Last Friday was the Second Friday Art Walk here in Vallejo. From the Vallejo art Walk website, “Organized by members of the The Vallejo Arts Alliance, this event is an opportunity for artists to showcase their work in a very casual setting. Entertainment and food is provided to encourage visitors to walk among the art galleries and downtown businesses.”
This last Friday I hosted my very first Salon in the new dining room of our very own Provisions. There was food, oh boy was there food. The Fried Chicken Sandwich was flying out of the kitchen. (Yes, chickens can fly . . . a little.) There was even a little wine to be had. One of my very favorite wineries in California is located in Angels Camp, off Highway 4 on the way to Murphys. Murphys is home of the frog jumping contest written about by Mark Twain in his short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”. The wine, from Prospect 772, I assure you, is not froggy nor does it make you jumpy. Quite the opposite actually. The owners of Prospect 772 are Wendy Sanda and Ron Perotti. They are friends and acquaintances of mine, respectively. For my money I find their wines to be among the best I have ever had. That night we enjoy the 2016 Black Tie Charlie. A blend of 50% Petite Syrah and 50% Syrah with grapes coming from Livermore, Calaveras and . . . wait for it . . .Solano Counties. It was warm, full and soft on my palate. If you happen to show up at the Provisions Thanksgiving Dinner you may be able to get a taste.
If you have followed my writings then you probably know that the moment I heard of Fresh Air Vallejo I poked my head up out of the sand. The work that Peter Brooks, Anne Carr and a few others to whom I am sorry that I do not yet know your names, did in reading the EIR report and speaking out against this potentially dangerous development, sparked my interest in our community. But what can one person do? Well, being more than a little tired of hearing about all the great wines in Napa and how Vallejo is “The Gateway” to the Napa valley, I decided that I would seek out and try the food from all the great little places we have tight here. It has been great fun and I am 12 pounds heavier for it. But what more can I do?
I am reminded of a story by 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai, “I will be a humming bird.” The story goes like this: One night the forest caught fire and all the animals ran to the water’s edge for safety. “What shall we do?” they all asked, except for the humming bird. The humming bird flew to the water and picked up one drop of water in its beak, flew back as fast as she could and dropped the water on the fire. Back and forth, back and forth she went dropping on drop of water at a time on the fire. The other animals asked her why she was doing that. Even the elephant with its big trunk which could hold a lot of water, did nothing. She replied, without wasting any time,” I am doing the best that I can, all that I can.”
This last Friday I tried something new and hosted The V-Town Social Club’s First Salon. My idea is to have speakers, once a month, share their stories, answer a few questions, then, filled with good wine and food, we ‘talk amongst ourselves.’ One thing I find missing in our public debates is the civility of listening and hearing the other person before thoughtfully replying. It is my wish that through these monthly Salons that here in Vallejo we can some time to share a bite and a sip, listen to someone we may never have considered listening to before and then sharing our thoughts with our neighbors. So I did it, and it worked.
I was honored and privileged to have Pati Navalta of the Robby Poblete Foundation and Kathy O’Hare from Obtainium Works share their stories at this First Salon. As you may know, Pati’s son Robby Poblete was lost to us due to gun violence, here in Vallejo. Pati’s story is both saddening and maddening at the same time. It took her a few years but she decided to try being a humming bird and contacted State and local officials in an effort organize a gun buyback program. To her surprise, all of the other animals she asked for help showed up. This was the start of The Robby Poblete Foundation. Kathy O’Hare was instrumental in the second part of Pati’s goal: The Art of Peace. Kathy help organize artists and worked closely with the Foundation to take the weapons that were turned in and create works of art from the old metal and wood. I was at the opening of the exhibit some months ago, here in Vallejo and found the evening to be far more emotional than I had anticipated. Kathy continued to tell us how her involvement with the Art Alliance led to such great things AS the Second Friday Art Walk and Vallejo’s Participatory Budgeting Program.
To me, and those who I have spoken with afterwards, the evening was a success. Pati and Kathy were both passionate and eloquent. Their stories as compelling as the humming bird’s. When faced with the question of what to do, both of them replied, “I will be a humming bird.” I am sure that everyone in attendance that night will agree with me when I say to these two women, “You are more than a humming bird.” Thank you for helping to put out our forest fire.
Until next time,
Eat Well and Smile Often