The Most Romantic City in the World!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lockhart Seeds, downtown Stockton
If you assume that I'm referring to the City of Love, Paris France, well please, perish the thought. Although the official motto of Rome, Italy is "you have never lived until you’ve loved in Rome," the motto-makers "missed the mark."

The most romatic spot in the world -- according to the wonderful wife that is Venus -- is just a hop, skip and a jump south on Interstate 5 or Highway 99 -- to Stockton, California. Yes -- Stockton is the most romantic city in the world because that's where I take the wife on the most romantic of dates: Seed shopping at Lockhart Seeds in downtown Stockton.

Honestly now -- think about it for a second. How can a business that features a GIANT heart lock as its logo not be the most romantic spot on earth? Since nobody has ever offered a valid explanation that would explain otherwise -- the wife's reasoning in this matter stands true.

This marked our third trip to the most romantic spot on Earth. I first learned about Lockhart Seeds from a Sacramento Bee article penned by garden writer Debbie Arrington about three years ago. At that time? Lockhart Seeds was the LAST store left in California dedicated to the sale of vegetable seeds of all shapes and sizes -- serving small growers and backyard gardeners alike (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has since opened another outlet dedicated to all things vegetable seed in Petaluma).

We have since visited every President's Day Holiday in the month of February -- because of one small quirk in the Lockhart Seeds service schedule: they're not open on weekends. They're not open at night. It's one of the few businesses left in business that operates on a strict Monday through Friday, 9-5 schedule.

Lockhart Seeds -- All Locked Up
But since we had last Monday off for the President's Day Holiday, that shouldn't be a problem, right? WRONG. Imagine our shock and chagrin when we wound up on the doorstep of Lockhart Seeds only to find the GIANT heart lock all locked up for the holiday.

What went wrong? This had never happened before. Lockhart Seeds? Take a holiday? Blasphemy! If you remember last year's post about Lockhart Seeds, then you know I had promised that the wife that is Venus that we would finally purchase those asparagas roots she had taken such an interest in.

A promise is a promise after all.

But the asparagas roots will have to wait for another day. The seed purchases will also have to wait, for who knows how long? It's not like we can just go galavanting off to the most Romantic Spot on Earth on any particular day and time. Like most people, we do work for a living.

I suppose it's safe to say that we're just a tad bit annoyed.

Fresh Tortillas! Fresh Tequila!
After finding our favorite store all locked up for the President's Day Holiday -- Venus and I could only think of one other option: visit the nearest Mexican restaurant closest to Lockhart Seeds and drown away our sorrows in fine tequila.

We did just that. We're quite good at that as a matter of fact. I'm pleased to report that at least our favorite restaurant was indeed open -- holiday or no holiday. The food was good. So were the margaritas (blended, with salt).

Despite the fine lunch I must admit that both the wife and I were a tad depressed as we drove back toward the location of Lockhart Seeds -- with every intention of jumping back on the Crosstown Freeway (Highway 4) -- for the trip back home to North Natomas.

But -- as we passed the storefront -- we saw another chagrined customer out in front of the store -- staring in disbelief as we did -- at the sign proclaiming "CLOSED FOR THE PRESIDENT'S DAY HOLIDAY." We pulled over to lend an encouraging word.

"We traveled all the way from Sacramento to visit and we're out of luck," the wife told the stranger. His response? "I'm from Sacramento too!" As we both shared a discouraging laugh -- our new friend shared some interesting and uplifting news. Not all was lost. Our trip to the most romantic city in the world would not be in vain after all.

Lockhart Seeds wasn't the only option for vegetable seeds in Stockton.

Port Stockton Nursery, Stockton
Intrigued, we followed our new friend out of the downtown area and down Main Street to a place called the Port Stockton Nursery. Was it like Lockhart Seeds in that it dealt with seeds and seeds only? Technically? No. It was -- in fact -- a nursery.

But -- unlike Lockhart Seeds -- it was open.

And it was there -- standing in the middle of a this nursery -- in the most Romantic City on Earth -- where Venus found her true love.

Venus with "Clarence the Lionhearted"
"Clarence the Lionhearted" announced his presence by rubbing up against the wife's legs. Clarence -- the wife would reveal -- was an exact copy of the cat she grew up with San Jose -- a cat named Tiggy Tom.

No -- we did not adopt another cat. We need another cat like we need another house payment. But after a month of heartbreak involving the death of her father and my father-in-law -- Clarence the Lionhearted brought a rare smile of joy to the wife's face.

Who could ask for more?

1 comment:

Susan said...

Clarence looks just like my Margot! Venus can come down to San Jose & visit her anytime she needs a little cat love. Margot's a lap cat for sure.
As for the Stockton thing, if my love took me to Stockton and called it romantic, I'd kick him in the shins. But that's just me.
At least you didn't try to take her out for a steak dinner.