04 October 2015

Celebrating a birthday

On Saturday, my cousin Kirsten and I took off at 8:30 a.m. up the coast towards Carpinteria, where the annual Avocado Festival always takes place on my birthday weekend. I've been to it half a dozen times with various people; I always look forward to going, and I always remember it fondly, but there is always a moment in the day when I think, Why, exactly, do I keep coming to this?

One can, after all, only eat so many things laden with avocado in a single day; the "artist" booths are, let's face it, filled with stuff that is for the most part too cheesy for me to want to buy; I dislike crowds, heat, and noise, all of which are the norm for an outdoor festival with food and three bandstands; and it's more than an hour away.

I think part of it is the venue: Carpinteria is as charming a little town as you'd find anywhere along the California coast. I enjoy the nostalgia of memories from childhood: My parents and I spent three or four summer vacations there when I was between 8 and 12 years old, hanging with their military friends, and I, an only child, was delighted to have many children to play with for that one week. I like walking up and down the streets, fantasizing about living in one of the small bungalows a few blocks from the beach, being the town librarian, selling my paintings in the cooperative gallery on Linden Street. I enjoy being near the ocean, appreciating the occasional cool breeze that stirs the heat-laden air of the festival. I get a giant kick out of the avocado dioramas created by the town's school children!


And Saturday, I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with Kirsten at Esau's Coffee Shop, bought a garlic grater cunningly disguised as a ceramic saucer, and stole a moment to rest my feet and draw.

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