Sixty-six for Sixty Six, Part VI: California Turnstile


February 8, 2017, Santee-  I had not spent much time in San Diego’s eastern ‘burbs, prior to last night.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a homey little motel, Villa Embasadora, in El Cajon, a town I have previously associated with huge malls and Miles of Cars.  It is a working man’s motel, so my neighbours were up, and off to work, between 4-5:so, this morning.  After dawdling, online and with my prayer book, i headed off to find breakfast, around 8:15.

A further drive down East Main Street brought me to Pizza Stop, which, despite its name, is a highly popular gathering place for full American breakfasts.  I went inside, expecting to be seated by myself, perhaps at a corner table, away from home-schooling families and small groups of older ladies.  Surprise!  I no sooner had made my way to a two-chair table, when I was summoned to join a large group of my male age-mates.  Seems that eastern San Diego County, with a large population of retired military men, has three service clubs, which help provide security at San Diego’s football stadium, and other large public facilities, in the area.  Most of the men in the room  about 50, all told, were in their 60’s and 70’s.  It was like being at an American legion or VFW breakfast, only writ large.  The breakfasts are huge, keep-ya-full all day affairs.  The group gathers, Morning Lions Club-style, every two Wednesday mornings.  It was a great mid-week start to yet another transition in my life.

My son, Aram, heads to South Korea tomorrow, for a 1-2 year tour of duty, which may or may not be his Navy swansong.  While 2019 seems far-off, I know, from the freshness of memories from 2011, on to last year, that it will be upon us, sooner than realized.  So, as with any life event, we both have several contingency plans for that time.  (I’ve had contingency plans since I babysat my younger siblings, when our parents were out for the evening.  I was 11-13, and whenever they were late coming home, I had the phone numbers of my aunts and uncles at the ready.)  In the meantime, I headed up the road, to Santee, in the foothills of the Laguna Mountains, where Aram had some last-minute business.

I will relax at this Best Western, in Santee, until we head out, early tomorrow morning, to San Diego International Airport.  Once Aram is on his way to the TSA line, and other fun stuff, I will need to head straight back, towards Prescott, and my own present routine; thus, the “turnstile” aspect to this jaunt.

My next visit west, in June, will be to the north of here- from Orange County to Santa Barbara and Ojai.  By then, my son will be acclimated, once again, to life in Korea, the land of his birth.  Time will tell if I get back there, myself, during the next two years.