevitable that one day he would ask her to stop and talk, and, perhaps, to step in out of the wind and chat?
Heart in her mouth so she could not speak, she smiled and stepped in. Talk was casual, light. It was not hard to talk with him. He was exactly as he appeared, charming, witty, easy-going. He spoke of his mountain home, the way the stars looked in the night sky, the rivers coursing through the majestic country and the great photographs he had captured of special places, moments. Oh! how much he loved it there, the peacefulness, the awesome beauty of the land. The honesty and integrity of nature. As beautiful as the sea shore, but with a unique freshness, a lovely ambiance of nature in a canopy of green.
Driven by this fierce closeness to the land, he felt compelled to share his treasured photos with her, bits of his life, his loves, and invited her up to see them. She barely knew him, but instinctively felt she could trust him. They set a date to meet and view the "etchings" as they laughingly called the photographs.
The drive was simply magnificent! Sunroof open, windows down, she basked in the sun streaming in. Its supple touch relaxed her, warmed her. Warm breezes caressed her skin and danced away. The forests, the river, totally fresh and alive, invigorated her. She felt a jauntiness, a freedom so great she wanted to sing aloud!
The scenery was just awesome! She breathed deeply of nature's fragrance, the pine trees, the river, lupine blooming on the mountainsides. The air as she neared 3,000 feet was fresh, pure. She noticed small things, like the tiny red flowers growing along the mountain's face, their light fragrance filling the air. The sparkle of quartz in the mountain face as the sun hit it magnified the brilliance of the day. As she crossed the Moke river, she whispered to herself, I'm on my way, I'm almost there!
He was out in the sun, shirtless, with a bandana tied across his forehead. Everything was green and fresh around him. As he helped her from the car, flashing that terrific smile, she knew she had made the right decision in coming up. This was indeed a special and precious world to be shared.The afternoon was spent sharing his photographs and slides; brilliant shots of sunsets, sunrises, great stones ages old; forgotten, intriguing buildings and old barns; amazing shots of the ocean, of white beaches, old gnarled trees back-lit with the copper brilliance of a dying sun, its magnificent moment captured forever.
There were magnified shots of common things, like rocks, elevated to works of art in a single click of the shutter. Celluloid proofs hung in sheets around the room, each a piece of magic captured forever. He took her to places she had never been. Showed her wonders she never knew existed. She saw the miracles in a field of wheat, the sand on the beach, the fiery glow of a sunset through a magnificent old tree.
She was touched by this man who saw beauty in the every-day, who found magic in the velvet darkness of night. Magnificence captured forever by his camera. Charmed by his concern for the environment, the land, the forests and its critters, she was linked forever to his spirit and he to hers. That evening, when he set a simple, lovely table for dinner in his small house, with a lovely old lace cloth and flowers, she could not imagine anywhere on earth she would rather be.
And so it began.......
Then that wonderful day came when, almost three years later, we drove to the river and in the midst of a beautiful grassy meadow, got down on one knee and proposed... he wanted to continue to share his life with me as I was the One he had been waiting for, that special someone he knew he would one day find; and that all his life he had been waiting for me. So in the midst of all that beauty, the sun sparkling on the river's surface, a soft breeze in the trees, and meadow flowers at my feet, I told him Yes! my heart so full, I could hardly speak.
In June of 1991, we were married at Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe. Tim had gone there often with his family and thought it would make a lovely spot to join our lives, surrounded by friends, family, and well-wishers, publicly announcing our love for each other. And so it was, the most special day of our lives.
From then on we have enjoyed sharing everything, our days working together, commuting together, working our land, and caring for our farm. We have great hopes of having a nursery business someday, and perhaps even a little flower shop for me to enjoy. One that would feature specialty items, little wonders that would be irresistible. And oh! how wonderful if we could turn our little cottage into a weekend retreat for others seeking the good life, a spin through real mountain country and clean, fresh air. A chance to play with the farm animals and ride the horses. So many possibilities await us, and getting there together is half the fun!
Hope you enjoyed our little story. The people are real, and the facts true, although this writer may have embellished a bit! This is an actual photo of the bridge crossing the Moke River which we cross each day in our commute to work in Sacramento. The road rises sharply on both sides of the bridge and the roads are narrow and winding.
Glad you could share my memories of the sweetest of times, the day I met my husband. The main players in this tale may be found at the Dunn Farm, enjoying life in the mountains, raising the critters, watching the starry night skies for falling stars, and making wishes. Because, as we all know, Wishes DO come true!
It is now 2017 and we celebrated our 26th Anniversary in June! We are seniors now and loving life together!
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