An Old Friend’s Visit

My oldest friend—since third grade—came to visit me for three days. I had so many thoughts of what I could show her during her stay. As these things usually do, we did almost entirely different things than what I’d mapped out in my mind.

It wasn’t really three days, what with a six-hour drive up here from Central California. We had two full days. I bought matinee play tickets so that took up a lot of one day, along with a short river walk. For our last full day, she asked me to show her the town where I lived when I left our high school for our junior year, which is just over an hour away.

Rolling heathers

When my parents moved me to Ft. Bragg, I thought it was a hick little place. It kind of was. It’s changing a lot. But thinking of showing it to Lisa, as we approached, I was mostly thinking of the scrappy outlying area one passes through coming into town from the south—lots of gas stations, car repair shops, thrifts and the like. And then the strip of gas stations, Mendo Mill, etc… blocking the bluffs that are cut off from town: the toxic Georgia Pacific mill site.

It was interesting to see the town yesterday through my friend Lisa’s eyes. There are several blocks along the main street that is also Highway 1, and down a few side streets, that maintain the charming old architecture. She ooh’d and ah’d about that area, reminding me that, yeah, it is pretty cool (I’ve posted pics of them before, on First Friday). We cruised the back streets. I showed her the high school with its Noyo Food Forest garden.

My family’s home was modest—way more enchanting inside, with my mom’s artistic touches, and when you could see out the back sliding doors to the rhodies and special trees they’d planted. But Lisa appreciated the woodsy setting near the ocean.

We ate at Piaci’s, my old favorite haunt when I was working across the street in the historic Company Store, site of the raw food chef school featured in my Braided Dimensions books. It was near the train yards and I’d hear the Skunk Train’s whistle from our office.

We spent the most time in the Botanical Gardens, an immense sprawling property stretching to the sea, with a little fern canyon, a creek trail, model veg garden and so much more. We loved the heathers that formed a rolling terrain of multi-colored hillocks. The gate really drew me. I love wild-wood-woven fences and want to make some one day.

I’ve posted before about Corners of the Mouth, the health food store set in an old church in Mendocino, but here’s the interior, from the herb haven upstairs.

2 thoughts on “An Old Friend’s Visit

  1. How fun to show your friend around this beautiful little community. I love it more every time I visit 🙂

  2. It was special, Robin. It felt good having my old friend see my life up here and that area that’s been so meaningful to my life, as I know it has been to yours. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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