Avalon. The very name evokes ancient mysteries, for its legends that some dare call "history" have long harbored mystical and mythological meanings. Arthur. Excalibur. Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King. Avalon, in italics, is the name of one of my favorite rock records ever, and I cannot emphasize enough (though this time proper grammar dictates no italics) that Avalon is also one of my favorite destinations ever. I wouldn't doubt that Bryan Ferry or Phil Manzanera fancies it as well.
When in Avalon ... And so we took a tour of the town in one such buzzing golf cart. Drove steep one-lane roads that wound above town, where beautiful "blue dick" flowers flourished beside the punishing paddles of prickly pear cacti (ouch!); and where, finally, up in these sunburnt hills high above Avalon, the subtle, intermingled, intermittent scents of open air eateries, fish, admixture of sunscreen and sweat, tidal surge and salty air, are pungently purged by the funky aromas of chaparral. Stopped the golf cart abruptly and took a whiff of this weird windblown bloom. Kids called me crazy for sniffing the air like some white rabbit. Drove on, but stopped again soon, this time at the entrance to a gated road on Mt. Ada that led higher up a steep ridge to the Wrigley's famous manor overlooking everything they once owned . . . .
I closed my eyes there for a second at the overlook under the Wrigley mansion and saw, in black-and-white, in stills that mysteriously floated by, this astonishing image of a baseball diamond and outfield on an island in my mind. Wrigley built it, and the Cubs came. The team arrived every winter before The War for spring training . . . .
|l., Chicago Cubs Signed Baseball 1931; r., Cubs Third Baseman Stan Hack's Baseball Glove (Catalina Island Museum)|