December 4th, 2019

munkacsy_parc_monceau

Bussery

After a false start when I missed a bus by less than a minute, I finally went to Safeway this afternoon. I hit the post office and Rite Aid first, and by the time I left the market it was dark out. I spent about ten minutes waiting for the bus home, and heavy traffic meant that it was a very slow trip and I didn't get back here until almost six o'clock. Chico is not pedestrian friendly by day, and at night it is even worse, but at least now I've done it. It's inconvenient, and carrying three bags of groceries on the bus is not fun, but if it is essential I'll probably do it again. But if so I'll definitely time it better.

When I missed the first bus I decided to check the books at the Goodwill store, and found a couple of them worth buying. One is from Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series, and features vintage photos and a (not too well written) history of the region from Magalia to Stirling City, which is the region just above Paradise. Magalia started out as the gold rush settlement of Dogtown, and was renamed after being rebuilt following a fire that wiped it out in the 1870s. Fires are nothing new in the Sierra. Stirling City is an old logging town quite a few miles farther up the ridge. Over a period of several decades it was Stirling City's business to cut down pine trees and ship them by rail to the Diamond Match factory in Chico, where they were converted into matchsticks. An entire generation of pines from the region were burned to light people's kitchen stoves, pipes, cigars, and fireplaces.

The other book I bought is a discard from the Santa Clara School District's library. It even still has the card in it, and is wrapped in that nice, clear plastic covering libraries use. It is The Collected Novels of Conrad Aiken, and contains five complete novels, including one that had not previously been published. Aiken is better known for his poetry, which has never been very popular, than for his novels, but Graham Greene was a fan, calling him "...perhaps the most exciting, the most finally satisfying of living novelists...." I've actually never read any of the novels, though he was long on my list of writers I'd like to get around to someday. Whether I actually will now or not remains to be seen. I no longer look that far ahead.

Something I'm going to have to hunt down is one of those thin, plastic, fresnel lens magnifying cards I can use to read all the small-print omnibus editions of novels I've been buying. I've seen the credit-card sized version available in multi-packs from many web sites, but I used to have one a bit larger that was just right for reading books. I keep forgetting to look for one at the drug stores. Maybe I can check at CVS tomorrow. I can probably get out. It isn't supposed to rain again until Friday, though it is still damp outside. There wasn't enough sunshine today to dry things out. December here in the valley is rather dismal.