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Home Sweet Ukiah

Reese Witherspoon is a favorite actress of mine. Next to Kate Winslet who was in the movie Titanic. I loved that scene where she steams up the windows with Leonardo DiCaprio just before the boat goes down.

I have a young friend who needed to go to DMV and I thought it a good idea for me to take him to the Ukiah DMV Office. We could combine a trip to Ukiah, the DMV office and then stay over at the ranch for the night. So, one morning we loaded up in Santa Rosa and headed north. We got to DMV at around 11 am. There was already a line outside of the door waiting to be screened and given a number. The employee, complete with a cart and a lot of papers and a monitor was very helpful, however it was about time for the staff to go on a lunch break and we would be there for a couple of hours. She thought we could be better served if we came back at 2 pm. This was not a large problem for us as we needed to go to Safeway for some food. We finished our purchases and drove back to my ranch for some lunch, put the food away and about 2 pm we returned to the Ukiah DMV. 

Things did not go well from that point on. My friend did not have all of the necessary papers so he could get a real ID to fly with, and the birth date on his existing driver’s license was one year off. We would have to come back to Home Sweet Ukiah at another later date.

On the south side of Ukiah by the airport is a period coffee shop. It was built as a bank (Savings Bank, I think), but people on the south side of Ukiah do not use banks so it was converted to a very cute 1950s style diner (Be-Bop Diner). They have the best chocolate milkshakes ever made (in my opinion).

So, my friend tools into the parking lot on the south side of the diner building into the parking lot. The Motel 6 is right next door. We observed a fracas just outside of the Diner on the curb with some Ukiah street people (3 or 4). One person was laying down face up while another person was giving some sort of abbreviated CPR without any mouth to mouth, just waving his hands in the air. I asked the waitress about the fracas and she replied “just happens daily.”

So, on the way back to our car with the best milkshake ever we heard a siren approaching. A Ukiah police car pulled into the parking lot. Then a Ukiah police officer exited the car and surveyed the scene. Within a heartbeat a second Ukiah Police car pulled into the parking lot almost blocking us in. Again, a police officer exited his car and joined the first officer surveying the scene. Just a moment later a third Ukiah police car pulled up right behind the first two. This driver exited the car and joined the other two officers surveying the scene. We heard a siren coming from the north, and, sure enough, it was now an ambulance. It pulled up to the curb and out jumped two paramedics. They threw open the back door of the ambulance and retrieved a stretcher to put the ailing Ukiah street person on so he could be loaded into the ambulance and carted off to the local and only Ukiah Adventist Hospital, a very well maintained and staffed hospital. 

While this was happening all of the other Ukiah street people vanished. They were gone, even the one pulling a small child. But also while this was happening two more emergency fire pickups arrived on the scene. They were followed by the arrival of a full-sized Ukiah firetruck, now parked facing north in the southbound lane of State Street right in front of the ambulance next to the curb.

So, just to review, there were three police cars, two fire department pickups, one ambulance, and one full sized firetruck all clustered around this individual who has stopped waving his hands. But the paramedics thought he should still be transported to the local hospital. That is SEVEN vehicles and EIGHT personnel. I tried to explain to my young friend about Measure B and how much we care for mental illness here in Mendocino County, but all I could think of was just where is Reese Witherspoon when I need her? We drove around the back of the Diner and exited onto State Street headed south. The ambulance was gone but there were five uniformed personnel all clustered together discussing lord knows what. 

I got one final look at the firetruck to see if the back windows were steamed up. They all looked clear, so they turned off the siren and red lights. Everything was ok to go. Kate must not have been there.

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