A path less taken

OK, let’s dispense with a few Chico newcomer clichés immediately.

Yes, I said “ES-pla-NAHDE” until gentle conditioning turned it into “ES-pla-NAYDE.”

I still say “AL-monds” and probably always will. (It’s not in my nature to shake the “L” out of anything.) But I promise to understand the people who are nutty about A’-monds.

This isn’t a place without traffic. People in gridlocked Southern California looked at me with envy when I said I was moving here, but they must not have seen Skyway and the 99 at 7:50 a.m. But still, relatively speaking … there’s not much traffic.

I already knew about the one-way streets, but don’t ask me to pick them out on a map. My dad was at 9th and Salem and wanted to get to 2nd and Orient—my direction to take a left on Broadway didn’t work so well.

I’m sure there’s a logic to the whole street-avenue thing, and I’m equally sure I’ll learn it over time.

Boy, does it get hot in Chico! Wait, maybe I should have made that a question; I’ve seen more rain than sunshine lately. Does it get hot in Chico? I know it will, and all too soon.

I know this is a great party town; I’ve just been too domestic to experience it. Work all day, see family and pets at night, rise in time to feed the llamas and restart the cycle.

Yes, you read that right: feed the llamas. I’m staying on a five-acre spread, and my chores for the week include pack-animal care.

See, my newcomer experience isn’t wholly cut from the cliché cloth. It’s not quite “Green Acres,” but I see a lot of green acreage.

And the bounty thereof.

Saturday morning, I took a leisurely stroll through the parking lot at 3rd and Flume, absorbing the sights, sounds and smells of the Farmers’ Market. Vendors—ranging from entrepreneur-club children to veteran bakers and gardeners—calmly hawked shirts, stationery, breads, nuts, fruits, honeys, plants and crafts. Creedence Clearwater Revival got fresh treatment from an acoustic act. The scents of herbs and flowers mingled in uncommon combinations.

Thursday Night Market may be more acclaimed, but for now, anyway, I’m content with paths less taken … or at least less known.