The Perfect Vacation

Denise and I vacationed in San Francisco last weekend and it was tons of fun. You can view the paltry few photos we took here. Our original plan was to hit thrift stores all the way down from Nevada City, but that proved disappointing (to put it mildly) and opened us up to an unexpected variety of “divine appointments,” good food and miles upon miles of walking, up and down hills.

Where do I start? Well, we stopped for coffee in El Sobrante and met a wonderful bunch of guys who were out on assignment from a prophecy workshop at a local church, “Hearing From God.” Our conversation started when we overheard one of the men talking about how he had moved to Alleghany, a town smaller than Camptonville and further up in the mountains! We chatted, prayed, prophesied, laughed and carried on for about an hour and a half!

Then, it was off for a quick trip to IKEA and dinner at Tommaso’s. We walked all over Nob Hill, Chinatown and North Beach, had some fantastic pastries and even got some bargain used books at Black Oak Books (under the watchful posters of our neighbor, Gary Snyder, everywhere).

On Sunday morning, we had a continental breakfast on Union Square and headed off to Chinatown for some bulk tea and lunch. At 9:30 we found the First Chinese Baptist Church on Waverly Place and the believers there were friendly. It was a great assembly and the pastor, a Chinese brother from Boston, was preaching about being “less Chinese, not so Asian-American” and more welcoming. He said, “Many of you will be going out to lunch after the service… take a visitor with you!” Denise and I perked up, started nudging each other in our pew, thinking, “Cool! We’re going to be dining in style today and spend time with the family of God around some chow fun or something.” Well, we didn’t get an invitation, but one guy told us he’d been there for 30 years and would point us to the best dim sum in town! We went to Sam Wo’s and it was great.

We spent the rest of the day kickin’ around town and visited with my cousin Brian for a few hours. It was great to catch up and check out his impressive collection of sports memorabilia. That night, before turning in, Denise had a craving so we had a full turkey dinner at this Irish pub/hof brau just down from Union Square. The guy at the piano bar sounded exactly like the Bill Murray character on Saturday Night Live… it was incredible and there were people actually sitting around the piano, groovin’.

Monday came and we had to return home, but there was one more Holy Spirit meeting lined up. We stopped in West Sacramento, because we heard there was a new Goodwill Thrift Store on Harbor Blvd. I headed straight to the books and was browsing, when four (yep, count em’ four) Mormon missionaries showed up, browsing the fiction. I wanted to engage them, so I picked up one of two Book of Mormons there (you will always find them lined up at thrift stores, next to countless Jehovah’s Witness “truth” books and myriad Ellen G. White throwaways). I put my nose in the BOM, pointed the cover in their direction, hoping that, like Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26 ff), one of them would ask, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Well, that didn’t get their attention. So, I reached down and grabbed a different Book of Mormon, the one with the 5 inch picture of Moroni blowing the trumpet on the front, and aimed it at the “ministers of the restored gospel.” Still no interest in me or my BOM. After about ten minutes of this “passive evangelism,” I did something I rarely do with Mormon missionaries… I said something provocative and pointed. I walked up and said, “So, you guys are into fiction.” They replied in the affirmative and I held out the BOM and said, “well, have you read this one yet?” They actually laughed and could tell I was being good natured… non-threatening. We talked for a bit, but it became clear… it was Monday, their P-Day or day off and they were not interested in talking about the BOM, Joseph Smith, the LDS church or anybody’s Jesus. I gave them my card and we parted.

Then, it was off to Richard L. Press fine books, lunch with Camille and home. Wow, what a great time!


  1. Levi said:

    Sounds link you guys had a great time. Aside from the food, I hate Chinatown with a passion. It makes me feel like I can’t escape from bright colors, strange music and crowds of people. I’m much more into open areas.

    “So, you guys are into fiction?” Outch.

    February 27, 2006

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