Meeting Mr. Haslam   Leave a comment

Here it is, 71 at three-thirty.  That’s what I call weather!

Yesterday was a busy day, though not in any unpleasant way.  The worst thing that happened was that Mr. Coffee died.  I staggered out to the kitchen at six or so, turned on the coffee — and nothing happened.  The little light came on, so it was getting power, but it was stone cold dead.  I was in despair until Billy reminded me that we could make boiled coffee.  After all, people did drink coffee before coffeemakers.  So I did, and was reminded that it’s really better than regular coffee, except for the grounds.  I ran it through a sieve, but that doesn’t get quite all.

So now we have a new Mr.  Coffee, and the old one is going to the Great Coffeehouse in the Sky — or at least the garbage can.

At noon, Marion and I attended a very pleasant event.  It was a lunch for Gerald Haslam, the writer.  He has written about the Central Valley, and especially Oildale, throughout several excellent books.  The one about the Bakersfield Sound is perhaps the best-known, but I like his short stories.

I was reading a couple to Billy.  One was about playing Tarzan in the river bottom, in the days when the grapevines made it a very good stand-in for the African jungle.  Billy remembers having to chop trails for the horses with a machete, in the days when his mother Irma ran a rental string.  Another was about some Okies, who at one point were desperate enough to milk some cows they found grazing by the river.  Billy roused up and said, “Those were our cows!”  They would have been, too.  I don’t remember if the story was fiction or not, but Billy assured me that Irma would never have called the police, as happened in the story.  That’s if I remember correctly.  It was some years ago.

Anyway, it was fun to listen to Mr. Haslam talk about writing.  Some of the guests contributed river stories, too.  I especially enjoyed hearing Bill Cooper talk about kayaking from Bakersfield to San Francisco in the high-water year of 1983.  I remember trying to explain it to my students at that time, who resolutely refused to believe it.  No one could boat to San Francisco.  After all, everyone knew water didn’t flow uphill, and it was all uphill.  Just look at the map!  And some adults believed the same thing.

Marion and I did enjoy ourselves, whether it was the lunch, listening to Mr. Haslam, or the hospitality of our hosts the Shepherds.  They have a beautiful native plant garden.

The day before, I found a wild sunflower in full bloom downriver.  This is the best picture I took, with an attentive Xena in the background.


I kind of liked this one, though, with the disappearing puppy bottom.


This morning I was sipping (boiled) coffee, when I heard thumping and thudding from the bathroom.  I hurried in, to find Peaches thundering up and down inside the tub.  I thought she had gotten in by accident, but when I called her she hopped out — then hopped right back in.  She likes loud noises, if she makes them.  One of her favorite toys is an empty plastic flower pot, which she chases up and down the hall.  But the tub is going a little too far.  It was full of muddy paw prints.

I guess I’ll have to remember to keep the door shut.  I don’t like the way she was looking at the toilet . . .

She’s certainly a creative pup.

Posted September 26, 2013 by stablewoman in Wildflowers

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