In the cool of the afternoon a longer walk. Good trails lead over the whole place, and sometimes we would go afield and call on some neighbor. Almost invariably they were Italians, who were thriving where improvident Americans had given up in despair. Always my friend found friendly welcome. This one he had helped out of a trouble with a refractory pump, that one he had befriended in some other way. All were glad to see him, and wished him well. What a poor investment it is to quarrel with a neighbor!
Sometimes my friend would busy himself by leading water to some neglected and thirsty plant, while I was re-reading “Tom Grogan” or Brander Matthews’ plays, but for much of the time we talked and exchanged views on current topics or old friends. When the evening came we prudently went inside and continued our reading or our talk till we felt inclined to seek our comfortable beds and the oblivion that blots out troubles or pleasures.
And so on for five momentous days. Quite unlike the “Seven Days” in the delightful farce-comedy of that name, in which everything happened, here nothing seemed to happen. We were miles from a post-office, and newspapers disturbed us not. The world of human activity was as though it were not. Politics as we left it was a disturbing memory, but no fresh outbreaks aggravated our discomfort. We were at rest and we rested. A good recipe for long life, I think, would be: withdraw from life’s turmoil regularly—five days in a month.
The Humboldt County business established and conducted on honor by Alex. Brizard was continued on like lines by his three sons with conspicuous success. As the fiftieth anniversary approached they arranged to fitly celebrate the event. They invited many of their father’s and business associates to take part in the anniversary observance in July, 1913. With regret, I was about to decline when my good friend Henry Michaels, a State Guard associate, who had become the head of the leading house in drugs and medicines with which Brizard and his sons had extensively dealt, came in and urged me to join him in motoring to Humboldt. He wanted to go, but would not go alone and the double delight of his company and joining in the anniversary led to prompt acceptance of his generous proposal. There followed one of the most enjoyable outings of my life. I had never compassed the overland trip to Humboldt, and while I naturally expected much the realization far exceeded my anticipations.
From the fine highway following the main ridge the various branches of the Eel River were clearly outlined, and when we penetrated the world-famous redwood belt and approached the coast our enjoyment seemed almost impious, as though we were motoring through a cathedral.