Sometimes, in the evening, My Beloved and I will stroll downtown for dinner, taking Cora with us. If the restaurant we choose doesn't have an outdoor deck where she can join us, we tie her to a tree outside and she waits with amazing patience for our return.
We never leave her unless we can see her from inside the restaurant. She is the calmest, kindest dog - I never worry about her behavior - I just have to make sure that the passing people are as kind and calm as she is, and that they treat her with sweetness. She usually gets a word and a pat from the passing strangers and, once or twice, such a covetous look that I have hurried outside to make sure they know she's mine!
I have said it before and I'll say it again. Best.Dog.Ever.
As we amble back up the long hill to home (it's only three blocks, but on a full stomach it feels like miles), we zig and zag through the streets of our quirky little town. Each house is different and most are sweetly unpretentious. There are zany Victorians festooned with curlicues next door to sleek moderns, and many more of mixed heritage and history, houses that have grown with families, incorporating several architectural styles over the decades. There are demure little houses peeking from behind picket fences and houses painted pumpkin orange or cobalt blue that seem to shout, "Hey, look at me!"
It's not called the Hidden City for nothing - few people in the area even know it's here, and we like rather it that way. It began as a railhead (and it still is), but those boisterous days of bars and whorehouses have tamed considerably since then. Now, it's a bedroom community for San Francisco, with only three blocks of businesses arranged in a triangle and punctuated by a statue of a lone Indian. No one seems to know why the Indian, but we love him anyway.
So, here we are, strolling home replete with Chinese chow from Little China, leftovers boxed, bagged, and swinging from My Beloved's hand, when we turn a corner and find the most amusing pumpkin patch I have ever seen.
Built along a low cement retaining wall and outside the wooden fence surrounding the house was a most creative way imaginable to support growing pumpkins. A complicated chain of boards and heavy string suspended the golden orbs and kept them safe from foot traffic, tall dogs, and ground rot. They are all connected by a rope of green stem and seem to be doing very well in their whimsical aerie.
Maybe it's this that I most love about our town - it's quirkiness. One never knows what charm will pop up from day to day. In the case of this pumpkin patch, the house is painted a paler color than the pumpkins (you can see the corner of it in the first photo), but it toned beautifully with the swelling fruit. If I see the owners, I will ask if they planned it that way. For the meantime, I'll just enjoy knowing it's there and the short break it afforded from hill climbing while I took its picture.