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January 5, 2012

The Incomparable Juarez, believe it or not, shuts up tight for the week between Christmas and New Year. Think they’re doing well? I guess so. But it’s a hardship for the rest of us.

Some friends came out for dinner during that week, so we had to find an alternative. I gave them a choice between Dad’s Café (new), and Mac’s Old House (traditional). They chose Dad’s, but as soon as we drove up, I could tell they were a little disappointed. The name led them to expect something else: they share my tastes, and they come to Antioch for the gritty ambience.

Not that they can’t drive five miles to Oakland for that, but if they come out here, it’s, you know exotic gritty ambience.

Don’t get me wrong, Dad’s was good! It was clean and bright and very friendly, and the food was decent. But as they said when we left, it was a little “mall-ly.”

Now, if you will, cut to the actual mall. I haven’t been there in ages, because A)I’m broke and B)that entire commercial area is collapsing. But I ran across the street from Kaiser the other day, to get a sandal repaired. And look who I found there…

Our Lady of Guadalupe County East Mall 2011

I didn’t have my camera with me, so I had to come back to take the pictures. As I sat on the edge of the former fountain (whose beautiful tile work and water channel were ripped out and replaced with a ramp), fishing my camera out of my purse, a guy came up and stood in front of the display for three or four minutes, clearly praying. When he crossed himself and left, I did my best to capture Our Lady in her surroundings.

Our Lady of Guadalupe and the T-shirt store

I was able to return for the photos thanks to the gracious Melania, and a lucky thing too, as there was more to see, which she discovered, and I would have missed.

Restaurants are ever more slick and bourgeois, churches feel like upscale piano bars, but the Virgin of Guadalupe goes where she’s needed, and believe me, she knows how long Christmas lasts.

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