It’s the first Friday of July in Lakeport. My husband David and I settle in at a table on the balcony of Juicy’s Pizza. A giant redwood stretches its large arms over us, dropping a cone on the railing and providing some much-needed shade. Fellow patrons sit nearest the roofline, escaping the last rays of the summer sun reaching one last time over Clear Lake and Library Park before settling down for the evening.
Travis welcomes us and tries to adjust the umbrella over our table to catch the bits of sunshine that escape the tree’s branches.
“It’s no use,” he says. “I guess that’s the best it’s going to be for you.” His large, dark stature and inviting personality make us feel right at home. “You’re in luck. It looks like you’re getting the very last of our dough for the day. We’re sold out!” His round eyes enlarge in awe. I look around at the other eager patrons sipping on their beverages, patiently waiting for their food.
I smile. “It looks like we made it just in time.”
Travis pulls out a notebook and pen to take our order. “What kind of pizza would you like?”
“Surprise us,” replies David with a grin on his face. “Have Amy cook us whatever she wants.”
I nod in agreement as Travis double-checks his hearing. With a puzzled look on his face he says, “I guess I’ll just put a question mark down for Amy.” He glances up for a third confirmation. David and I smile reassuringly. When it comes to Juicy’s Pizza and chef Amy Hinson, we know we are going to be in good hands.
The hum of boats on the lake fills the background as growing shadows dance further and further out into the rippling water. Live music swells from the gazebo in Library Park. Children play in the playground, and the sounds of their laughter mix with the rhythm of the band. This moment in time is one of my favorite reasons for living in Lake County. I take my first sip of Chardonnay.
The sun finally rests behind the roofline of Juicy’s Pizza and the roar of unmuffled racecar engines drifts our way from Lakeport Speedway. We consider our choices for the rest of the evening. We could leave the concert in the Park, catch the races and still make it to the drive-in. We decide to box up our pizzas and put off our decision for a while.
“Thank you so much for everything, Amy!” We find her just behind the counter. She chuckles, showing us her large smile and cheeks glowing from the end of a long day in the kitchen. “It was so good! We knew it would be,” I continue. Her partner Marinda Scott sits at a side table and eagerly sets aside some papers to join in the conversation.
“I know you use sourdough,” David begins. “So it must be difficult to know how much to make in advance.”
“It is!” Amy affirms, wiping her warm face with her hand. Just behind her, a bubbling five-gallon bucket of sourdough starter percolates on the counter. “We doubled our normal batch and still ran out,” she explains. “But if you make a reservation, we’ll be sure to save you some.”
“Not only that, but we never know for sure what’s going to sell. We had so many sandwich orders today, I couldn’t believe it,” Marinda continues.
“Well, we sure are glad we made it in before it was gone!” David laughs. We chatter for a few more moments before heading out, leaving David and I to commit to our final plans for the evening.
The band has just begun their final set, and we simply can’t resist the chance to be a part of the concert. The cool grass tickles our toes as we sway to the music and join in the dancing. It’s the beauty of live outdoor music; everyone becomes young again.
All too quickly the set finishes, and we make our way, just in time, to the Lakeport Drive-In. Having packed a few blankets and an air mattress, we convert our suburban to a small living room, the large screen centered in front of us.
The evening slowly closes in as the pink hues turn blue, finally easing to black just as Spiderman takes the screen. David and I nibble on popcorn, because no matter how full you are, you can’t see a movie without it. We know we have the next few hours to decide if we are going to stay awake for both movies or not.
I lean into David, settling down for the evening–another great ending to a Friday summer night in Lakeport.