Food fights, cat fights, dancing all night, dirty looks, aluminum foil hats are not uncommon among the women of the Martinez clan. But none epitomize the “Spirited Feminine” the same as Mom and I.
As a Mother’s Day present to each other, we decided on a road trip to Napa Valley for a guided bike tour called Wild Women on Wine. Not only did the name seem appropriate, but they also donate a percentage of their proceeds to breast cancer research. Mom has just finished her breast cancer treatment and was ready to celebrate!
After talking about others’ juicy gossip, we moved onto dissecting our own lives with equal “Oprah-esque” finesse. I told mom how people at the Anaheim Brewery one-year anniversary party reminiscenced about the Ringlam & Barley Circus that arrived by the train. I didn’t remember the circus, which surprised me because I often romanticize about circus gypsies and riding trains.
She looked at me in disgust, “You don’t remember the circus?
You were in the circus!” she added with indignation!
It had been one of her proudest parent moments when the clown chose my sister Julia and I to walk in the circus parade. And I had forgotten. Without skipping a beat, I suggested that Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves would surmise, “Rio abajo rio, The river beneath the river guides our lives without being seen or detected.” My wanderlust and fear of clowns were born on the same damn day!? Who knew?
We arrived at our room at Napa River Inn to find a bottle of wine, strawberry covered chocolates and a sweet card from the reservation manager, who had been in mom’s third grade class 20 years ago.
The last time my mom and I slept in the same room was the night of my dad’s funeral 1½ years ago. And as that night, it was as if my mother’s dreams and mine danced in the room together like the meeting of mists from two mountains.
The next day, Craig, an effervescent fellow from Napa Valley Bike Tours took on the herculean task of guiding mom and I through 14 miles of gorgeous Napa Valley while drinking wine.
I didn’t stick the corks in my ears while holding a wine glass in my teeth until Hopper Creek . I was that good! Mom only got honked at once for her erratic cycling and that was in the last half mile. We rocked it!
We were having such a good time, we decided to extend our trip by a day and head north to try the sparkling wines (apparently its taboo to call it champagne…really?). After tasting at Schwarmsberg, Sterling to ride the gondola and Peju, another breast cancer awareness advocate, we headed south and visited Mel, my best friend from high school. It was around 11pm and the last stretch to our hotel in Paso Robles, when my mom said, “Well, since we have 30 minutes more of driving, I might as well tell you about the time I spent in jail.”
La Contessa in jail? She figured it was the best way to keep me awake. I love that woman!