Magazine article Sunset

The Golden Hotel

Magazine article Sunset

The Golden Hotel

Article excerpt

WILLIAM KITTREDGE

sTo my mother's endless consternation, my father had an affinity for frivolous trips. To quiet her, he would take me along. Without plans having been made, we would stay out overnight.

When I was about 8, he took me to the Cedarville Rodeo in northeastern California, where we ran into Butch Powers, a Surprise Valley rancher who later became the state's lieutenant governor, a convivial man. After the rodeo was over, when we were supposed to be well on the road toward home, we ended up in a Basque cafe, the Golden Hotel, an old two-story frame building under the cottonwood trees on the main street of Cedarville. I recall bright faces in that room with its yellow-painted walls, families at table. They all laughed when my father said, sure, go ahead, drink some wine like the other kids.

Later, I woke up sick in the wood box beside the black ironwork stove in the kitchen. One of the cooks was washing the last of the dishes, soapsuds to her elbows. …

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