Flowers III

It’s 10:30 Monday night and I’m home after a lo-o-ong day of travel but my body now thinks it’s 7:30 so here’s a post that I composed at various points along the way.

Did not get to the blog on Saturday. After coffee I went for another walk along the Embarcadero. This time I braved the tourists because there were fewer of them at 9 a.m. than at noon on Friday. Just before the worst of the crowds, I found the sea lions, which I incorrectly labeled seals in the previous entry (See “S.F. Tour I,” October 7, 2009). There were not as many of them as when Anna and I observed them in the fall, mainly I suspect because boats occupied their piers. Nevertheless, they were still grunting and smelling up the slots that were farthest out to sea.

On the return walk, I stopped at the farmers’ market at the Ferry Building across from the hotel. I almost wept at the quality and quantity of produce: oranges that fairly glowed, strawberries likewise, huge bunches of greens, including beets with root veggie still attached, cheese, honey, flowers and so forth and so forth. Even though it was tempting, I didn’t linger because I couldn’t buy anything and was afraid I would melt into a little puddle of tears at the depravation. Vendors across the street sold knit hats, jewelry in various forms, and on-the-spot silhouettes. The crafts ranged from gorgeous to tacky, but again I didn’t linger as the most I planned to take back was a souvenir for Larry and I didn’t think he’d appreciate a scarf or a pendant.

To recover, I went back and had another cup of coffee and then attended a conference session on violence and African American women. Ayesha K. Hardison, who presented the paper on Pauli Murray, did an expert job on that conflicted woman. As for the rest, speech and diction classes are in order. I could not understand a great deal of what some of the speakers were saying. Details will follow in another entry.

Diane came to the session, and we had lunch afterward outside on a covered promenade. It was lovely except for some really aggressive pigeons that divebombed the tables. Just as we were finishing a friend of Diane’s who had founded the Philip Roth Society joined us. We picked his brain about what would be entailed in starting an Ann Petry Society. We went away with lots of ideas but with the conviction that it will involve much work. Stay tuned …

Having learned that my friend Lucey Bowen, with whom I was having dinner, had already bought a copy of At Home Inside, I went in search of a hostess gift. I wanted a potted plant and took the suggestion of the concierge who recommended Lydia’s, a florist that was right around the corner from the hotel. Bought one in a magenta color. Turns out it’s her favorite.

She and I have known each other since we met at Vassar back in the Middle Ages. She was a junior and I was a freshman, very much bewildered by the sophisicated, rich girls from Miss Porter’s and Emma Willard, who certainly didn’t want anything to do with a poor black girl. (I think I was one of three African Americans in my class as it was pre-affirmative action, as I said, the Middle Ages.)

I started this entry at the San Francisco airport and can’t seem to access the Internet so I can’t give you the links to her various blogs, but Lucey is a brilliant, multi-faceted woman who is working on a memoir about the father, Croswell Bowen. He wrote and photographed Great River of the Mountains: The Hudson in 1941, and Lucey is revisiting this exquisite journey from the Adironadacks to the Battery. She gave me a copy of her father’s book, and I’m waiting eagerly to board the plane so I can dive into it. (Finished it on the plane ride and have a much deeper appreciation for eastern New York state and the Hudson River.) A full review will also follow in another entry.

Continuing thie blog at LAX where I’ve got a few minutes before boarding the plane to BWI and then to Bradley.

We had a wonderful dinner, though I think her husband Dick may have been bored to death with the reminiscing, giggling and yacking. He has the patience of a saint.

Lucey made Thomas Keller’s vegetable stew, combining some version of pretty much all of those gorgeous vegetables topped with shavings of cheese, accompanied by bread and preceded by a fabulous tapanade. That repast would have satisfied me, but she followed it with a raspberry tart. The crust had lemon zest and juice in it and the raspberries of course were beyond fresh. Fabulous!

Coming and going from her condo with an equally fabulous view of San Francisco Bay, I was treated to fans arriving and leaving the Giants game. And because they were playing the Diamondbacks, extra people were demonstrating Arizona’s immigration policy. Everyone was quite civilzed, though the public transportation was a bit more crowded than normal for an early Saturday evening.

Crawled into bed at what my body thought was 2 a.m. and fell asleep as soon as I had streched out.

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