We had a dry day today, so I walked up to the top of the hills. Early in the afternoon, when I was headed back down, I heard some rustling up a driveway I was passing. I looked up and saw these guys (well, I think, from the way it behaved, that only the one in the center is a guy; the other two are does). Broad daylight. Not fazed in the slightest to see an unarmed barbarian strolling past. In fact, when I stopped, the deer in the center here actually advanced toward me a few feet (that’s why I think he’s a guy). A couple minutes after I took the pictures, a man came walking up the road with two small-ish dogs on leashes. The deer picked up on the dogs right away and took off.
Christmas morning: The usual post-luminaria routine is to wake up, do the presents, then go out on the street to pick everything up: gather the luminaria remove the candles, dump the sand, and fold up the bags so they can be reused next year. But there was a heavy frost last night and the bags were all pretty much soaked this morning, so Piero decided we’d just recycle them and use new ones in 2005. He’s the boss.
Our neighbor Kay Schwartz, above, was the first one out this morning, and she pretty much picked up all the bags from the upper block of Holly Street. Then we hauled everything down to the Martinuccis to pull it all apart. Most of the usual suspects were there (below). It probably takes a total of two hours to set the whole thing up on our street — more if you have to get the 600-plus bags ready first — and about the same to take it all down again.
11:17 p.m.: The lights are still lit on Holly Street. But the people who came out to walk through the neighborhood, and we had dozens who stopped by our little driveway table to have hot mulled cider, had all gone home. We stopped by the Martinuccis’ place, where all the set up stuff was piled on their front lawn, to hang out a little bit before we went home for our traditional middle-of-the-night gift-wrapping extravaganza.
8 p.m.: Between about 6:45 and 8, all the bags and candles were distributed and lit along the length of Holly Street. This kind of forgettable shot is from in front of our place, looking south to Cedar Street. Dozens of people have showed up to walk the streets this year. All the familiar faces from around the neighborhood, and lots of people we haven’t met before. Even the beat cops are coming by to check out what’s going on.
6:54 p.m. PST: The first luminaria in the neighborhood are lit. These are actually a block away from us, on Buena Street, looking east from California. All of these were in place by dark. And not only here. For nearly a half mile along California to the south and on many adjoining blocks, the luminaria were all set out and ready to go by nightfall, too. Amazing to think this has all spread from our little celebration on Holly Street, which started 13 years ago tonight. Ironically, folks on our street are just out now putting out the bags. More later.
“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected it with another and to assume among the powers of the Earth the separate and equal station which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.”
Kate and I and a neighbor, Jill Martinucci, read (or maybe performed is a better word) a slightly abridged version of the Declaration to the assembled multitudes at our street’s annual Fourth of July picnic today. The main event at the gathering is a watermelon-seed-spitting contest (a new neighborhood record, 43 feet-plus, was set today), so I was afraid reading this, even with our little interjections, would be seen as a little preachy. But several people came up to us later to day they hadn’t read the Declaration in a while and it was good to hear the words again.