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Opinion: The need for a ‘Friendly Face’

I’ve been confined to my cell for twelve weeks or more. Actually, I lost count after day 50 or 60. But, as cells go, this one ain’t too bad: Three bedrooms, two baths, fireplace, a couple of TVs that are smarter than I am. My backyard edges a beautiful lake.

Still, the confinement gets to one eventually. No matter what comforts a person may have, he or she really needs to see a friendly face.

Of course, I can talk to the guy in the bathroom mirrors, but that gets old pretty fast. And he never smiles. Sure, he listens well, but he doesn’t comment about my rants concerning people who don’t wear masks in public. Or maintain a safe distance. Or treat a real problem as if it’s a hoax. And, he doesn’t really comprehend the scarcity of a good brand of toilet paper, even though he lives in a bathroom.

Just the other day I was talking to him, and I rattled off a list of the brands of toilet paper that I’d never previously seen but are now available on Alphabetically, they are Angmile, Artibetter, Dfhyar, Exceart, Iskybob, Jetory, Kimanli, Kuhxz, Mohico, Nuobesty, Overstep, Pollyhb, Pretyzoom, Shudage, Sofidel, Sugoyi, Todolor, Tomaibaby, Topbathy, Tork, Vobor, Von Drehle, Xeduo, Yiduore, and Zlolia. And, that doesn’t count the ones that are identified only by pictograms. Furthermore, none of these brands caution us not to squeeze them.

As I stumbled over pronunciations, the guy in the mirror simply mimicked my lip movement as well as the furrows in my forehead. He didn’t seem to be sympathetic, and he certainly wasn’t appreciative of the dilemma with which our entire society is faced. It goes without saying that I was despondent. But, things were about to change.

On one of my rare furloughs, I ventured from my self-imposed banishment to Modesto. I came to Madera in search of a new abode, hoping for a return to my adopted home town, which I recklessly left about a year ago. Teddi Peters at Premier Realty helped me find the house that I know will be perfect for me. So, if everything goes smoothly, I’ll be back in Madera permanently in about a month.

To celebrate, I went to Ristorante Gabriela on North Schnoor Avenue for one of her fantastic Italian dinners. I was anticipating her marinara sauce, which is reminiscent of Lucca’s, when what to my world-weary eyes should appear but a friendly face, one flashing a smile on a protective mask.

The mask was being worn by Rochelle Noblett, president of Pete’s Sport Shop and proprietor of a new online store that features an array of Friendly Face masks. The mask that she was wearing was created from a photograph of Alexis, her daughter-in-law who was either blessed with a perfect set of pearly whites or had a superior orthodontist. The smile is infectious, and makes one want to smile in return.

Naturally, I inquired about the mask. She said that she stocks several styles for both women and men (even those who want a cat’s face or a dog’s snout). They’re made of cloth, washable, and reusable. The “Friendly Face” masks are made of sturdy, two-ply fabric, which makes them both comfortable and effective. People who are interested in obtaining one or more can make an appointment at Pete’s Sport Shop, 673-5951, or visit the webstore at

Seeing this Friendly Face is something that I’ve missed during my stay in the city to the north. Living on a lake in Modesto has been an interesting experience, but feuding with the Home Owners Association hasn’t been much fun. And, the members of the HOA’s Board of Directors never smile. So, I’m truly looking forward to coming home to the Heart of California, where there are many friendly faces, whether printed on masks or in the flesh, and smiles are the order of the day.

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