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Archive for June 30th, 2009

Tour of the Ahwahnee and grounds

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

After a delicious breakfast in the Ahwahnee dining room, Mike and I went back to our cottage to take care of some business. We needed to do laundry. It has been almost a week since we left on our anniversary road trip, and we were in need of some clean clothes. When we reached our cottage, we noticed that the cleaning lady was already there busily cleaning our little abode. We told her we would only be there for a few minutes and then would be out of her way. Her name was Ann Marie, and she was from Jamaica. As we were preparing to leave, I heard her singing a tune that sounded very familiar. As I listened to her sing, I recognized the song. “You’re all I want, you’re all I’ve ever needed,” she sang. I went outside to where she was and began singing with her. “You’re all I want, help me know you are near.” These are some of the words to the song “Draw Me Close to You” by Michael W. Smith. Ann Marie turned to me and smiled. I told her that I loved that song and that we sing it sometimes at my church. A delightful conversation ensued. I was glad Ann Marie was our cleaning lady.
Mike and I drove over to the Housekeeping campgrounds near the river’s edge. We found the Laundromat and put our load in to wash. Then we headed down to the river to relax on the beach. We brought two folding chairs and our cameras, and for the next hour or so, we relaxed and took pictures. For the most part, we were the only ones there. From time to time, some rafters would sail by, and we would wave to them. By 12:20, our clothes were all washed and dried. That was the most enjoyable laundry mat experience we have ever had.
We drove back to the Ahwahnee and made it in time for their 1:00 PM tour of the hotel and grounds. There were about 17 of us who had signed up for this tour. Our tour guide was a friendly young lady named Megan. She first led us outside to view the hotel’s cornerstone. I had never noticed it before. It was inscribed with “A.D. 1926”. An elderly lady who was part of our group spoke up and said that she was born in 1923. Mike and I asked her to stand next to the cornerstone so we could take her picture. She was a spunky lady who was still quite spry for her age. This cornerstone reminded me of a greater cornerstone mentioned in the bible. Ephesians 2:20 says, “…Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” I’m grateful that one day over 30 years ago, I built my spiritual foundation on Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone. The tour lasted an hour, and we viewed the hotel grounds, the solarium, the great hall, the mezzanine, the dining room and the elevator hall.
We spent the next few hours relaxing in our room. I caught up on some of my writing, viewed some of my pictures and did a little reading. Mike took a snooze, did some reading and went back to the hotel to check out the gift shop. At about 4:50, we went to the great hall to have tea and cookies. Every day from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM, the Ahwahnee serves tea and cookies to their guests. When we arrived there, Christor was playing the piano. We first met Christor two years ago at the Ahwahnee. He had played “We’ve Only Just Begun” for us. This was the song that was sung at our wedding. It was good to see him again. Mike asked him if he would be there tomorrow as it was our 30th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, Christor is off on Tuesdays, so he would not be available. As we were getting ready to leave the hotel and go to dinner at another location in the valley, we ran into the O’Keefes at the Ahwahnee. Brother and Sister O’Keefe were missionaries to Sierra Leone in West Africa for about 25 years. They currently pastor a church in Pittsburg, CA and are friends of my sister and brother-in-law. They were staying for a few days over at the Yosemite Lodge and had just stopped by the hotel to relax and take in the sights. We enjoyed visiting with them. They are good, kind God-loving people.
We drove to the Curry Village dining pavilion for dinner. There was a long line, and we had to wait about 15 minutes before we could be seated for dinner. It was a rather enjoyable 15 minutes though. The reason for this was because there was a man and his son in line ahead of us. The man, we found out, was 94 years old. He did not look his age. His name was Michael O’Gorman. Michael is Irish, in case you hadn’t figured that out. He was studying to be a priest when World War II broke out. Instead, he joined the Air Force (U.S. Air Corps at that time). He was an animated man, and it was enjoyable talking with him. I think that part of what makes a vacation enjoyable are the people you meet and the moments you share. Today seemed to be one of those days.
After dinner, as we were headed back to our car, we noticed a bride and groom walking through the parking lot. We drove up to them and asked them if they just were married today. Kinda obvious, huh? They were all smiles and said that they had been married this day on top of Half Dome! The bride appeared to be Asian and was wearing a knee length dress that was rather modest compared to most dresses I’ve seen. She was wearing flip flops and was carrying her white pumps. We congratulated them and told them that tomorrow would be our 30th wedding anniversary. They congratulated us, and we then drove back to our hotel. As we were walking up to the hotel, we again saw this same couple. I asked them if they hiked up to Half Dome for the wedding. The bride turned to me with a big smile and said that they had hiked up to Half Dome at 5:30 in the morning. The justice of the peace also had hiked with them. We were amazed. Mike and Jeremy have done the Half Dome hike before, and it is no easy hike. It is eight miles one way to the top with many switchbacks. People have died on this hike. I’m glad they made it up and back with no incidents.

She's older than the Ahwahnee Cornerstone!

She's older than the Ahwahnee Cornerstone!

Ahwahnee Dining Room

Ahwahnee Dining Room

O'Keefes

The O'Keefes

kare relaxing by river

What a way to do laundry!

relaxing by the river

Mike relaxing by the river

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