The Great Easter Caper

On my way into work yesterday morning, I had a scheme. It was a simple scheme: stop by the Headlands and get a hot chocolate and a croissant. I am slowly rediscovering the joy I once I had in food, I slept in due to being up late, I was sad because I was going to work, and I thought these items might help.

Alas, Headlands is closed for Easter.

You’d think after going to Headlands for almost 11 years now, I would remember that they close on Easter. Headlands closes for few holidays, after all, and I shouldn’t be so shocked every time it happens. Especially since they post a giant sign to warn patrons. But no, I never remember. And every time a deep sense of misery and betrayal fills my heart.

As I trudged disconsolately to work, I suddenly remembered an Easter adventure which happened several years ago. When I got home I went through my photo albums and found the images (if I can track down a scanner I will post them for your edification). The memory put a smile on my face.

You see, in 2003 we held a picnic at Headlands on Easter Sunday.

It was a most splendid event. We brought all sorts of potluck items, folding chairs, and a small table. There was even a pot of African violets, as I recall, and we sat out in the sun eating and talking and generally enjoying ourselves. Our group fluxed in size from six to twelve, and anyone who came down Laurel Street was welcome, including older individuals who had forgotten that Headlands was closed on Easter. Everyone helped themselves to Chris’ chocolate chip cookies, my yam pasties, Michelle’s salad, and other assorted goodies. Laurel Street came alive like any other day.

At one point someone called the police on us for disturbing the peace. We offered the officer a cookie. He declined, but he didn’t cite us either. He seemed, if anything, entertained by the whole affair.

I hadn’t thought of our Easter picnic for quite some time. Of those gathered there in 2003, most have moved away and some of us have lost touch altogether. But looking through the images put a deep and satisfied smile on my face–there were Ben and Michelle being stuffed into the Jetta’s trunk. Chris squirting whipped cream all over Ryan. Mike and I in an epic thumbwrestling battle. Really, the only thing missing from the pictures is coffee (a drink which I personally find abhorrent, although I understand others have differing opinions). The images remind me that Headlands is more than a coffeehouse, more than a successful local business–it’s a social hub, a home, a gathering place, and a point of reference. Even when Headlands is closed, people flock there like moths to a flame, rain or shine.

Headlands, for me, is a second home. Whenever I go on trips, I have to drive by Headlands on the way home, no matter what time it is. When I’m seeking information, I go to Headlands first. When I’m meeting creepy strangers over the internet to sell them my car, I meet them at Headlands. I have a number of friends with Headlands-related body modifications, even. I’ve spent countless hours in Headlands reading, eating food, playing cards, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit. It’s the first place I take people when they visit me. (Yes, even when it’s closed, I drive by and say “this is Headlands, we’ll go there tomorrow.”) And if anyone’s looking for a full review of every item in the deli case, I can help them out because I’ve got encyclopedic knowledge of essentially every food Headlands has ever carried. (Ahem, yes I do remember the vegan chocolate cake.)

Headlands has even led to some entertaining misunderstandings, including once which led one group of people to the physical headlands of Mendocino and another to the establishment Headlands in Fort Bragg. Luckily, we were reunited in the end.

I think next year I will have to revive the tradition, because it was great fun. And because every town should have a family like the Gealys, and a place to go like the Headlands, and the annual Easter closure causes me to remember and appreciate that fact. I’ll see you later today, I’m sure, guys.

[Fort Bragg]