Sunday, January 27, 2013

Only in Ojai

"Only in Ojai."

It's a phrase we Ojai residents recite every once in awhile when something crazy happens that can only happen in a small town like ours. Like when you look out your kitchen window on Christmas morning and and see an elderly woman sitting in a small, white carriage being pulled down your street by an even smaller pony. Or when you look out your living room window one winter day and see a man leading a real, live camel down the street. Or when you drive down the road and see a red wagon filled with avocados for sale and a tin can where people can put their money, and you marvel at how the avocados, can of money and wagon haven't been stolen and are still there when you drive past it again hours later. (That would never happen in Phoenix!) Then there's the time three beautiful stallions--who escaped from who knows where--went running down Ojai Avenue, blocking the entire right lane as traffic came to a stop and just watched the show. And my personal favorite, the fact that residents of this adorable town set their plastic chairs (and even a few dining room chairs) out on the main drag more than a week before the annual 4th of July Parade. Now that's what I call saving seats! No one bothers the chairs and no one steals them! There's the bookstore with outside bookshelves where people can purchase books after hours on the honor system by putting their money in the box on the door. Then there's those times when you have to drive really slow because there's a tractor in front of you that looks like it just plowed a nearby field. And there's the occasional glimpses we get of horses tied to a post outside the downtown coffee shop while their owners sip a cup of joe. "Only in Ojai." 

Having grown up in a really big city, I love it when things like this happen in my town. I get tickled and I relish every moment. Today was one of those times when I was laughing out loud because of what I drove behind on the way to my friend's house to pick up Amber. What I drove behind was an out-of-sorts horse with a pre-teen rider who probably wished she'd never gotten in the saddle today. I was driving downtown and came to the stop light at the historic post office. The light was red, and by the time it turned green, the horse and rider were in front of me, instead of on the side of the road where they were a few minutes ago. The horse decided it wanted to take a trot down Ojai Avenue and did just that. I had to drive about 3 miles per hour as the horse trotted along, the rider trying to steer it to the side of the street. Every time she was successful, the horse decided it wanted to be back in front of me. I didn't dare pass them because I didn't want to spook the horse. The whole time, Autumn and I are laughing, not at the poor girl, but at the situation and how it can "Only happen in Ojai!"

No comments: