Evelyn and Abby left the Cypress Inn together. Abby headed up 7th to her office on Mission Street, Evelyn making her usual march across the street into the Church of the Wayfarer.
Though not particularly religious, Evelyn liked the simplicity and warmth of this landmark refuge. The walnut paneled sanctuary was over a hundred years old, the alter flanked on either side by two tapestries: Chooses the gift to be free on the left, Choose the gift to be simple on the right.
Were it that simple, Evelyn mused. Sitting in the last row of pews, Evelyn made her usual prayers for those less fortunate, gave thanks for her health, and asked forgiveness for bitching about anything. Not that she had much to bitch about. Evelyn was thankful for her life in a town that was still old fashioned. No stop lights. No street lights. No parking meters.
And while it would be hard to find elfenfolk still inhabiting the Hansel and Gretel cottages, the town did hold onto one of its more quaint laws dating back to the 1920’s prohibiting wearing shoes with more than two-inch heels. One could only guess the city was still nervous about lawsuits from tourists tripping over uneven pavement from tree roots. Not that the law was ever enforced. Still, if one wanted to be on the safe side, permits for high heels were available at City Hall. No charge.
Evelyn was particularly thankful that she lived in a town where animals, particularly dogs, were held in such high regard. But all was far from perfect in this village of gingerbread homes, galleries and bistros. For in the one square mile of the official City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, homes did not have street numbers. What residents had was a PO Box at the downtown Carmel Post Office which meant Evelyn had to go into the P.O and make nice with the locals who wanted the dirt on all the famous folk she had worked with.
Nothing less than torture for Evelyn who had spent most of her life rejecting the trappings of stardom. A virtual recluse, Hollywood press once labeled her worse than Garbo. Her aversion to dealing with the public was why she escaped to Carmel. And she was not about to suffer inquisition at the Post Office which only hastened her move out to Carmel Point which actually had street addresses and mail boxes.
Evelyn was no fool. She knew Carmel was not the real world. And she was thankful to live here, and not out there. Visiting her old hairdresser who had moved to the Alaskan wilderness, the woman proclaimed it God’s country. Evelyn agreed, “Alaska may be God’s country… but he lives in Carmel!” Evelyn was always thankful to be His neighbor.
Prayers done, Evelyn got up to leave, stopped, turned back to the alter and kneeled. “Me again… My friend, Jerry. He’ll never ask, but… maybe a little something to help him find his way… Thank you. Amen.”
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