Castles to Cauliflower

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vacation 092Mrs. Fat Man and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by driving from Phoenix to San Diego then up the coast to Monterey on the Pacific Coast Highway. One of our favorite places was The Hearst Castle, which was incredibly opulent. The main rooms had thousands year old statues, beautifully painted ceilings from hundreds of years ago, a dining room table that was probably 50 feet long, a movie theater, three guest houses that were at least twice the size of the Fat Man residence, three swimming pools, two tennis courts, acres of gardens, and at one time a large zoo filled with exotic animals. There were many other interesting things that we were able to experience too. We saw little yellow orange wild poppy’s growing by the road, and almond groves. We saw the highway where James Dean died, and Canary Row where the famous novel was born. We went to an Asian restaurant and watched the workers cart dead pigs into the kitchen, and families eating together and loving each other. And the migrant workers, out harvesting in cauliflower fields.

It got me thinking, why was it that William Randolph Hearst could never get enough? From his multitude of treasure filled homes, to his 23 year old mistress who his wife and children knew about and apparently found to be devastating. And how is it that another man can cart dead pigs around and seem perfectly content? It seems that Mrs. Fat Man has this whole contentment thing figured out. She had a real appreciation with the beautiful flowers of Arizona and California. Multiple times as I was trying to drive, she stuck her camera in front of my face so she could get a picture of flowers in someone’s yard or along the road. She has the inborn ability to be content with and enjoy the simple things that are abundant in her life. She loves flowers, and small animals, her children, the Fat Man, and she is the most mother/father honoring person I have ever seen. She loves her three bedroom house on the outskirts of town just fine, she doesn’t need a castle. She was just as taken with the cauliflower as she was the castle. She liked the graceful and colorful jelly fish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium best of all. She has the same wisdom that King Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived besides Jesus) wrote about in Ecclesiastes, “I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:12  So we went back to Arizona to spend time with our daughter and sister Fat Man, and my dear wife loved us all with her ways. After a considerable amount of contemplation, one of the main things I have taken away from our silver anniversary trip was that I am even more fortunate now than I was 25 years ago. And she’s still really cute too!

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