Saturday, July 19, 2014

At the Fresh & Best Cafe

I could think of this photo as a stage set for many recurring moments in my life where Jeffrey Klas and I sat at that same table (the "F & B" of "Fresh & Best" sometimes standing for other words when our imaginations revert to adolescence). 
The weather, hot or cold, is always an issue.  There is an umbrella available if it is too hot and sunny.  It is a common ritual for us, as the seasons change, to watch sunlight (the sun's snail-like movement is visible, we think) as withdraws its light and

shadows take over, if we are there close to evening, or, if in the other half of the day, the sun spreads its light, inch by inch, across the cement walk, and we note its progress, when all begins in morning shadow, until the sun creeps up and over us at our table, and warms us.  This intense action drama accompanies whatever conversation amuses we old and disabled companions.
      On this day a handsome young man kept moving around us so that I asked him if he was a dancer as he looked like a dancer and there are many dancers around there, but he was a photographer from the San Francisco Chronicle, troubling his equipment as he waited for some reason before he began his work to photograph something about the cafe, perhaps just to photograph its Vietnamese sandwiches, made by the three Vietnamese-American women, very young and sweet, who run the cafe.  The young man  did not sound as if he was there to photograph the ambiance of the place, so that we let him know of the energy that spills over from next door at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts as dancers and entertainers of all ages, going to and from classes, often carry their energy into the cafe, and the place buzzes with their involvement and enthusiasm  -- and on Sunday it is even more so, we told him, like being present at a big family reunion of creative (mostly African-American) people of all ages.  
     People-watching from the table on Alice Street, we seem to detect that many of our favorite kinds of people of the creative sort live on Alice Street, and I like to think it is because they knew they would find a humane magic there on a street that bore the name of the child-goddess for whom Lewis Carroll was inspired to write great books.

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