Moments in Mendo

The guy moved from patron to patron offering massages. The ones that accepted were pummeled to the beat of the music emanating from the live bands onstage. In other taverns, a sense of alarm might have accompanied this observation, but here at the Caspar Inn, a certain amount of outside the norm is merely shrugged at. Stranger things have no doubt happened in this old roadhouse than some Mendo dude with a penchant for body working willing strangers to a groove.

Likewise, the ghost moment I had upstairs didn’t faze me. So the door opened itself a few minutes after I’d closed it and turned to unpack. Any spirits floating about were likely as fond of whiskey and live music as I am — otherwise, why haunt the Caspar? (Cue Concrete Blonde’s “Ghost of A Texas Ladies’ Man.”) The evening turned into night and then early morning as we alternated between sleep and being in bed and marveling at the stamina of the musicians singing, playing and partying in the room next door. I took a Tylenol PM and slept past dawn.

Bobby and I had traveled down to the Mendocino coast to see Lila Nelson and her new band The Job. The trip also provided an opportunity to gather visuals the following day for a work-related video — not a bad gig, strolling along Seaside Beach and Point Cabrillo under sunny skies, capturing beauty on the Flip cam. After a thorough tour of the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse and a long look at the cove where The Frolic wrecked in 1850, we heeded the advice of local friends and cruised down to Little River Inn for dinner at the bar. Sit at the bar, they advised, because that’s where you get the best view. Waves crashed into rocks, rolled into the cove where the eponymous little river meets the ocean. Over mojitos, fish tacos (Bobby) and a Cajun fish sandwich (me), we watched the sun drop into the sea. The folks to the right of us had just spend the weekend hunting mushrooms to find their car had a flat tire, forcing them to stay one more day at the inn. Seemed like a happy problem. Contentment filled the room.

(As I type this, I confess, some guilt twinges through me for having when others have not.)

Then back to Mendocino for some snacks — I thought we might get hungry late, and by “we,” I mean particularly Bobby, as the man has a metabolism that could power a small village. Rye crackers, hummus, smoked gouda, apples and an oatmeal stout promised some fine evening nosh.

On the way to the place we’d reserved through AirBnB.com, we saw a sweet old black-and-gray dog wandering down the road. A car traveling the opposite way nearly hit him, causing us such consternation that we stopped, cajoled him over to us and spent the next 15 minutes finding cell coverage so we could call his owner. Fortunately Jake and his person were reunited with no harm done. (I would want someone to do the same for Sandy if her senile brain caused her to trot off down the road.)

We drove into the forest, down a gravel road, past a gated driveway and into the clearing per emailed directions. When I explained AirBnB to Bobby earlier, he expressed some doubt. “You mean we’re driving into the woods to stay with a stranger you met on the internet?” It’s not as weird as it sounds, I reassured him. And the house is beautiful, the owner sweet, and by the time we found ourselves soaking in a hot tub under a waxing gibbous moon, surrounding stars aglow and redwood shadows circled round, his attitude had transformed into far more accepting.

When the world offers you peace, best to take it.

 

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