The author dedicates his work to Dan Durigan, now deceased, former longshoreman and owner of Durigano’s Nursery in Pescadero.
Somewhere Near the Great Khan
In Half Moon Bay
By Erich Viktor von Neff
The Pierce Arrow
The motor of the Pierce Arrow purred. Walt, my grandfather, let it warm up, engaged it in first, and we headed down the old Coast Highway toward Half Moon Bay. It was a beautiful road overlooking the sea. Salty air blew through the open windows. We sucked it into our lungs. We drove by fields of artichokes and Brussels sprouts. Broad brimmed hats faced us…occupied by Mexicans, Filipinos, and other farm workers. The Pierce Arrow passed row upon row, field after field of ripe green vegetables.
Our lungs continued to drink in the fecund coastal air. Walt turned off at Half Moon Bay. He drove down Main Street and parked in front of Pete’s Café.
“Buon giorno,�? Pete said in a hearty Italian voice as we entered. “Buon giorno,�? my grandfather replied. They laughed and slapped each other on the back. We found an empty table, amongst the tables of men speaking Tagalog, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish. Their voices chiming into one another, clashing, then trailing off.
Pete brought us two bowls of minestrone soup, two Dos Equis beers, Larraburu French bread and butter.
Walt cut off a slice of butter, and dropped it into the soup. He also broke off a piece of French bread which he dipped into the soup from time to time as he ate. I did the same. Was there any better way to eat minestrone soup?