Back in September, I visited Los Angeles for the first time in a long time. I have been going to Long Beach almost every year for a work conference, but I never made my way up to the City of (Lost) Angels. Along the same vein, this past weekend I was in the Bay Area for the first time forever. I was trying to figure out when I was last there, and I am at a loss. Had it been ten years? More? Now that I think about it, if you add in Mississippi, I seem to be in a period of rediscovery. One of the days, I would also like to revisit NYC again. It’s been a long time since I have been there as well.
This trip was weird, for a lack of a better word, in coming together. Originally, I was going to meet my friend Samarah there, but life got in the way. I went back and forth as to whether to go anyway. In the end, down I went in a last-minute scramble with no plans, and I am glad.
My friend Pam opened her house to me, and it was such a blessing. If you read about my Ireland trip, you know about our Ireland adventure with Candy. Pam’s husband, Willie, is extra nice! Pam has an amazing patio and garden in the back of her house. It was awesome to see hummingbirds and foxes running around back there.
We had some awesome conversations about this strange thing called life. I am in a season where I am not quire sure how the many parts are going to come together, but I must remind myself that it always comes together. I feel like I am a scene in a movie where everything is suspended or frozen. Hopefully whatever the release will satisfy whatever this strange longing is.
It was splendid catching up with folks I haven’t seen in a minute. My college buddy DJ was nice enough to bring Pam and I lunch for our catch up. I went to a bar and bowling with Sam and Mark and their friend Kenny. I have not bowled in such a long time, which was evident in my bowling score, but it was extra fun. I unexpectedly ran into LC and his family at Jack London Square. The last time I saw LC was when I unexpectedly ran into he and Mark in Negril, Jamaica. The sunset there was quite amazing along the waterfront, and you know I love a working waterfront. It was good to see the Port of Oakland in action. It was especially nice to catch up with family and attend services at Center of Grace.
On Saturday, I went to the Art and Soul festival in Oakland with Pam, her daughter, and grand kids. We walked around and looked at vendors. There was also food, drink, and music. The weather was awesome. How much more can you ask for? The weather in Seattle was hotter, so it was nice getting relief from the heat! On Monday, we hit up the marina in San Leandro. I have not spent much time in Oakland, and I was able to see the China Town there, for the first time I think.
We went to this place called Lena’s one night for dinner. The food was good and the proportions gluttonous. Two people could literally split a regular plate, so I would hate to see their large plate. Sunday evening, Willie barbecued, and Pam made yummy potato salad.
Like Seattle, Oakland is being gentrified. While it is nice to see some renaissance in the area with new restaurants and establishments, it is hard to swallow communities who have lived there for generations being pushed out because they can no longer afford the area. In Seattle, people want to be close to the city. In Oakland people want to be close to the City without paying the crazy rents in San Francisco. In my neighborhood, there were these two clubs on Madison whose names escape me. I want to say Deno’s and Oscar’s? Anyway, it added a little grit to the neighborhood, but as the neighborhood changed, it was obvious that they would go by wayside. Truthfully, I was glad when they closed. I always felt weird walking past there and had been offered drugs. But then there is the side that says it was okay for them to exist in their fashion when the neighborhood was black. But when the neighborhood changed, all of a sudden, the police made more of effort to be sure that they didn’t.
I have always felt a kindredness with the Bay Area. I felt a certain melancholy as I left. Tears could start at any second. LOL! If doors opened, I would certainly make a move there. I left my heart in San Francisco. That’s a song, right? Or is it the story of my life?
The good news is that I started writing a story on my way down there. As some of you know, I wrote a story called Harlem’s Song in my early twenties. I have picked it up off and on throughout the years. Of course, the voice of the lead character, Janiah, has changed over time as my own voice changed. I would like to brush the story off in its many forms. It will probably end up being a series of short stories since I don’t have the attention span to write a novel. LOL! The short story I wrote in South Africa, Following Jane’s Advice, is part of that series. Will Janiah finally get over Damien and free her heart to find happiness with someone else? Or will her love for him remain ill fated? Will she cross paths with Stefano again? Stay tuned. Even I don’t know. Lawd Have Mercy. LOL.