Saying Goodbye to Crescent City


Foul weather met us and stayed with us on our travels homeward. It frustrated what could have been an 8-hour trip by making it into a twelve plus hour road tour.

Yet w managed to get home and that is what counts in the end.

Kyle and I were up before 7 am so that we could go have breakfast at Glen ‘s Bakery. It is the one thing that has yet to change in Del Norte County since they were forced to move after the Tsunami of 1964.

I used to go there for breakfast anytime of the day and to flirt with Caroline, who no longer works there. It was at Glen’s that I caught the first glimmer of hope that perhaps I had a chance of seeing somebody I knew.

In a booth was a young woman who looked an awful lot like Michelle Hendricks, whom I went to school with. Alas, she said she wasn’t, but then it’s said everyone has a double someplace in this world.

After breakfast we headed south into the storm, saying good-bye to Crescent City.

We ended up stopping at the Trees 0£ Mystery. I worked there over a four or five-year period in the garden, helping maintain the trail, tagging cars (which they don’t do anymore because of lawsuits) , to being Paul Bunyan’s voice, to cataloging the artifacts in the ‘End of the Trail Indian Museum.’

Mary Lee Smith was always good to our family that way, God bless her.

While cruising through the gift shop and then the museum I happened on a display case that held the collection gathered by Margaret Keating. She was a Del Norte pioneer and school teacher.

She also happened to be our families’ next door neighbor and one of my sister’s God-mother.

She did more in her life-time to advance the traditions of the Yurok people than anyone I ever knew.  She passed on in 1985.

As I was pointing out how I used  to look at this display while eating warm chocolate chip cookies and drinking cold milk in her living room to my son, when I heard a gentle female voice behind me ask, “Are you a Darby?”

I turned in complete surprise because I recognized her face but could not put a name to it.  It was Denise Rode.

She and her sister Tami went to school with all of us Darby kids. In fact her father worked with our father at Klamath Air Force Base.

That is a story in of its self which I will leave for another time.

I was so happy and so surprised. And what a wonderful and sincere hug I received from her.

We talked for a while about life and how things have turned out for all of us. It was certainly great to see her and I look forward to keeping in touch.

Still the rain continued to buffet the roadway and us as we proceeded to travel towards our turn off just before Arcata. That’s where we started our climb over the hills and all the little towns between U.S. 101 and Nevada.

The greatest hazard though was the other drivers who insist on coming to near complete stops in the straight a ways and then speeding up into the corners, or playing hot-pursuit in the passing lanes. Kyle said I did very well on this trip as far as cussing and going crazy over the other driver’s behavior.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I was in no hurry to get to where we were going as we headed, besides both my ribs and back hurt too much for me to really care.

It was  jus’ after 10 pm hours when we pulled into the drive way. There  was a trace of snow coming in form the southeast and I really didn’t care if we unloaded the pick-up or not, but Kyle reminded me that we needed to finish the job.

I hate it when I have to hear my own words repeated back too me.

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