Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Introducing Sophia

Me with my great-niece, Sophia Mei Tobler
It was my incredible pleasure to meet the newest member of my family in northern California over Labor Day weekend. But first I flew into Oakland airport from my home in Baltimore, Maryland on a glorious Friday afternoon to meet my sister, Leslie, whereupon, after a quick stop at the supermarket for provisions, we proceeded to Leslie's delightful Arts & Crafts style home in the Oakland hills to pack up her car for a road-trip northward. Our plan was to spend a couple of relaxing days together on the scenic Russian River.  

Sophia with her parents

My sister, Leslie, with Sophia
Right on cue as we finished loading ice chest, folding chairs, suitcase and swimwear into Leslie’s Honda, my nephew, Mike, and his darling wife, Tomo, pulled up to the house with their adorable baby girl in tow, Sophia Mei, who was born in May, the newest addition to my branch of the Tobler family in 26 years. As I held my great-niece for the very first time, I was reminded how fleeting infancy can be. At only three months old, little Sophia is already smiling broadly, holding her head up without assistance and quite obviously beginning to relish the world around her, as evidenced by her enchantment with brightly colored objects held up for her amusement.  I was entranced.
The view from our cottage in the redwoods
Following our visit with Sophia, my sister and I embarked upon our adventure some eighty easy miles north to the charming town of Guerneville, California, where we had reserved a rustic cottage for the weekend at the venerable Creekside Inn Bed & Breakfast (www.creeksideinn.com). Perched as it was on stilts amid the towering redwoods, our cabin felt more like a tree-house than an earth-bound shelter. It was small, but just the right size for the two of us. Following a satisfying dinner of cocoa-encrusted rack of lamb (for Leslie) and a beef tenderloin with Bordelaise sauce (for me) at the elegant Applewood Inn (http://applewoodinn.com) just minutes down the road, we returned to our lofty nest and tucked in for the night.
Leslie and I at the Oborne cabin in Guerneville, California
Leslie and I spent our daytime hours on Saturday and Sunday at a much larger cabin just a mile upriver, participating in an annual reunion of beloved family members to whom we are related through our brother’s previous marriage. While the marital lineage is complicated, the warmth with which my sister and I were welcomed by the Oborne family belied any complexity at all. Although I hadn't seen some of these relations in over twenty years, it was as if no time had ever passed between us. 

Leslie has been attending Oborne Labor Day gatherings at the Russian River for several years, but this was the first time for me. I enjoyed the easy interaction among family members who were so very comfortable with one another, and relished time spent with my brilliant niece, Diana, who recently started medical school in Oregon but attended the Labor Day gathering anyway, so strong is the Oborne family pull.  
Floating on the Russian River
The group, which varied from day to day, spent time fishing in the broad, cool river, floating the hours away on inflatable rafts, and engaging in lively discourse about health care and economics, the two subjects on which Toblers and Obornes have based the majority of their careers.  The weather was marvelous all weekend.  Sunny days were scented with the heady aroma of redwood and madrone.  Evenings brought cool breezes on which the heavenly fragrance of campfires wafted from the river's edge. 

Mist rising in the early morning

Visiting with Oborne family members on their deck overlooking the river

The weekend passed swiftly, and too soon it was time to bid everyone adieu and point Leslie’s trusty automobile back toward the San Francisco Bay Area.  Leslie and I spent our last evening together reading quietly in her cozy living room in Oakland, the comfort of family, and our sisterhood, enveloping us like a warm blanket.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lynell,

    John & I had a wonderful time visiting with you and Leslie this year at the Russian River rental. Many memories have been enjoyed on the river. Your contribution & presentation of the hors d'oeuvres was absolutely fantastic!

    Love, Sarah & John Oborne