This is the best time of year in Bakersfield. We hit the lottery today and tomorrow too. Fall is good everywhere, but there is something about a Bakersfield fall, a valley fall, that is especially delicious.
It may be a suffering thing. Long summers are good for that. We are grateful when the season changes.
This town is swimming in gratitude right now. We could fill the Kern River bank to bank with gratitude while we have one gorgeous day after another.
The cold mornings make coffee taste good again. At home or especially the mochas at Cafe Smitten.
Margi Davis took me to school over buying apples under plastic at a big box store.
“Herb, we live less than an hour from the best apples around ... Tehachapi. Take a drive one afternoon and go to Pulfords on Highland Drive. You won’t be disappointed. The BEST golden delicious you’ll ever eat. They have 9 varieties right now. You’ll never buy another store-bought apple again. Trust me.”
Susan Reep is leaving town. Susan and her patient husband, Mark Smith. I saw a posting on Facebook from the former Fruitvale Junior High teacher, activist, crackerjack photographer, mother, grandmother and lover of travel.
“Well friends, how to say this? After living in Bakersfield since 1979, we are going to try something new. We put our house up for sale, we had an offer in five days, it enters escrow Monday, and by mid-December we should be living in the Villebois neighborhood of Wilsonville, Oregon. We, me especially, have to reclaim the third of my year that is lost to increasingly hotter temperatures. I need green, to step out my door and walk and to breathe. Seasons won't hurt, either. And they deliver the New York Times to 97070.
“The family will migrate eventually. My nephews live there now and we visited a week or two ago and that just sealed the deal — we thought, it's time for something new. It's kind of scary, it's fast, and we will miss Bako because we love it here! And our friends! We will start by renting so we can always come back but somehow I don't think so. So that's the news.”
Susan has made this place a better place in which to live. That said, Susan, I hope it rains every day for a month, you get depressed, want to kill Mark and then you return.
That was Bad Herb. Good Herb wishes you well. I still feel badly about pruning (butchering) your grapefruit tree on 17th Street. I went so deep on that tree that it produced almonds the following season.
Sharon Thomas sent a great email. Sharon is Bill’s wife, which immediately puts her up there for sainthood.
Sharon wrote in regards to the column about son Sam and daughter-in-law Lauren’s new baby-to-be and their 3-year-old daughter Nora’s response to her mom’s pregnancy.
“It can come home and live here, but you can’t be its parents,” Nora said.
Sharon writes: “Your column made me think of my Dad and my youngest brother. I am six and eight years younger than my brothers. When I was born, and Mom was coming home with me from the hospital, Jared (the one six years older) was determined that Mom should not bring me home. He was sure I had some kind of a disease. So Dad told him that I would be lots of fun with this baby, because not only did I not have a disease, but also, I was a monkey.
“When Jared heard that, he was thrilled. After spreading the word to everyone at school, he ran home, thrilled to see the baby monkey. He ran into the bedroom to greet me! Jared turned to Dad and screamed, 'That’s no monkey!'
“While Jared was definitely not happy about my birth, he was the best brother anyone could ever have had. He died four years ago and I still miss him.”
Remembering loved ones
Kathy Stewart responded to the piece on Dia de los Muertos: “Your column touched my heart. As the fifth anniversary of my husband’s passing comes closer (two weeks), the quote from John Paul Brammer, 'Dying and living are not opposites but rather two parts of one process, with just a breath in between' is comforting. Thank you."