Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall with Friends

Pumpkin patch along CA Highway 1

That's a lot of pumpkins, but we're not in Kansas anymore, we're outside of Santa Cruz, where they grow them big and plentiful. My friend Sally had her eye on this Cinderella and came away with a wheelbarrow of produce under $20. 

Sally is my oldest friend from Louisville, where our parents were friends before we were born, in another world of friendly sidewalks and running home from playing hard when you heard your name being called. We spent Passovers and Thanksgivings together for most of our childhood, and then traveled on "The Road Trip" across country in the seventies, from Louisville to Redwood City, after I dropped out of college and she'd graduated in three-years. She stayed on in California; I returned fifteen years later. Here's Sally today, as bright and buoyant as her name:

Sally in her garden

I was visiting for the weekend, and on Sunday, Sally and her husband Beem took me to "three-mile," a secluded beach along CA Highway 1 outside of Santa Cruz; Beem's been surfing there on a regular basis for 15 years, just him and the friendly sea lions, seals, mama and baby sea otters, and other stray mammals (surfers).

 Heading to three-mile through brussel sprout fields

Three-mile beach

Living in L.A. makes one (or I should say, me...) forget that there's an ocean in California, one that's easily accessible if you take the time to see it: the beauty on this day was unsurpassable, the sensual, warm air, blue sky, mediterranean-like sea. The sea lions were chillin' while Beem took on some gentle waves, and Sally and I hung on the beach.

It doesn't matter how long Sally and I've been apart, we pick up where we last left off. And isn't that the case with old friends? You don't miss a beat. You fall into that same effortless rhythm—being with someone who's known you as a child, seen you through all your blunders and dead-end runs, witnessed the unspeakable of your family history, and yet, seen you emerge, chrysalis like, on the other end. There's nothing like an old friend.


Then there are friends who know little about your childhood but like you anyway. 

On this trip I drove halfway up the coast, to Monterey, with Carla and Julie, friends for....does 10-15 years count for newer, old friends? We stopped on the way to eat at Artisan, a sustainable, local, eatery in Paso Robles.

 Julie and Carla tasting a flight of wines at Artisan.

My husband avoids places with one name. I should have known. At Artisan the atmosphere was cold, the service poor and the servings stingy, but what really pissed us off was they didn't include a biscotti with the espresso. What the heck?? Isn't that de-rigueur at a one-word restaurant? That evening, when we got to Carmel we ate at the incredible Casanova (highly recommend, even though it goes against Tom's theory) and were pleased to see that extra bit of pleasure with our coffee.

The next day I said good-bye and headed north, while my friends remained to have another day along the California coast.

Looking out over Monterey Bay towards Santa Cruz.


  1. Such fine pumpkins, sprouts, beach & friends! Beautiful photos. Hope you've recovered from the absent biscotti.

  2. Next time you are in the neighborhood, let me know. Nice piece about our little central coast.