Monday, March 01, 2010

I arrived in Palm Springs Sunday, only a little sleep deprived, and relished my long quiet day in a hotel room, mostly napped and read and just treasured the quiet. First I explored the little city and marveled at the care of the landscaping and the presence of petunias as big as saucers - reminded me of my own Southern California yard, all the petunias Mama and i planted over the years there, and the pride she took in their huge blooms. Palm Springs streets were very quiet on a Sunday morning, a little busier by noon. It's a funny town, set up for tourists with money I think. So many banks, restaurants, car dealerships heavy on Lexus and Mercedes. And yet there are poor people in Palm Springs. When I shopped in the drug store I noticed several signs proclaiming "Rite Aid does not condone solicitation of money from our patrons." Sure enough, as I left the store a woman about my age asked me if I could spare any change. I gave her two dollars, because I would rather be taken advantage of than leave a need unmet. then I walked past a store devoted to rip off designer sunglasses. We humans are so odd in the way we think about resources - what we need, want, how we'll spend for an apparent bargain. ,

I bought dates at a candy shop and remembered Daddy stopping for dates every time we went through a palm desert oasis. They tasted as good last week as they did in my childhood. The sweet stickiness, even the hardness of the oval seed took me back to the best moments of Texas to California and back again road trips before car air conditioning..

Sunday, before my room was ready, I explored the little Plam Springs history museum and learned that the Agoura Caliente Indians long capitalized on the presence of the oasis and settled near it. The white man who first bought land from them with intention of building a home the oasis was a desperate father. He hoped the dry desert weather would prevent his third and last son's death from tuberculosis. The boy died anyway the springs suffered from drought, and the parents died without any pay off from their investment. One of the dead boy's surviving sisters (and the Indians who had retained ownership to alternating squares in the checkerboard of land purchased) got rich off the desperate father's investment. I sure got to enjoy the elegance which grew out of the original risk taken and many investment and development choices made since.At the museum I saw man pictures of the movie stars of my parents' generation playing at Palm Springs. my favorite was Shirley Temple, who had her sixth birthday party there, but there were also pictures of Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, Doris Day, and of course, Bob Hope. We could actually see his huge, mushroom like party house up on the hill overlooking the resort where we stayed. This seems like a city designed for pleasure. I especially understand the pleasure people from cold parts of the country get coming here in winter. There was no color on the fields I traveled to get to Palm Springs - winter prevailed, but not once we entered the resort. I enjoyed walking around without my coat for the first time in way too long,

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