My friend Anne and I walk every Sunday morning. Well, every Sunday morning up until I took my little fall. Now I'm on the mend but still struggling a bit with walking for long periods of time - I'm trying to work back into my hour long treks on pathways and trails. Soon I hope.
Anyway, in lieu of a walk today, Anne wanted to go the the L.A. Flower District. It's been a couple of years since I went there with her, so I readily agreed. Anne is very comfortable with L.A. and its environs having grown up just north of the 60 and just east of the 110 freeways. I, on the other hand, always travel with trepidation, expecting the worst and carrying anxiety. It's so nice to go places with her - I can relax and just enjoy the ride.
She has her favorite shops - mostly the ones that sell orchids. She loves orchids. I love them too, but manage to kill every single one I've had. Hers flourish. She picked out four or five beautiful ones and as a thank you, the shop owner gave her two little lucky bamboo plants - one for Anne, one for me. (I don't think it's possible to kill bamboo, is it?) A second brief stop for a bouquet and we're done.
On the way back to the freeway, she detours and asks if I'd like to see the neighborhood where she grew up. I've never ventured off the freeway in that area and I am intrigued. She navigates easily through the small streets and tells stories of long ago - her street teeming with kids, the local liquor store where she'd buy candy, the dress shop she loved, her aunt's house, her grandpa's house, women selling tamales outside the local church... a wonderful tour. We stop at the top of a hill she remembers and we look out and can see the ocean. Beautiful! East L.A. really is a beautiful place.
As we head back to the freeway, we share more "growing up" stories. I'm grateful for the tour and to have learned so much more about my best friend. I wish my dad could have met her - he loved that whole area extending all the way to L.A. proper - the Mercado, Olvera Street, Union Station.... He would have been fascinated by her stories.
Maybe some Sunday morning in the near future I'll go back. I'd like to wander some of the larger flower shops like we did last time, and enjoy the explosion of color and the wonderful fragrance. But maybe take a detour again and try to find the ocean from the top of a hill.
|L.A. Flower District on a Sunday morning - no traffic!|