California Day 4 Carpinteria: Another Lesson By Bill Pike

Our daughter, Elizabeth, has a keen eye. On Wednesday, I had talked with her about rising early on Thursday morning and walking around Carpinteria taking photographs.

When I checked on her around 6:20, she passed on my invitation. So, I organized myself and armed with my Canon Power Shot, a hand me down from our son-in-law, Doug, I left the house for the walk.

I was particularly interested in tracking down a weather beaten table and chairs outside of a local business that caught our eyes on Wednesday morning’s jog. As I passed by the merchants on Linden Avenue some were closed, but those offering coffee and food were getting ready to open.

At the top of Linden Avenue and Carpinteria Way, there is a narrow median that divides the street. At the beginning of this median is a flagpole that proudly displays the United States and California State flags. This morning there is no breeze so both flags are still catching some shut eye.

I make a left on Carpinteria Way. Seems like the table and chairs I want to see were further down the street, so I keep walking.

At some point, I note a gentleman walking toward me on the sidewalk.  He sees me coming and for whatever reason, this gentleman decides to remove himself from the sidewalk and walk along the street.

As we are just about to pass each other, I note he has homeless traits. He is overdressed in clothes and is carrying other items with him. And, as we pass each other, I can detect the need for a shower just like on days when I have depleted my deodorant from working in the yard on a hot, humid summer day.

Eventually, I cross over Carpinteria. I start to recall a number of the places we saw yesterday.  Just outside a custom framing shop, I see the table and chairs I’ve been looking to photograph.

The table and its six chairs are scrunched in among some plants and a tree. I have a sermon assignment to write for World Communion Sunday on October 7. Recently, tables have become of interest to me. I’m sure this one could tell some stories.

I snap a couple of photos and start walking again. I decide to walk back down Linden Avenue checking out the store fronts and some tall palm trees on a side street with a significant tilt at their tops.

In front of the parking lot for the grocery store, Smart and Final, is a common sitting area/bus stop. I note as I’m walking by, the gentleman I perceive as being homeless is sitting there by himself.

I stop at the corner to take a picture of the tilting palm trees. Then, I’m thinking to myself, I’m going to walk back up the street on the other side, and if the gentleman is still sitting there I’m going to buy him something to eat from the bakery I had passed earlier.

Sure enough, he is still sitting there.

So, I head to Reynaldo’s Bakery. It is loaded with all kinds of Mexican pastries. I’m overwhelmed by the selection, but opt to purchase a couple of Mexican sweet cakes.

I pay and walk across the street and approach the gentleman.

And I immediately make a mistake as begin my communication with him. I start with “good morning,” and then I ask him, “how is he doing?” He immediately responds, “I’m homeless.”

At that point, I think I said, “I know,” followed by “I brought you something to eat.”

He looks suspiciously at the Mexican sweet cake, and then I learn my second mistake. This homeless gentleman asks for coffee, and I explain I don’t have any.

At this point, I’m too disappointed in myself to think about getting some coffee, and I walk off— thinking to myself you just failed trying to be hospitable to a homeless person, you have a lot to learn about being a so called Christian.

Muttering to myself, I walked back toward the house, thinking about my mistakes in trying to be helpful.

At the house, I said nothing about my encounter, and I latched on to the group that was walking to the Lucky Llama for breakfast.

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California Day 4 Carpinteria:  Train Ride by Bill Pike 

After breakfast, everyone was heading toward the beach. When I arrived, the junior lifeguard trainees were back for another grueling day, and the dead Sea Lion had been removed.

Abby and Art’s three year old grandson, Grayson, had been intrigued all week by the Amtrak and occasional freight trains that would rumble through Carpinteria. So at 11:20 this morning, his parents, Rachel and Garth, had purchased tickets for the family including Grayson’s older sister, Charlotte, to take the train up to Santa Barbara and back.

Even though the Amtrak California Surfliner was running a bit late, Grayson contained himself until the train arrived. When the train showed up, the family boarded, and I’m told Grayson enjoyed every click on the track up and back.

After they boarded the train, I walked back down to the beach. And, it wasn’t long before, our daughter, Elizabeth, and Abby and Art’s daughter, Ashley, had developed a plan for their fathers to take them to lunch at the Rincon Brewery.

Located on Carpinteria Way, this craft brewer was named after the famous Rincon Point a long time favorite spot for surfers to catch Pacific waves.  Our food and the beer were good.

From lunch, we regrouped, some returned to the beach, and Abby, Art, Betsy, and I worked our way to the local farmers market and the grocery store. Hamburgers were going to be grilled out, and we were picking up fruit and vegetables to support the meal.

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A portion of Linden Avenue was blocked off. This shutdown allowed farmers and an assortment of vendors to set up on both sides of the street. Farmers markets have always interested me, no matter their size or location. I admire the diligence of our farmers.

This market was really special. Maybe the quality of the produce can be attributed to the strong farmer presence in the region, but table after table had top-notch displays of grapes, avocados, peaches, plums, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, leafy vegetables, oranges, melons, and even full stalks of celery.

Once we finished at the farmers market, Abby made a quick stop in the Smart and Final grocery store for a few more cookout items. Then, we reorganized all of our purchases and made sure they made it to the cookout house.

At some point, I took a shower, and then you guessed it— before making the walk over for dinner, another gathering took place at Island Brewery.

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California Day 4 Carpinteria No Fog=Sunset by Bill Pike

At the end of a perfect sun drenched California day, there is nothing like a grilled hamburger with all the trimmings. The dinner came together well, and even better, no gray fog had blocked the sun.

After dinner, we all walked down to the beach. Turns out others in Carpinteria had the same idea.

For the first time since we had arrived on Tuesday, I could clearly see the outlines of the Channel Islands offshore in the Pacific and the oil wells in front of them were also more pronounced.

The sun was starting its departure. That, “Lucky old sun” was not going to gracefully disappear into the ocean with its mysterious green flash. No, on this evening, the sun would slip down behind the Santa Ynez Mountains.

There was a flurry of activity with our families. Photos being snapped, and group shots were organized. And as all of this was taking place, the sun continued to slowly, and silently slink down.

Inch by inch, the sun started to hide behind the mountains. Then in the second of an eye blink— the sun was spun away by the earth, gone until tomorrow morning’s sunrise.

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