SA was my first boss at Santa Fe Public Library, back 26 or so years ago. ("My claim to fame is that I hired her," she told the librarian at the village library when she introduced us.) Now she's an online bookseller in distant Cedarville, California, elevation 4,300 feet, population 514; the internet and the Post Office are the poles of her work life. I slept in her book room. (They call it 'the sun room', which it was before being walled in for books.)
We hung around, and ran errands, looked out the windows at the fields and the fruit trees and the dry mountains, and went into town every day, and talked books and libraries and the book biz and computers and all. Each evening she checked her email for orders, and ran around the shelves locating what the patrons requested; and every morning she packed books and we'd go in town to mail them. We spent a lot of time watching the cats; and the deer, who came in bunches, with many spotted fawns (MC calls them 'The Bambis'), to feast on the clover patch and the fruit trees.
Getting out of the house with nonstop talking going on, and both host and guest's patterns disrupted by the visiting process, is somewhere between comic and tragic at our age. Forgotten wallets, forgotten baskets of books to mail, where is my whatever, oh god now I can't find this other thing. Happened both with SA, and later on in the week with VMW. Oh it's mortifying.
On Monday we drove over the mountains to Alturas, so I could meet SA's friend SM, whom I have known now for many years via our blogs and via email, and had never met. It was awkward for barely a moment, then we talked like the familiar friends we actually are.
On Tuesday the big event of the day was Senior Lunch at the Senior Center. SA is part of the crew who sets up and serves and cleans up. I met everybody, and ate (was directed to the table for the younger seniors, not the table for the older seniors),and listened to what people talked about, and won beaucoup admiration points for washing dishes—the molded plastic trays, the steam tray pans the food comes in (it is prepared at the community clinic), and so on. The pinochle game regulars settled in while we cleaned up. We went on about our errands. We delivered a couple of Gary Snyder books to someone who might be interested in buying them; he kept them to look at, later phoned to say he wanted to buy them. We visited the library and the weaving shop and the store, and mailed books and drove the handful of streets among the little houses.
Everywhere we went, everyone greeted each other by name. I missed a chance to take a photo of a kid on horseback right at the 4-corner intersection. I mailed @lagina two blurry postcards of local views, and my sister a postcard of the twice-a-year cattle-drive through town, when cowpersons on horseback move the herds from summer pasture up in the Warner Mountains to wherever the winter pasture leases are (didn't quite understand that part). SA had me take her portrait in front of the post office, as I had done 10 years ago when I visited.
It was a long wet winter and cool spring. Relative to being up there in the high desert, everything was very green. "The hotel is for sale," I said. "Is it open?" "It's open. It's always for sale."
On Wednesday morning after coffee and talking and a slow start, set off down the highway to Nevada City, for further visiting.