Los Angeles is a city of great love stories—real and fantasy. Let me tell you one of them. After all, February 2016 has Valentine’s Day and Sadie Hawkins’ Day—that every 4 year phenomenon of a 29th day Leap Year. [In days of yore, on Sadie Hawkins’ Day a woman/girl was permitted to ask a man/guy for a date. Yes, the world has changed.]
Sadie Hawkins Day was first mentioned in the November 15, 1937 “Li’l Abner” daily strip.
Even in our ‘hook-up’ environment, preliminaries usually begin with a “date”.
A word with multiple meanings, “date” in its simplest form is the fruit of the palm tree (taateli). Date can mean (treffit) –a potentially romantic meeting between two individuals. The Internet and all of its iterations has redefined “dating”, but for our purposes we will use its simplest, old-fashioned form where a lady or girl was invited by a gentleman or boy for some alone time with an agreed-upon starting hour, on a specific day, for a shared activity such as a meal, a movie, a concert, or a prom. Both parties played by the same rules hoping to make a romantic connection leading to a possible future relationship—or, at least, another date. Hollywood made millions on movies of the varieties of good, bad, tragedy, and comedy premises. My date story is of the ‘50s “… and they lived happily ever after” genre.
But, for an added ‘hook’, there is a palm tree involved!
Our beloved City of Angels is known for its palm trees. Finns have called it missä palmut huivuu –the place where the palm trees sway. There are many species of palm trees, but the most prevalent here are the tall coconut and date palms. If you drive around west LA and Santa Monica, you will see these amazing, tall, skinny ‘towers’ bending and swaying with the wind. Their supernatural structures endure the Santa Ana winds and other environmental issues in seeming defiance of the laws of nature and physics with a fairly small root structure. Their inner fortitude seems to say: “I belong here. I can take it. I am here to stay.”
Each morning, my first view at first light is of a palm tree across the street. The palm is probably approaching 150 feet tall, rising majestically above all other trees and landscape in the neighborhood. Let me tell you the love story behind that palm tree.