Apologizing for the federal government during vacation

Mt. Shasta

Sometimes you have to take a break from everything, which is exactly what I did on vacation in Mt. Shasta City. It was heavenly. No computer, no traffic, no obligations. Just pure mountain air, fresh spring water and breathtaking scenery. During the trip, I had the chance to meet several wonderful people including a family from Japan. They had come all the way to California to visit Sequoia National Park and ended up visiting Mt. Shasta instead because the park was closed thanks to the government shutdown.

It turned out that they were from Narita, a town about one-hour east of Tokyo. The parents didn’t speak English, so me, my husband and another lady from Santa Cruz had to rely on their daughter to translate. As the conversation progressed, we found out that the parents raised trees and her father had always wanted to see the giant sequoias. Obviously, the Americans were truly embarrassed about the behavior of their government and we all apologized profusely. I thought: Now this person who has dedicated his life to raising trees won’t get to fulfill his dream of seeing the world’s largest trees, how horrible!

Then we found out that their family had been raising trees for seven generations, about 200 years! We, the Americans, were completely mortified. Thankfully, the lady from Santa Cruz jumped in and started rerouting them to the redwoods because she was sure they could see these grand trees at a state park that would still be open. Then we found out they had flown into Fresno and taking a detour to San Francisco might not work at this point in their trip. “You flew into Fresno?” That’s when we all knew, they really wanted to see those trees.

The Thursday morning we left Mt. Shasta we heard on the radio that the government shutdown had ended. Hooray, now they’ll be able to see the trees! And I felt slightly less embarrassed, but only slightly.

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