In his comments, Mike mentioned the words “memory” and “tradition.” One of my fondest memories of David relates to our annual trip to the Holiday Bowl football game in San Diego, which, commencing in 1997 or so, eventually evolved into a ten year family tradition involving Mike, David, Grandpa Joe, Jeff, Joanna and me traveling from Palm Desert to San Diego in a rented van, Mike’s vehicle of choice, via a two-lane mountainous road exiting in Temecula. The scene in the van was always the same: Mike as driver, me riding shotgun, Grandpa Joe “holding court” in the seat behind Mike and me and David, or “D,” Jeff and Joanna occupying the rear seating area.
On Day #1, we would drive through the mountains to Temecula and then connect to the interstate and travel as far as La Jolla, where we would stop for lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the seals basking in the sun on the rocks below the restaurant. After lunch, we would continue on to San Diego, checking into a hotel located on the bay bordering Coronado Island. Later that day, or the next morning, we would schedule a side trip to the San Diego Zoo, or the Wild Animal Park, or a Harbor Cruise to view the naval ships stationed in the bay or, forgetably, a trip to Legoland. Some trips were repeated in subsequent years, although Legoland never achieved that status after the initial visit.
Day #2 would be principally focused on the football game, although none of us were die-hard fans of any of the teams which were participating. We frequently traveled to the game via a train which stopped near our hotel, so further time in the van and taxi cabs was thankfully avoided. After the game, which could end as late as 10:00 pm, we had dinner together. In 1997 and 1998, the scene of those dinners was an Italian restaurant situated near Qualcomm Stadium, which, due to the fact that Joanna barfed on the table, during the meal, on consecutive annual occasions, we had to abandon in favor of a restaurant named Rainwater’s, which, ironically, was owned by a couple from Peoria. Joanna’s mishaps, exacerbated by the fact that David and Jeff often engaged in “gas attacks” in the rear of the van en route to and from San Diego, while Joanna was wedged between them, precipitated Joanna’s withdrawal from the Holiday Bowl sojourn after 1998, and she was then able to peacefully enjoy her time with Susan, “GG” Ellen and Karen without further harassment from David and Jeff. All things considered, I thought that her boycott reflected her exercise of good judgment under the circumstances.
Day #3 essentially entailed the return trip, usually through the mountains, from San Diego to Palm Desert.
These trips were filled with fun moments and enabled Jeff, who was eleven, and David, who was fourteen, at their commencement to forge brotherly bonds which still survive today. And that, my friends, is my recollection of a cherished period of time which I shared with my nephew David.