The Star Market
By Marie Howe
The people Jesus loved were shopping at the Star Market yesterday.
An old lead-colored man standing next to me at the checkout
breathed so heavily I had to step back a few steps.
Even after his bags were packed he still stood, breathing hard and
hawking into his hand. The feeble, the lame, I could hardly look at them:
shuffling through the aisles, they smelled of decay, as if the Star Market
had declared a day off for the able-bodied, and I had wandered in
with the rest of them—sour milk, bad meat—
looking for cereal and spring water.
Jesus must have been a saint, I said to myself, looking for my lost car
in the parking lot later, stumbling among the people who would have
been lowered into rooms by ropes, who would have crept
out of caves or crawled from the corners of public baths on their hands
and knees begging for mercy.
If I touch only the hem of his garment, one woman thought,
could I bear the look on his face when he wheels around?
We spent all day Wednesday in San Francisco, which I last visited when I was two years old. We drove up the Embarcadero to Pier 39, where we went first to the Aquarium of the Bay, which has two large see-through tunnels through which one can see lots of fish and animals like anemones, starfish, anchovies, bass, sharks, rays and shovel-nosed guitarfish. It's a small but lovely aquarium that we got into half price because they swap with the National Zoo.
Then we met ribby and mrkinch at Pier 39, which is kind of like a big, all-outdoor Harborplace with sea lions, cormorants and pelicans! We ate crepes and chocolate and stopped in a magic shop, an Irish store and some other little shops. There was live entertainment and music, and did I mention the big lazy sea lions off one of the docks?
ribby walked with us to the Maritime National Park which has many historic ships from tugboats and trawlers to the grand Scottish-built Balclutha. Then she rode with us to Haight-Ashbury, where we saw the house where Jerry Garcia lived when the Grateful Dead lived in San Francisco and dragged our kids into Tibetan spirit and hookah stores. From there we headed to Golden Gate Park to see the flowers and bison -- the de Young museum's tower was closed, sadly.
Azkaban, I mean Alcatraz Island, aka The Rock, long a site of the infamous federal prison.
Sleepy sea lions at the West Marina of Pier 39. There is a restaurant overlooking the spot called the Sea Lion Cafe; however, we ate at the Crepe Cafe, which was excellent.
A shark at the Aquarium of the Bay, just outside the shops of Pier 39.
All the marine life in this aquarium lives in the San Francisco Bay and can be seen from below as well as from the sides. There are also touch tanks with rays, sharks and shellfish.
The 1886 square-rigged ship Balclutha at San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park. In the background you can see the Golden Gate Bridge.
Pelicans fly behind the rigging of the Alma, over a sea wall with resting seagulls and cormorants.
These bison live in Golden Gate Park, where there has been a herd since 1891.
We had dinner with ribby and her husband at Pacific Catch, a very good and not at all expensive seafood restaurant near the park. The kids were getting rambunctious by the end, so we took them back to the hotel to swim before we had to start packing up to head south in the morning...route may depend on the Big Sur fire, though will certainly include the Monterey Aquarium.