Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm slow

No smart comments...

I mean that I'm slow at putting down roots.  Santa Barbara is very similar to Hawaii in many ways.  The temperatures run a little cooler in Santa Barbara, but much of the flora is the same with many of the same flowers blooming in both places, the pace of life is similar, and the relationship to the ocean is similar.  That adds up to some pieces of life that surprised me when we came here. 

At graduation, many of the graduates wear orchid leis.  At that time of year, they have them in most grocery stores and Costco has a huge refrigerated display of them.  When our daughter graduated from Juniata College in Pennsylvania, we brought a lei for her and many people asked whether she was from Hawaii.   She was pleased to confuse them with "no, I'm from Santa Barbara, we wear leis too." 

Clothing in both places is very casual and very colorful.  For men, that means you see lots of Hawaiian shirts with bright colored flowers.  Yes, you do see them all over southern California, but it seems more prevalent here to me.  I remember joking about getting a Hawaiian shirt after we first moved here.  Cheryl laughed.  She knew my northeast sensibilities only wore black until they would come up with something darker.  No bright colors. Period. 

playing bass in the song circle following Andrew's service 
About two years ago (8 years into our life on the Golden Coast - reference to Katy Perry's "California Girls") I began to talk about getting a Hawaiian shirt more seriously and would pick them up and look at them in some of the clothing stores or at the local Costco.  I would look at them, knowing that wearing one would make me an official resident... but unsure about me wearing flowers. 

This past week... I bought one.   It isn't as bright as many but is is covered with hibiscus flowers, a flowers endemic to both Hawaii and Santa Barbara.  On Saturday we had a celebration of life service for my friend Andrew Jackson, a marvelous guitar player and friend who died after a courageous battle with cancer.  (do click on his name and listen to some of his wonderful music).  One of the instructions for the service was to wear Hawaiian dress.  It was a fitting tribute,  a gathering of colors, wonderful music, tears and laughter, a reminder of the importance of maintaining our circle of friends (a favorite image of Andrew's).  I wore my Hawaiian shirt and Andrew showed me that I really do belong here.

The other piece of putting down roots is that I do put down roots.  Once a place is home, it really does become my home.  Don't be surprised if I buy a few more Hawaiian shirts.

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