Not-George

We had a great little family road trip last week. We skipped church in order to drop Zora off for her first full week of overnight church camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I figure church skipping is defensible if it’s in the service of getting your kid to go to church camp.

Who is this man and what did he do with my husband? @erikvorhes just decided to get a membership at this vineyard.

A photo posted by Erica Schemper (@eschemper) on Jul 3, 2016 at 2:16pm PDT

The day included: visiting a couple of wineries, one of which Erik decided he loved and wanted to get a year long “membership” (in other words, we’re buying several bottles of their wine every quarter…come visit us: we’ll have great wine!). This was out of character for Erik, but I think it happened because he was smitten with their school-themed marketing and with the fact that the wine maker, who looked like just your average guy wearing 4th of July shorts on the holiday weekend, walked past our kids, who were rather sweetly sharing an iPad, and complimented Erik on how wonderful they were. The key to Erik’s heart is clearly to compliment his children, in case you were wondering. Then off to drop Zora off at camp. When did my little peanut become old enough to confidently spend a week away from home? That’s another blog post!

Waiting while Zora gets checked in. A photo posted by Erik Vorhes (@erikvorhes) on Jul 3, 2016 at 3:24pm PDT

An hour at a park, and burgers for dinner. Then home by way of a windy trip through the mountains, with breathtaking views of the marine layer rolling in from the Pacific.

But the highlight of the trip? Our encounter with probably-not-George R.R. Martin (author of the Game of Thrones series) outside of a coffee shop in a little touristy mountain town.

Here’s how it went down. We were stopping at a coffee shop for their (deservedly) famous chai. Three doors down there’s a ukulele shop that I’ve tried, thrice before, to visit. But my visit has always been foiled by odd hours or some minor calamity with my kids (including, one time, an ER visit). Erik was working to get Hazel out of her carseat and Abram had already bounded out of the car. He’s a wiry ball of five year old energy at this point, after an hour spent getting Zora through registration lines at camp.

“I’m just going to take Abram down to the ukulele store and see if it’s open today.”

“Great,” says Erik.

“Abram, there will be breakable things. How do you look while we’re in the store?”

“With my eyes not with my hands,” he says, while leaping up an unusually high curb. “You know, I still need a new ukulele. My red one is gone. Maybe they have one just like it. But only a red one like the one I had before.”

A guy at the table outside the coffee place is watching this, and starts chuckling, “Ukulele got lost, huh?” (I’m thinking this guy looks familiar but I’m not sure why.)

“Well,” I say, “it was more of a Jimi Hendrix kind of moment on his part and then the thing may have disappeared when his room got organized…”

“How old is he? Six? I have a four year old nephew. They’re something at this age.”

And then I run to catch up with Abram, we get to store, and I realize that I’d be best off drinking my chai in a hurry and returning without Mr. Destructo.

While we’re sitting in the coffee shop, Erik says, “What were you and Abram talking about with George R,R. Martin out there?” We start googling images because he does look shockingly similar. Maybe he’s visiting Santa Cruz. Who knows? I’d go there on vacation!

Erik is sure it’s not him. His hat is not quite right. The hat is apparently always the same. He’s probably right.

We finish our drinks. We wipe ice cream off the kids. We head out to the car. I discover the ukulele shop closed 10 minutes ago. Foiled again.

Erik is trying to load kids into the car. Abram is taking flying leaps off of that unusually high curb and asking questions, “Mom: why is this curb so high? Do you know what? I think it’s here for the cars to not get onto the sidewalk. How do you make a pipe? And how do you put it under the ground? What would happen if there were an earthquake? Or what if someone jumped on the pipe?”

Not-George is barely containing his laughter. “Oh, it’s really not about the answers with this one, is it? It’s all about the questions!”

I’m helping Abram with a seatbelt. Erik, across the car strapping Hazel into her seat, catches my eye. “That’s exactly the kind of thing I imagine George R.R. Martin would say,” he loud-whispers across the car.

Not-George, still quietly guffawing at Abram, shouts to him, “Hey! Who do you think I am?”

I’m not sure if I hope Abram hears him or not, if I sort of hope Abram and has put together what Erik and I have been talking about, and would yell back, “George R. R. Martin!” He doesn’t yell.

We get in the car. Erik and I agree he isn’t George R. R. Martin. He’s probably a sweet guy who works as a nice upscale mall Santa in the winter.

“Although,” says Erik, “I think you quit reading the books before you got to the point where you’d understand the significance of this: the name of the coffee shop?”

The White Raven.

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