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“So,” I ask Dayag, “no TV, no sports screens?”

“No TV,” he says. “TV has replaced the hearth. And hearth and heart are basically the same word. But we know how to have fun.”

Lo and behold, five minutes later, music busts out below in the courtyard, beside the hearth of a fire. By now there’s quite a crowd, old, young, guys, gals. “The musicians are from the farm,” Dayag says. They’re playing mandolins, zithers, drums. Sounds a little bluegrassy. “You should stay for the open discussion tonight at ten o’clock. It’s called, ‘When the spanking stopped, all hell broke loose.’ We believe you should be able to discipline your child, but anyone can say what they like.”

Ten o’clock? Oh, Lord. That reminds me. Last bus to get back downtown leaves at 8:36. Ten minutes. It’s hard to leave. Everyone’s so open. I box the last of my burger, check out their beautifully decorated bathroom, and leave back out into the noisy, unknowing world of South Santa Fe. I’m chewing on a Coachella Valley date square I got at the last moment ($2.50). Dee-lish. As I cross Santa Fe, the mandolin’s the only sound I hear before a couple of trucks drown it out. ■

The Place: The Yellow Deli, 315 East Broadway, Vista Village, 760-631-1888
Type of Food: American
Prices: Deli Rose sandwich (with roast beef, corned beef, cheese), $7.75; Deli Lamb sandwich, $7.75; cranberry cashew salad, with havarti cheese, $5.75; half garden salad, $3.75; bowl of chili, $7.25; yellow submarine sandwich, spread, sprouts, yellow tomatoes, yellow peppers, $7.75; date square dessert, $2.50
Hours: Open 24 hours, but closed Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon
Buses: 305, 350
Nearest Bus Stop: South Santa Fe at Eucalyptus

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