Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Meetin' and eatin'

The Santa Ana sun shone in the hotel room early. Mrs. Hall gave her brother Leo Pranitis, Jr., prominent businessman and charming host, a call and the next thing they knew, the Halls were at his doorstep. (Editor's note: The kidding and reacquainting got out of hand rather quickly- so quickly in fact, that the editorial staff was unable to snap any shots. You can watch Leo as he looks today in this fascinating interview from Dentistry Today.

The coffee and the conversation flowed free and fast- Mr. Hall could barely keep up- but since Lee had so little time that morning, they unfortunately had to keep it short. "You're going right past where Sydney works- you should stop in and see her too!" he said, as he waved good bye. They swung by the shopping plaza where Sydney Pranitis, his daughter, worked. It had been years since the Halls had seen her, and Mrs. Hall was afraid that time had perhaps dimmed her memory, but Sydney could not be fooled; she spotted her immediately. A few quick hugs, a chat and some more goodbyes (Sydney was, after all, technically still at work!) and the Halls hit the road.
Escondido was the home of Mr. Hall's adopted family, the Pierces, and Elaine, her son, Eric, and his daughter Tabitha, met them with open arms. They had just enough time to wash up, check the oil and straighten their hats, when the whole clan headed over to his sister Eileen and her husband Matt Harbin's home. It had been nearly five years since they had been together, and it wasn't long after they had arrived, that Mrs. Hall recalled nicknaming them the "Harbin Hurricanes". "What an astonishing family this is!" remarked Mrs. H. as the children dashed about to their various sports. The Harbins were kind enough to offer to put the Halls up for a few days for some well needed rest, and they didn't need to offer twice. The bedroom where they bunked was filled to the brim with awards, trophies and certificates for their daughter Kristen; just one of the resident "hurricanes". The entire family seemed to be forces of nature, and each one more interesting than the next.
Nothing makes meat taste better than an open fire, and at night Grillmaster Matt fired up the charpit and dished up some king sized cuts. "After eating on the road for so long, nothing beats homecookin', sighed Mr. Hall, between mouthfuls. Even though she was stuffed clean up to the gills, Mrs. Hall still managed to embarrass herself amongst the youngsters on the tennis court after dinner.
Before they left, Elaine and the Halls drove up to Rosecrans National Cemetery, where her husband and Mr. Hall's adoptive father Robert Pierce is inurned, to pay their respects. Rosecrans Cemetery overlooks the bay, the Naval base and the stunning Coronado Bridge, and a more peaceful and well-tended resting place could not be found.
The Halls would have loved to stay and play some more, but the working part of their vacation was looming head and now they had to go. Several rounds of hugs, kisses and blessings went around, and then went around again, and finally, tearing themselves away, they hit the road. Next episode; Palm Springs eternal. Stay tuned!

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