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on the road to mandalay

October 20, 2007

where the flying fishes play
and the sun comes up like thunder over China ‘cross the bay.

I heard a great sung version of that poem a long, long time ago on the radio; it must have been in New Haven. I’ve never been able to find it again.

Anyway, what I could remember of it was running through my head as I walked to Deer Valley yesterday morning. Looking east from Antioch gives you a great view of sunrise on a clear day– up the river and over (what used to be) grasslands. When I commuted to Alameda or Solano counties, I would occasionally catch sight of the huge orange sun just coming up in my rear view mirror.

It was homecoming day at Deer Valley– at Antioch High, too, I guess. Though I’ve never had the slightest interest in such events anywhere, personally, it’s odd to think about homecoming at a place like Deer Valley, which although very large, is rooted in a complete non-community: what’s called, for lack of a better term, southeast Antioch. A place which has sprung up overnight and only achieves the little cohesion it has through shared animosity– at least so it seems to me. Antioch High was at least the focal point of an actual town.

There are so many wonderful, nice, intelligent kids at Deer Valley. I hope the whole area eventually develops into a real place.

I ran out of the house without my usual ziploc bag of cereal in my purse, so I had to find the teachers’ lunchroom to get something to eat. They had one choice: meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, and vegetables cooked to death in a way I haven’t seen since 1953, and I wasn’t even born in 1953.

All I could think of was, “Who in the name of God can eat this stuff at 11 o’clock in the morning?” Luckily they had one fairly acceptable pre-packaged sandwich left in a side cooler; I grabbed it and ran.

Walking home, I ran into a group of six or seven boys coming the other way on the sidewalk, who greeted me with exaggerated politeness: “Hi, madam…” Caitlyn assures me that this is a running joke, but I still find it kind of endearing…

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