Smidge of 66 and A Fountain of Friendship

October 17, 2012  —  Wednesday

This was a day for friends.

Marti and I had a last breakfast at her kitchen counter, then a drive through her neighborhood…more Eichler homes…Granada Hills old and new, and its hills fit its name…gorgeous flowers and landscaping so appealing they almost make you forget the awful traffic…and a Route 66 sign not far from her house.  Some goodbye hugs, and I pointed the car east to central LA.

Next stop: The Autry National Center in Griffith Park with Diane, another LA Olympics friend.  The Autry Museum is a mega-complex with Western and Native art, and a terrific cross-section of early Hollywood and the cowboy movies, a collection amassed by none other than Gene Autry of singing cowboy fame.  Its standing collection is sterling, especially the movie memorabilia and film clips.  Serendipity!  The Autry’s special exhibition was “Katsina in Hopi Life”.  The Hopi of northeastern Arizona are near and dear to my heart because they still live as they have lived for centuries.  One of the Hopi’s best-known arts is the katsina or kachina carved dolls, which represent spiritual beings who deliver the Hopi peoples’ prayers to a higher power.  This exhibit showed ancient and contemporary katsina, a magnificent collection.  We walked, we talked, we did lunch in the Autry’s cafe.  Such a great afternoon of sharing, surrounded by beautiful art.  Time to say goodbye to Diane as we went our separate ways through LA traffic.

I wished I could beam me and the car to Altadena, east of Pasadena on the eastern end of LA County, but no, back on the freeway.  An hour later I found my way to Deb and Boyd, just in time to meet their charmingly cockeyed dog, Sir Harry, having a romp in the back yard.  Deb is an old arts administration friend dating from Columbus, Ohio and Atlanta; hubby Boyd is a teacher/journalist/photographer/theatre guy with a dashing patch over one eye.  I laughed myself silly when he took a telemarketing phone call and told the caller he and his wife were destitute, surviving on bread and water.  “They never call back!” cracked Boyd.  We had a wonderful evening over dinner at Dish Restaurant in nearby La Canada, one of those LA places with great food, good service, ambience, casual and chic simultaneously.

As the day ended, I contemplated friendship.  I am blessed with two solid handfuls of good friends, the kind of friends you call with good news and count on when life is rough.  We email some, we phone some, we see each other when possible, but sometimes it’s five or more years between get-togethers.  We catch up, but we can jump just as easily into deep sharing.  This trip has been as much about sharing with friends as it has been exploring Route 66.  These friends are family to me, and on each leg of this journey, each has made me feel as though I’ve “come home.”

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