David Hockney’s “Pearblossom Highway, 11-18 April 1986, #2”
This the way I remember it: the way it was decades ago. Yesterday, Martine and I took a road trip to Littlerock, California. Why? We were looking for smoked Hungarian sausage (füstölt kolbász) which was no longer available from our usual source, as the Alpine Village Market in Torrance was no more. I had a distant memory of the Valley Hungarian Sausage & Meat Company in Littlerock, where I had purchased some good kolbász years ago, when my mother was still alive. Then I heard from my brother Dan of a place called Tibor’s that sold kolbász somewhere in the Antelope Valley.
So I took a chance and drove along California 14 (the Antelope Valley Freeway) with its vanishing lanes past the Vasquez Rocks where Captain Kirk battled the reptilian Gorn on Cestus III, past the Red Rover Mine Road and Acton, until we got yo California 138, the Pearblossom Highway, which runs from the 14 all the way to the I-15 at Victorville.
“Where did all those people come from?” I wondered as I saw all the suburban developments that have sprung up in what is now called Canyon Country. I continued asking the same question as I saw how the Pearblossom Highway was no longer “Where the Streets Have No Name,” as Bono and the U2 sang.
Well, the Streets Now Have Names
On the way to Tibor’s, we stopped at Charlie Brown Farms—also in Littlerock—to have lunch and browse around. We quickly realized several characteristics common to the people who now lived in the area:
- Everyone was at least thirty pounds overweight, even the kiddies
- If they had any discretionary income, it was spent at the local tattoo parlor
- To a man, woman, and child, they looked liked bad ass wannabes
We located Tibor’s easily: It was the same as the old Valley Hungarian Sausage & Meat Company. Unfortunately, it was not well stocked. When asked for füstölt kolbász, they said they didn’t have any in stock. That’s kind of like finding no tortillas in a Mexican food store or pasta in an Italian deli. We bought some other kolbász, which turned out to be good. But it was an awfully long drive for slim pickings.
Still, it got Martine out of the house, and she enjoyed the drive to an area she had never seen before. And the California poppies along the road were like golden explosions of faerie light.
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