It was time to say good-bye. Along with my hay bale/Beverly Hills haircut, I brought a box of produce with me: tomatoes, almonds, peaches etc. from the Mendocino farmers’ market, tiny potatoes from my sister’s garden (she stores them in a pail of sand so they won’t go green or sprout; some of them were the size of a debutante’s pearls), and Betty eggs. Betty works at the hospital with my sis and brings in her extra eggs from her happy hens. You would not believe the difference between Betty eggs and Safeway eggs.
I went home by modern stage coach: my sis drove me to Boonville, where we planned to meet up with Erica and Jessica at Erica’s shop, Erica having kindly offered to chauffeur me the rest of the way. Megan and I were a bit early, a frequent family flaw, so we poked around the small farmers’ market for a few minutes.
There were books which were supposed to swapped, but having nothing to trade, we were allowed to take our selections for free. I scored a 1965 edition of James Beard’s Menus for Entertaining (which is, very) and Meg found a sci fi book for her husband, which it turned out he hadn’t read. I also got a Sunflower Soother lotion bar from MeadowSweet Soap, based in Ukiah. I am pleased to report that daily applications of it, besides smelling and feeling great, completely prevented my sunburn(s) from peeling.
We went across the street to the store, where Erica was loading up the car. She and Jessica were lucky golden ticket holders for Neil Gaiman’s signing in San Francisco the following day. Only 100 tickets were available, so they were very lucky to get them. And Mr. Gaiman was very lucky to meet his youngest fan in person.
It was a delightful drive. We ate brownies, giggled, and talked. The topic of Halloween costumes came up. Jessica is beginning to learn how to sew, and she wants to be the Oogie Boogie Man from The Nightmare Before Christmas this year. She observed that it would be easy to sew, and Erica agreed, saying it would be a fairly simple shape. She also suggested that Jessica might want to sew some decorations on her Christmas stocking, such as gingerbread men. Jessica said she’d like to put on candy canes, and I asked what was her favorite flavor (last year, we had cinnamon ones). She considered, and then said “I like the classic candy cane flavors, like peppermint.”
As we approached San Francisco, we saw a blimp flying lazily over head. I pointed it out to Jessica, and she said, “That’s an airship!” Later, I mentioned this to my sister, wondering how a six year old would know about airships. Megan said that lately Jessica’s been reading the dictionary in bed at night. One night, it was long after lights out and she didn’t want to stop reading. One of the things that makes Jessica such a charming child is her remarkable obedience about going to bed and staying there, so this was unusual. She explained to her mother, “I’m between diamonds and dinosurs and I just can’t stop!”