Wednesday, October 03, 2007

They do Target with Palms out here...

Jon and Susie were from Columbus Ohio. They lived in an apartment in Pasadena when I first met them. Later we both moved to Orange County together. When Jon or Susie talked about Columbus, I rarely spent time imagining the place. They might say, "My mom is coming in from Columbus for a week" and I'd hear, "My mom is coming in from waah, blah, blah, waah for a week."

Columbus was a guy who discovered America and liked people to take school off in October. I don't know if I thought about Columbus as being in Ohio since I didn't even know Ohio bordered Kentucky at that point in time. Ohio = pale faced middle aged men with bellies who came to the Rose Bowl to watch OSU get beat by a Pac-Ten team.

Yeah, that was me. A southern California snob slash narcissist.

So when Susie's Jon told me that he really missed "hardwood deciduous trees" and hugged them when he went home to visit, I blinked. I didn't know a deciduous from a tulip bulb. And here he was, all male and top sider-ish telling me that he longed for a specific kind of tree. California was too arid and closed up with fences and yards and trees that didn't lose leaves, like ever, since it was never fall.

I smiled the smile of sympathy without understanding.

Then three years later, I moved to Ohio.

And I saw what Jon saw. Those trees are worth hugging. They so are. They're big and give shade and have leaves that make great piles for raking and jumping into. The bark is textured and the moss grows at the base and makes fairy houses for small children. So one day I "got it." Jon missed *those* trees. Of course he did.

And then, about a year later, in the middle of nuclear winter when the Ohio trees were laid bare, my heart panged. I looked out the window to the dreary landscape and.... longed. Like Susie's Jon. Only I didn't long for the trees in my window. I longed for the California palms.

I missed the tall skinny trunks, the funky 1960s fringe hairdo they never get over, the way they stand up higher than buildings weaving and bobbing for twenty years yet never coming down. And they don't even give shade. Palm trees have a sense of humor and they stay green. I missed them.

But not today. One trip to Target in Burbank and instant gratification to my southern California senses. Target goes better with palms, don't you think?

Yeah, I'm here in southern Cal. It's awesome.


Kansas Bob said...

I know what you are saying Julie. Growing up in NYC I loved the ocean (albeit the Atlantic) and going to the beach. I have been in Kansas since 1976 and have a hard time remembering those days ... but occasionally I read something like your post and seem to be transported back in time ... thanks for taking me there!

Have a great time in the sun ... don't stay too long or you'll miss the beautiful fall in the heartland :)

Maria said...

When I moved to So. Cal, what I missed most was running water -- lakes, streams, rivers. We're off to our new Target this morning -- have to drive 45 minutes, one of the few drawbacks of our new home! I'll let you know if they have palm trees in Ventura!

carrie said...

Wow! Palm tress make even a Target look exotic!

Variety is a wonderful thing. When I'm at the beach I'm mesmerized by the ocean, when in the mountains I can't get over the beauty. I love the four seasons but get nostalgic for the warm, play-outside-all-year, evergreen winters of my youth in SE Texas. Yep- variety is great.

Enjoy your trip!