Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Davis is a good place for local "happenings."

Several years ago, we went to a gala unveiling of an exterior wall on the public bathroom in Central Park.  The wall had been designed by local artist Heidi Bekebrede and the event came with musicians, speeches, and refreshments.

Heidi is a beloved local artist, who creates "Cuteware," very distinctive looking pieces of ceramics.  I was once thrilled to get one at a Christmas white elephant gift exchange.  The person who brought it had no idea what she had, nor did anyone else there, so I carefully guarded it and at the end of the evening brought it home.  It is one of my prized possessions.

There was also an all-town celebration for the completion of a toad tunnel under a newly built overpass, and the little village created by the father of the postmaster for the toads waiting to cross the road from the post office to the dog park on the other side.  The buildings even have solar paneling.

(actual tunnel circled)
Wikipedia reports that the tunnel cost $14,000, while the book "Northern California Curiosities" reports $12,000. The book "Weird California" claims it was $30,000.  In any event, it was a lot and there is, to date (a couple of decades later, I believe) there is no recorded evidence that it has ever been used by any toads and the houses designed for them are now falling into disrepair.

But the grand opening included closing the overpass, which was predicted to cause the demise of frogs trying to cross the road, and having a party on it, including a band and dancing.

Davis is a town ready to party.  There is a portable stage that can be moved to wherever you want to have your party, even if it's in your own back yard (we went to such a gathering) and there is an inflatable movie screen which can be set up in the park to show movies on warm summer nights.
And, of course, there is Picnic Day, the biggest event in town.  It's like your kid's school's open house, only the "house" is the campus of the University of California and many departments find things to put on display, from a cow with a hole in its stomach (so students can study the digestive process), to daschund races to a battle of bands from several UC campuses.

There are parades whenever an event warrants one.  When our kids were little, we took them to see the Christmas parade and the Easter parade and discovered that there were more people IN the parades than actually watching them.  Anybody with a truck and a group of happy revelers can join the parade and if you have an unusual bicycle, even better.

Tonight we went to another "happening."  Many years ago, our kids were in school with the Kalisky kids.  We continued to have nodding acquaintance with their parents, Mo and Trudy, for the next 40-some-odd years.  Some time ago, they opened a bakery called "Upper Crust."  I don't think they sold anything out of the bakery but you could always see them at farmers' markets.  Whenever I ran into Trudy, she was full of stories about her kids and gave me some of her baked goods.

Recently, they took over the old spot where Radio Shack used to be and turned it into a bakery.  Today was their "Grand Opening" and I expected to find a small crowd.  I didn't realize it was going to be a huge deal.

There was a huge crowd and Trudy told me we missed the ribbon cutting, but there was lots of food...and was there ever, starting with a huge challah bread, sliced thick, that a boy was slathering with whipped butter from a vat.

They served pizza and paella (chicken and vegetarian), had tons of drinks and some sweet things to taste.  It was just...incredible.

The one thing missing was familiar faces.  20-30 years ago if we went to something like this, we'd know most of the people there.  I only knew one person, and a guy I didn't know came to ask me whether I was reviewing the opening or not.

But it was fun, and when I went into the store to buy some challah to take home, I saw a page from a book which showed Mo, Trudy and probably their son Loren.

This particular strip mall has been death to most businesses which set up there, especially food places.  But based on the people who were there tonight, and the long history of the Upper Crust, I suspect this is a business that is going to last.  I already want to go back and try some of the other breads, after we finish our challah.

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