Back Open!

They’ve been keeping the kitties fed at the Wawona Hotel. When I was there, last month, Tomas showed up with their mess. Stanley showed up, too, just to look things over. It was sunny, and just warm enough to sit on the upstairs verandah and count the trees (there were a few missing).
Y.I. (the Yosemite Institute) has been occupying the hotel, which has remained closed “due to lack of employee housing”, we’re told. Y.I. brings school kids to the park, usually via their Crane Flat facility. Amid disturbing rumors and dire warnings from teachers who’d chaperoned junior-highschoolers to Y.I., Wawonans sighed into their coffees. Alas, according to Mike B., who ought to know, the Y.I.’rs have treated the hotel--dare I say it--better than some of the guests. And...they haven’t touched the piano.
Here’s the news: WE’RE OPENING! I’ll be back serenading you in the lobby, starting Friday, March 21, WEEKENDS ONLY, until enough of you complain, or until enough of you check in. April looks pretty slow, and that means it’s a good time to come. YOSEMITE VALLEY OPENS MARCH 14, I think at noon (check the Yosemite Fund Page).
Dudley Kendall (The Ahwahnee Pianist) and I (we’ve been calling ourselves “The Dead Pianists Society”) visited Yosemite Valley, today, on business (really). Well, HE did--I drove, and took pictures of empty parking lots. Kind of novel. The The Ahwahnee (the “The” is officially part of the The Ahwahnee’s name, thus...) looks like a grand, elegant warehouse. The floors are covered with piles of new furniture, old furniture, framed pictures (destined for room decorations); the Winter Room is so filled with armoires that you can’t get in. One of the maintenance guys said it was worse, a few days ago, but they were determined to be ready to open by the 15th. Hmmmmm.
Saw Homer, the painter, all alone in the middle of the empty Yosemite Village parking lot, painting parking-stripes on the asphalt. Ate lunch at the deserted Village Snack Bar (or whatever it’s called). No people. No squirrels. No jays. That’s right--those animals hang around there for a reason!
I’ll post those photos, if they come out well. The lot at Inspiration Point (or whatever it’s called) was empty. So was the road through that meadow next to the chapel. Hasn’t been this quiet, this long, for a long while.