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Editor’s Note June and July 2018

Family Ties

June is the time for graduations, and in my house, with two kids four years apart in school, that means double—well, I almost wrote, trouble. But what I really mean is planning and stress and chaos and pride.

In 2014, my daughter graduated from high school and my son graduated from eighth grade. Much of it is a blur except for two things: Our escapist black lab got out after we left for the evening ceremony at the junior high and I fielded a call from a neighbor, who had kindly pulled her in. “I’m at Cavitt’s graduation,” I blurted out, and the woman laughed, because in this small town, everyone at one time or another has been at Cavitt’s graduation. “Have fun,” she said. “We’ll keep her until you get home. She’s having fun with our dogs.”

At my daughter’s graduation a week later, I remember being hot and irritable, and my son even more so, sitting there unwillingly with a scowl on his face. We were out on the football field in uncomfortable chairs, blazing morning sun (why not evening like at Cavitt?), and we couldn’t see a thing. But then the principal stood up to speak, a man who also had children, including a boy my son would go on to play soccer with on the high school team. “There are lots of parking places on the road to success,” he said into the microphone. “You’ll be tempted to pull off early and park in one. But don’t do it.” That touched me so much and—bear in mind I frequently quote things to my children—I have said it innumerable times over the past four years. To them and—frankly—to myself.

As we move into this grad season, it is in some ways even more poignant: My daughter graduates from college this time—up at UC Davis—and my son from that same high school. It is cliché to say it, but I can clearly remember dropping them both off at kindergarten—her in a gorgeous yellow dress, angry when I picked her up it was “over already!” and him in a polo shirt with his blond surfer cut, visibly annoyed by some boy over-talking in line. And after that, of course, a long parade of room mom duties and dance classes and soccer practices and piano lessons. How can that all be over?

Which, in some ways, it isn’t. He is off to more school—on to UC Davis himself, at least as we go to press—and she will spend a gap year applying to law schools (is it wrong their dad and I are pulling for Davis law school so they will be together?). And we will help and cajole and support and serve food and listen. As we’ve always done.

But before all that, we’ll have summer—and during that summer, we’ll throw a double grad party. So I am especially glad to have pairing advice for an elegant barbecue from our wonderful Sierra Nevada experts. I am also thinking ahead to summer traditions that we can maintain into their adult years—like in our cover story, “A Cottage at the Lake.” How nice would that be to go year after year, as our family grows? Maybe some tow-headed grandchildren will one day join us on that beach.

In fact, this idea of family permeates a lot of our stories this issue, like our dining feature on the Mill Works Deli and Bakery in Graeagle, run now by a woman who spent summers there, helping her grandmother behind the counter when she was still too little to see over it.

So here’s to summer and creating that continuity, those tiny unbreakable threads. And never, ever pulling over too soon.

Thea Marie Rood

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