Our annual San Francisco trip in December for the California Press Foundation winter meeting proved eventful for more than just receiving an award this year.

We left home with my son, his wife and two children in their car at 4:30 a.m. Thursday to catch a train in Bakersfield. Mandy drove a tired bunch who suffered from sleep depravation brought on by an earlier lightning and thunderstorm — a blessed event for anyone indoors. However, driving a car through a pelting rainstorm down a mountain highway is a white-knuckle experience.

While the kids slept through it, Mandy suffered with three back-seat drivers slamming her with advice while she plowed through flooded areas, swerved to avoid rock debris and tried her best to ignore us. Somehow, through thick fog and coming upon a frighteningly huge boulder in the other lane, she got our family safely off the Hill and to the train station on time.

On an unusually sunny Saturday afternoon following Friday’s awards ceremony, we had dealt with the annual San Francisco Macy’s sale and decided to head to Golden Gate Park. Standing on the west side of Market Street, studying our smart phones to determine the best bus to take, we were passed by a group of men, one of whom yelled out, “You’re a nice-looking family. Ready for the race wars?”
And shortly afterward, we heard a bullhorn, turned north and saw a large group of protestors about two blocks away. Being a journalist, I wanted to stay and observe but a small grandson’s hand clung to mine and I had the urge to haul out of the area ASAP. As we crossed back over Market Street, we noticed SFPD all around us. That happened fast. We canceled our park plans and stayed safe.

Becky Clark, Editor