Miss Lial was very old when I met her years ago. She lived in a very old house that hadn’t been painted for a long time on Highway 1 near Miramar. The worn-out house was hidden by thick manicured hedges and trees. The only light that could seep through the hedges was in one place only, and it was an opening in the greenery formed by Miss Lial’s shape. At her advanced age, she walked with a stoop and the artful “door” in the otherwise thick hedge fit her perfectly.
Miss Lial had lived on the Coastside for decades. Her father was called “Hightop,” because he drove a surrey with fringe on top to worship at the Catholic Church on Sundays, and when he crossed the concrete bridge in Half Moon Bay and lit up a cigar the fringe inevitably struck the sign that said “Half Moon Bay.”