In a sense the only reason I am here now is because of a rainbow.
Some years ago, not all that long after we moved to Napa County, my wife found herself out of work unexpectedly and my modest journalism salary was not going to cut it for long. As we were trying to figure out what to do, my old boss in Los Angeles offered me a fairly lucrative job.
We had lived previously for several years in Los Angeles and enjoyed it quite a bit, but we had agreed that it probably wasn’t an environment where we wanted to raise our kids, particularly as they hit their teen years. We were not eager to return.
Still, the money was good and I liked and respected my old boss quite a bit. It was tempting, but I hesitated.
He called again and upped the offer. Then he did it again, and even offered me more responsibility and freedom to help him develop an interesting new job in his new company. It was very close to an offer I couldn’t refuse.
But I really didn’t want to leave Calistoga and Napa County. We loved the community, we loved the lifestyle, and I was having way too much fun in my unexpected second act in journalism, as editor of The Weekly Calistogan, after 10 rather rocky and unpredictable years out of the newspaper newsroom.
That money was starting to sound pretty good, however.
One weekend, my wife headed off to an early morning businesses networking event down in Napa, leaving me knocking around the house.
I brooded all day. It was irresponsible of me not to take that job, I concluded, no matter how much I didn’t want to leave Napa County and move back to Los Angeles. We had two sons entering their teen years, in spitting distance to college, and I just needed to suck it up and do what needed to be done to support my family, I told myself grimly.
I would break the news to my wife as soon as she got home. A light, cold winter rain shower passing over did little to boost my mood as I waited.
Sometime in the middle afternoon, my wife arrived. Almost simultaneously, like some kind of movie scene, we both said “I have something to tell you.”
Ok, you go first, I said.
“We’re staying,” she said firmly.
Seems that passing winter rain shower had led to one of those huge, brilliant rainbows that Napa Valley specializes in. On her drive back up Upvalley, my wife had been treated to a brilliant splash of color across the sky, reminding her how much she loved living in this place, how much we both loved it.
Just to cement the deal, she stopped into one of her favorite wineries in St. Helena and tasted a little of Napa County’s finest.
She was hopelessly hooked by the time she got home.
And so we stayed. She found new work and an interesting new direction in her career. I got a job at the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, continuing my return journey in the newsroom, and not that much later, this job at the Register, exactly the kind of job I had been dreaming about my whole career.
Now in our rainiest winter in years, the brilliant rainbows have returned to the skies and I am reminded frequently how Napa County told us it wanted us to stay.