Nepenthe

Bixby Bridge

Chris has taken a four-day weekend, beginning today, which means that we’ll be under his tutelage for the weekend to come. He is still working, but he is working from home, which he likes. He is looking ahead to retirement, but is not yet ready to pull the trigger now. I’ve tried to explain the benefits of everyday being Saturday to him. I guess you have to learn these things for yourself. He organized our trip to Nepenthe. I drove, but Chris planned it. California is still in the throes of Covid, as I guess, so is everywhere else, but only more so here. Restrictions are supposed to lighten the middle of next month.

So, Dad, Chris, Anne and I drove together to Big Sur, which is almost fifty miles from the house, but only 26 miles along the twisty turny CA 1 that everyone loves and I hate driving. Let’s face it folks, I’m a flatlander. It’s where I learned to drive and where I have done most of my driving. A place where you can set the wheel and only have to nudge it after that. Sort of like steering a boat on the open sea. We went to Nepenthe for lunch. I drove, because I had the new car and I would be damned to have anyone else drive. The drive down wasn’t too bad. We left in plenty of time and traffic was relatively light. I was fortunate to have a couple of slower than me drivers ahead of me, so I felt no pressure about the train of vehicles that had accumulated. A few gonzo drivers speed past me, even in a no passing zone, but I figure that is who the cliffs were made for. I look at the guard rails as only wannabe ski ramps. We made is safely and in plenty of time and enjoyed a scrumptious meal.

Dad announced to the waitress that he had been coming to Nepenthe for sixty-five years and with a little math, I figured that so had I. Our young waitress announced that she planned on living he life in Big Sur. Nepenthe is a word derived from the Greek word meaning no sorrow. A mythical Egyptian drug, the wife of Thonis, King of Egypt, gave it to Helen, daughter of Jove, to induce forgetfulness and surcease from sorrow. The word and thought have been used through all time. Homer mentioned it in the Odyssey. Later, Poe mentioned it in his poem The Raven. Poe said:

Quaff oh quaff this kind Nepenthe and forget the lost Lenore.

Dad and Chris being traditionalist ordered the Ambrosia burger, Nepenthe’s signature dish. Sixty-five years ago, it was significantly cheaper. The waitress asked if he had not been back for sixty-five years, but we enlightened her. It has been a year for Dad and Chris and two for us. Three years ago, we had to hike several miles and up a thousand feet to reach the restaurant. That time Dad couldn’t make it, but we did enjoy the added benefit of being passed on the long uphill hike by a younger, fitter man, who had a dress shirt hanging from his backpack. He turned out to be our waiter. On the way back, we were passed by one particularly obnoxious gonzo, but I had the satisfaction of catching up to him as he was stuck behind a garbage truck. It is the afternoon, but an already windy day has made going outside even less desirable. We saw a cyclist walking his bike, because of the wind. A quail, who rarely leaves the ground for long was blown up onto what is a third floor balcony.

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