Whenever I hear the word Aroma, I imagine Johnny Carson saying it in an opening monologue, meaning, of course, baaad arooooma. But Aromas, plural, is a gem. And we got there entirely by accident.
The day began in Watsonville after a sleep-in, which for me was 8:30. I’ve slept that late maybe 20 times in my entire life. It felt good.
I set a quick lunch date with my friend Kurt at another friend’s restaurant in downtown Santa Cruz, Hula’s, and we had a leisurely morning. All of us feelin’ good.
All was going well, and we were about two blocks from the restaurant when I spotted a gas station and pulled in to get a few gallons—never “fill up” unless you want to smell the aroooooma of gas and maybe end up watching your bus burn by the side of the road.
Then, as we were about to leave, I gave Mo a pet and closed the sliding door and right away I could tell something was wrong. It was stuck and nothing I could do would budge it. One of these whispy straps that are placed strategically around the bus windows to hold curtains —no curtains on this door – had gotten stuck in the latch, really stuck because it was a metal snap wedged into medal.
My solution? Eat lunch and Kurt and I will figure it out. Or Kurt will because he’s good at that sort of thing.
Lunch and catching up with a good friend you haven’t seen in over 30 years was more than good. Not surprisingly he has had a full and successful life and now has a wonderful gig passing on his grace and knowledge to the next generation. He was on stage, just over 40 years ago, when I became an actor. I was sitting in back of the big empty theater, the director was auditioning actors and I was super interested but scared, a lot. Hella scared. But Kurt, who I knew and had sung with in harmony circles late into the evenings, just a bunch of people singing, was up there just telling a story, which was the assignment from the director.
“I can do that,” I said.
“Why don’t you?” Joe replied.
And the rest, as they say, is history, and a hella fine history it has been. If some other actor had been up there struggling and I felt I couldn’t do it… where would I be now?
Lunch was great and, being Santa Cruz, healthful.
Then, on to the door. It took a few tools, some starts and stops, some frustration, but finally Kurt—I told you so—got an angle with the long screw driver and was able to nudge the button a bit and with his push and my pull with needle nose (I was inside the bus) we got it out and the door just popped open! Victory! And Mo was also released.
Ian appeared, he owns the Hula’s place, and we were just across the street, and the three of us had a fine reunion. We all look more rugged.
I was planning how to get so Sacramento and had decided not to go through the Bay Area on a Friday at rush hour, which would likely be a nightmare, but I would go south to Watsonville and head East from there. Kurt said, “Oh, through Aromas!”
Michelle liked my friends and gave them a warm smile or two or three and it warmed my heart.
And the die was cast.
We headed out and arrived in Aromas which was a bit out of the way, but Johnny would stop making fun—okay, I know he’s not around—if he visited. It’s charming!
The rest of the day was long road through dry lovely grass and oak covered hills and then into the central valley, dry with less oaks, and finally in the heat up to Sacramento. Not a tough day at all until Mo shattered my sister’s giant potted plant.
Mea Culpas tomorrow.