Monday, July 28


Everybody converges for what has become our annual re-union. This includes Rob and Sloan and their two children, (Sophie pictured, wearing my new glasses) and Mary and Amado and their three. Sonnet is in charge of the first evening's dinner and we all have a manic catch up drinking super-sized vodka tonics and California wine. Ah, this golden land. My parents join the fun and they enjoy being surrounded by the commotion. In one corner: 8 animated adults catching up a year's life and the other seven kids glued to "The Empire Strikes Back." A battle rages for the loudest- it is a draw, Dear Reader, it is a draw. The brief summary: Mary a partner at Boston Consulting, Rob investing $500M, Amado teaching and Sloan involved with a charity and contemplating her next star-up. The children meanwhile are just bigger, more animated, more interesting and engaging. Rob and I in particular take pleasure teasing the little Shakespeares and I think it debatable who is more the child. Repetition is often a theme and boy can we get their goat.

Saturday we spelunk Mercer Caverns in Murphy's - it is my first time despite 25 years of here. The Caverns are named after the gold prospector Walter Mercer who discovered the caves in 1885 and filed a claim. Legend has it that Mercer was napping under a shady oak when he saw some waving grass despite no wind. He was intrigued to discover a small hole, no bigger than a foot, that was cool and omitting a breeze. He dug to find a cavern descending 16 stores - he thought he had discovered an abandoned gold mine. The caverns are covered with stalagmites and stalactites and various rare formations which come from the calcitised limestone bleached from dripping rain water. While disappointed no gold, Mercer made his fortune touring his cave with candles and rope - though uncomfortable and dangerous, tourists lined up by the thousands to pay a pinch of gold-dust (about $45 today) and see the spectacle. We do to but for the reduced price of $12 per adult.