I met someone from Columbus, Ohio today. He owns a petty cab, but I forgot to ask if he works in the snow. He was enjoying his visit here in Oakland. We’d met up at the Place for Sustainable Living in the Temescal/North Oakland area thanks to my friend Mary Ann.
I told him how much I love Oakland, and he asked why. He was probably even more curious after learning I’d lived in a number of different towns and cities throughout California.
“Ah, what makes Oakland special?”, I thought. There are so many things, but the first thing that came to mind was the warmth and openness of the people who live here. So many of the people walking down the street, neighbors, coworkers, roommates and the people I ride the bus with all have a moment to smile and tip their hat. Or, they have time to really get to know you and bestow little gifts upon you.
My early morning bus ride to work is long, but fun. There’s a group of about six of us women who sit up front telling stories, sharing photos of our kids, grandkids, friends and “framily” members. We also like to share food and other baubles or stuff of life. A bag full of sheets for a co-worker. A giant Tupperware full of home made banana muffins (thanks again Sherry!), or a bag of plastic beads and masks. What made these extra special to me what that they’d come all the way from Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. One of the riders is from there and her relatives send her a bunch every year. So, I was the lucky recipient of these fine jewels. That’s not “New Orleans” in the photo. That’s Deborah, and she gets on at the first stop. She’s definitely “the ring leader” and most fun out of all of us. And, yes, if you heard the whole story you’d be moved too by the odds she overcomes each day.
So, who are the people in your neighborhood? Those are mine and as always, I feel blessed!