Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Travelogue: Lightning in a Bottle, Part 4

What: An Art and Music Festival with a New Age Twist
Where: Bradley, CA
When: Friday, May 22nd to Monday, May 25th
With Whom: my friend Ashley and her boyfriend Matt

Part 4: Making Friends

Before we came, Ashley suggested bringing gifts. I decided to bake muffins. Vegan banana muffins with cranberries. Vegan banana muffins without cranberries. Lemon cranberry muffins made with yogurt and eggs and hence not vegan.

Four dozen muffins are surprisingly heavy to haul up the hill. When I examine them afterwards, I discover that many are smooshed.

But I've brought the muffins here so I might as well give them away. Bright and early Saturday morning (by which I mean 9:00 AM), I arrange the least squished muffins in a basket and walk down the road with Ashley.

"Good morning," I say. "Would you like a muffin? They're free."

"You look like someone who could use a free muffin," Ashley says.

People are receptive to free food. We receive hugs and smiles and are called "muffin angels." I feel good about breaking the ice and getting to know some of our new neighbors.

Later in the day, people remember me.

We don't bribe our neighbors, Jeff and Annie, with muffins, but Jeff helps us with our flag and we offer Annie a ginger ale when she complains of a sore stomach. We spend Saturday afternoon chatting with them. Sunday afternoon, we hit a tent that offers free tea and meet a couple of bright-eyed young girls with necklaces of aura-enhancing nuts. One girl wears daisy cat ears.

That same day, a couple of girls with eyes painted above their forehead approach me while I'm sitting at our tent.

"Were you a substitute at Brea?" they ask me.

I answer yes.

"You subbed for us," they said. "We were students at Brea High. We graduated last year."

I give a sheepish smile, suddenly feeling profoundly old and out of place.

* * *
To Be Continued...

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