Saturday, December 22, 2012


I was born in the fertile valley of San Juaquin, where the fields spilled forth alfalfa, corn and all different vegetables, including the tomato.  It is this last fruit that made Tracy famous...kind of.

Heinz built a factory to save costs on shipping and produced bottles and bottles of ketchup next to the local high school, my alma mater.

In 1956 my mother was the Tomato Queen of Tracy and rode through its streets on an elephant.  She has the pictures still, a beautiful, confident queen smiling and actually taking the attention away from the mammoth beast, my mom. 

We wrapped Christmas gifts together yesterday, taking turns talking about what God has done in our lives.  Our beauty is now considered much deeper than outward.  That's what they say to us...

Tracy is what I call home, but my real home is heaven.  I remember all that has been promised to me by my father, and take great delight in what is waiting.  It makes what is happening to our homeland easier... kind of.

The farms that used to dominate the town have all but disappeared and the farmers have taken to selling Christmas trees.  The housing market has boomed, then fallen and housing values have plummeted while I have been in Africa.  The Federal budget has not been balanced, Congress has taken a Christmas break to stop fighting and rest... the national debt is astounding. 

Today I am north of Tracy in Chico, here to see my beautiful daughter who has two beautiful daughters of her own.  I will lap up my time with them here, hoping to make up for our long absence...kind of.

Yesterday I said goodnight to Harmony, my granddaughter as I finished reading her "The Christmas Story" book that my beautiful mom read to me, I used to read it to my beautiful daughter when she was young and she now reads to her beautiful ones.

As I finished the story, I said "Now it's time for bed!"

There is a small Christmas tree in her room that functions as a night light.  Although safe and warm in her bed Harmony didn't want to go to sleep - typical three-year-old.  As left the room she began to cry, saying "Don't go.. don't go!"  I steeled myself, just like I did for my own kids and shut the door.  It was then I heard her say "Don't go back to Africa..."

I had to stop in the hall before I joined Mario and Brian and Alicia in the kitchen, composing myself.  Harmony's cries made my heart tear and ache.  It's supposed to, if it's full of love and spilling over.