As usual, my fat fingers and Southern heritage messed me up at least once. Wonderful man, Hays Mershon, pointed that out in response to my posting this with this comment, which has to be repeated: “I believe it’s Forest Hill, not Forrest–to my knowledge, Nathan Bedford never carried his abundance of laundry to the City by the Bay. 😉 We mostly see the “double r” south of the Mason-Dixon.” Thanks, Hays.
In San Francisco, way up on a hill, there is a home that feels like home with hospitality as smooth and Southern as George Dickel’s Barrel Select.
In fact, it’s a lot like home, my home back in Lebanon, Tennessee, 127 Castle Heights Avenue. Oh, this home is quite a bit larger in that being on a San Francisco hill it has two cavernous stories of a basement with a garage. But the living space is similar. There are two bedrooms upstairs with a full bath and a landing area. There is the master bedroom and bath, nice kitchen, a breakfast room, a den, a living room, dining room, and a half bathroom.
i claimed the half-bath. There is a reason. In that home back in Tennessee, my father had a half bath. It was a man’s bathroom. It was practical, no frills. It was just inside the backdoor. An electric razor on a three-tier shelf he had hung by the mirror. The one on the hill in San Francisco is more elegant featuring a wood cabinet and much to my liking a wonderful Japanese wood print reminding me of one i bought in Kyoto about a million years ago. Back in our Southwest corner home, i also have a half bath. It too is more fashionable. Of course it is because i have a wife like Maren with impeccable tastes. I have to clean up in both of these. My father did not have to clean up his because no one else used it. But, being him, he did.
What i’m trying to get across is this place in the Forest Hills section of the City by the Bay gives me the feeling of home. But it is not just the house. It is the people who live there.
Alan Hicks and i go back quite aways: Vanderbilt, fraternity brother, NROTC classmate, a shared love of the sea and the ships that sail those seas. We are also avid followers of Vanderbilt athletics, especially baseball nowadays, going to Vanderbilt’s trip west in the early season each year. Been going to that series for over ten years, dragging other Vandy friends like Cy Fraser, Alan’s brother Jim, and Bill Oliver.
Maren is also a Vanderbilt graduate. She is the leader of that Southern hospitality. Her home is comfortable and artistic. Her meals are incredible. Her caring is beyond the pale.
Alan and Maren have become close friends for both Maureen and me. We also visit their other wonderful home in Sonoma.
Alan, Jr. is one of the most well-read people i have ever met. It is a joy to talk to him. i learn something every time we talk. He is also a nice young man.
What i mean is this wonderful home up on the hill in San Francisco is a lot like the home where i grew up. The house reminds me of that Tennessee home, but it is the people who make it really feel like home.
And i left out one:
Eleanor is the daughter. I could discuss Eleanor’s attributes for about a year and not stop. She is smart, caring, attentive, wonderful partner to discuss anything. i consider her my other, third daughter. She is part of Alan’s and my team (and sometimes Cy Fraser) to stake out our territory at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the three day mad house of 300,000-plus people in Golden Gate Park, the reason for our visit this past weekend. The early settlers at HSB dine on breakfast burritos and coffee and read and talk while waiting for the rest of our troupe to arrive and the performances to begin. Eleanor also likes folks who save extra paper napkins, like me.
So thank you beautiful people for your beautiful home, your beautiful family, your beautiful hospitality, and our beautiful friendship.
Since Eleanor was the photographer, not the photographed, this year, i decided she should represent the family here.
Thank you, Alan, Maren, Eleanor, and Alan, Jr. See you next year and hopefully before.