Friday, November 29, 2013

Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan slept here. Joe Hooker and Kit Carson too. . . my kids are unimpressed

The operative phrase is, "according to local tradition."
But it could have happened.

Blue Wing Inn, across the street from the Sonoma Mission

After a tremendous Thanksgiving meal and visit with my brother and his family in Glen Ellen (Jack London country), on the way home we decided to take the boys downtown to the Sonoma plaza, one of the true holy lands in the landscape of California history.

We have three sons spread out over a number of years, and it dawned on me that in the lifetime of our three boys, when visiting my brother we have routinely skirted Sonoma proper in favor of more direct and less congested routes. Even the 19- and 15-year-old would have been too young to remember those occasions when we used to walk around the town square. What a grand opportunity to expose the young'uns to some essential Golden State historic sites. All of our kids, when they passed through 4th grade, participated in the requisite study of the California missions (reportedly, and I believe it, there is an underground market for foam-core models of Spanish missions well supported by 4th grade parents), and here in Sonoma, on the plaza, is the northern-most of all the Californian missions. Not only that, but other historic structures abound, like the barracks, and look over there—a monument commemorating the Bear Flag Revolt which happened right on this spot!

First rule, and I should have known better, don't go down to the town square in Sonoma (or any place in the Wine Country, or any other popular destination in California) on a day when nearly everyone is off work, like weekends or holidays. It's crowded, and the road infrastructure doesn't support the volume. Second rule, don't ever think that your kids will even remotely share your interests in history. Don't think they will shiver in awe at the significance of some patch of grass or pasture, or look in wonder on what today, you have to admit, is just a ratty old shed that preservationists—through herculean efforts and much expense—managed to keep from falling down. When we got to the plaza, the two younger boys insisted on "waiting in the car" while we older trio took a stroll. Third rule, don't even try to force them to come with you, because their clinical lethargy, their superhuman disinterest, and their involuntary robo-chants of "can we go now" will detract from your own very real pleasure. No, just crack the windows and say "see you in a bit."

Oh how I enjoyed revisiting California's largest plaza.

Blue Wing Inn

Mission San Francisco Solano (Sonoma Mission)
Founded July 4, 1823

Operation Steal California from Mexico, Phase One

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