Our Favorite Things #15 – Favorite Trip (1)

Read other favorites in Andi’s Attic >>

April 1890

Spring is in the air. There’s hardly time to take a breath and sleep before Riley shakes me with, “Come see the newest foal,” or “That bull calf is a keeper.” So, on Sunday we took a well-deserved rest at the Circle C. As we often do, Melinda and I like to remember our “favorites.”

“So, what is the favorite trip you ever took?” Melinda asked me. Her eyes were sparkling. I knew she wanted to share (yet again) about her favorite trip. Like . . . I haven’t heard it a million times before? Oh, well. I played along because it felt so good to sit on the patio while the twins slept and Jared was off playing with his cousins.

I sighed. “Melinda, you know I’ve never been farther than the city or”–I wrinkled my forehead”–Tacoma in Washington Territory.” I was warming up to this idea. “I reckon I’d have to say that my trip to visit Jenny was my favorite.”

“Except for the dunking you took.” Melinda shuddered.

“All part of the adventure,” I reminded her.

“I didn’t mean an adventure trip,” Melinda explained. “I meant a fancy trip with the family.”

I opened my mouth to tell her about my quinceañera when I went with the boys on a—

“And that ol’ cattle drive does not count as a fancy trip. I meant like . . . for a birthday or something.”

Huh. She was quickly narrowing down my choices. “All right, all right,” I conceded. “I guess my sixteenth-birthday trip to San Francisco might count as one of my most memorable trips, if not my favorite.”

15. My Favorite Most Memorable Trip

Once I forgave my brothers for having to put Taffy down, Riley and I stepped into a surprise birthday party (late but still very fun). But the celebration wasn’t over. I guess my family was so relieved that I had not only survived my horrible accident (at Daniel’s hands) but had resolved my problems with losing Taffy. Riley (and Shasta) had a hand in that.

So, imagine my surprise when Justin told me to pack a bag. We were off to San Francisco. At first, I groaned (quietly) but resolved to try to have a good time in the City by the Bay. The very thought of having to accompany Justin to the city and stay with Aunt Rebecca (even though I could see Levi and the girls and Kate) did not sit well with me.

But the trip to San Francisco was the surprise of my life! Justin did not take me to Aunt Rebecca’s. In fact, he swore me to secrecy that Auntie should never know that we were in town (without stopping by). She would have been mortified, sad, and hurt all rolled together into one. Shh, I agreed with a giggle.

The train ride was in the first-class compartment called a Pullman car. And boy howdy, was it ever fancy! Not your usual seats that either all face forward or face each other. No, sirree! Look at those fancy, comfy individual seats. Curtains on the windows and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Justin took me to the Pullman dining car for luncheon. It took a bit of steady walking (the train swayed a lot), but it was worth it. The dining car was fancier than the best restaurant in Fresno. By the time we’d enjoyed the four- or five-course meal, we were practically in Oakland! Then a quick ferry hop and we landed in the city.

Pullman Coach
Pullman Dining Car

Justin treated me like a princess. And it was pretty clear that he knew his way around not only the fancy train cars but also San Francisco. We stayed at the Palace Hotel (the same hotel where Justin and Lucy had their wedding reception a few years ago), but this time it wasn’t about the happy couple. It was about me. Justin let me do whatever I wanted. I mostly wanted to ride the elevator. He laughed and said sure.

We happened to be staying at the Palace when the president of the United States, Grover Cleveland, visited San Francisco the same weekend. It was mighty thrilling to lean over the balcony on our hotel floor and watch his carriage drive right into the center of the hotel!

But the adventure wasn’t over yet. Justin took me to a fancy shop Saturday morning and left me with a dressmaker. She had a dress all ready for me (that sneaky Justin). Blue to match my eyes and not too frilly. So, why did I need a dress? “For the theater tonight,” Justin replied.

The theater? Like a stage play? Yes, indeed, plus an early supper at a Chinese restaurant. (Okay, with Justin by my side, I was fine with venturing into Chinatown. I didn’t even get the shivers.)

But I surely got the shivers when we sat down in the Grand Opera Theater on Mission Street. My eyes nearly popped right out. I knew I was way over my head sitting here with all the rich and famous of the west coast. “Do you suppose President Cleveland is here tonight?” I whispered to Justin. He didn’t know.

The play that night was called “The Passion.” Oh! A play about Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection. I looked forward to that. That play was something I never forgot—in more ways than one.

The performance was quite moving, reducing the entire audience to silence and reverence. The actor who played Jesus did a fine job. His name was James O’Neil. Well, just as the play was over (and I was pondering about what Christ did for me on the cross) a big confusion broke out. Apparently, Officer Bradford of the San Francisco Police Department was in the audience. He’d watched the performance and then arrested Mr. O’Neil! The police officer determined that the actor had violated a city ordinance. “It is against the law to impersonate Jesus Christ.” (Note: true story >>)

Oh, dear! I did not know that. The officer led Mr. O’Neil (here is his likeness) away to the waiting police wagon. Justin later told me that we were pretty lucky (or blessed) to be able to see the moving drama, as the performances will no doubt now be delayed, what with the actor being arrested and all sorts of legal wrangling going on. Justin should know. He is a lawyer and knows all the ins and outs of the legal profession, especially in San Francisco.

The next morning, Sunday, we boarded the train back to Fresno. Yes indeed, my sixteenth birthday trip is one of my most memorable trips!

Note from Mrs. M. This post grew into a long retelling, so Melinda’s favorite trip will be highlighted in the next Our Favorite Things post (Wednesday). Go here >>

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

15 thoughts on “Our Favorite Things #15 – Favorite Trip (1)

  1. Super fun! I love Our Favorite Things! I can’t wait for Melinda’s!
    I love how you use true events and change them to make it fit your story! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mrs. Marlow, on my fan fiction story (one of the ones that isn’t readable yet) called, Aunt Rebecca the brave, it accidentally says Andi Rebecca the brave. Just thought you ought to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Mrs. M! Just a few questions if you have time.
    1. How many stallions does Chad use to breed his mares? How many brood mares does
    he have?
    2. Does Chad breed other horses besides Quarter Horses? Is so, what breed(s) are they?
    3. What breed is Whirlwind? How old is he? Do you have specifics, or can I make it up?
    4. What time of year does Chad breed his stallion(s) to his mares?
    5. What other ranches are near the Circle C, and who owns them?


    1. Wow, Trinity. Very detailed questions you have. I have to admit that I have no idea of the answers to any of your questions, and it would take me far too long to research and decide. I have never had to dig that far into the Circle C canon to need to know those things.

      The Bent Pine and the Triple L are the two closest ranches. I can’t remember who owns them. I mention it in the Andi Lassos Trouble Stepping Stones books, so that would be the best place to find the answer to number 5.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help!

      You have total freedom to make up anything you want to answer any of the questions you asked, especially if it’s for a story.


      1. That’s totally fine! I don’t know much about 1800s ranching besides win the Andi books, so I wasn’t sure how many stallions Chad had, etc. Thanks for your time!

        Liked by 1 person

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