Archive for January 3, 2014

California’s Coming Flood’s Not Water, It’s People

Long ago and (+/-) about 2,281 miles to the east, it was a 20 degree fahrenheit day with 20 to 30 mph winds that were slamming Detroit, much like they are today. Safe and warm in our house, we were watching the huge Rose Parade crowds on t.v. when my dad said, “Hey, it’s January and they’re all wearing shorts and t-shirts”. In the past when he had talked about the brief time that he was stationed in California at the end of WWII he often had a glimmer in his eyes, it was where he was returned to civilian life after serving in the South Pacific during the 2nd world war.

As it turned out, this was to be our families second to last freezing winter, the following winter found us onboard a short haul passenger train from Detroit to Chicago, where we changed to the Santa Fe’s El Capitan to experience three fun filled days of me trying not to throw my sisters off the train. To understand what an accomplishment this was you need to know that those were the days before video surveillance was everywhere, so my actions weren’t restrained because of the certainty of being caught and punished.   

El Capitan!

It’s long and thin, and it’s red at one end

Two of those three travel days consisted of bland and unchanging scenery while we crawled through the center of the country, but things livened up as we entered California early on the third morning. Suddenly it was green and there were a few hours of passing through orange groves and seeing hundreds of old cars on the road, the sort that were only a memory in Detroit where each winter’s salted streets gave most old cars the automobile equivalent of cancer. Our Plymouth Plaza, long overdue a visit to an auto oncologist, was driven out by a paid driver, and within a few months of its arriving and driving in The Promised Land (a.k.a. Los Angeles) the slow rot had finally worked itself up to the big time and the floor panels corroded away about the same time the headlight holders spit out the bulbs.

During my first winter in Los Angeles, I wondered why all of the people I saw on the street were wearing sweaters and long pants when I was fine just wearing shorts and t-shirts. Losing a protective layer of body fat after a year, during my second winter I found that I’d lost my immunity (along with that protective layer of fat) to the cold, now when it gets under 68 degrees I can be found wearing long pants and a sweater.

So using the past as prologue, I have a few words of advice to you teeming hordes that are soon to arrive in Utopia after watching this year’s Rose Parade from Frostbite Falls or wherever, don’t be so quick to toss away that parka when you unpack. Oh, and be sure to bring money with you, lots of money.

N.B., The ownership of any and all photos, opinions, and/ or quotes above (including those of mine) belong to the material’s creator(s). Credit is given when it’s known, but because success usually has a million parents and failure is an orphan, blame will not be so attributed. 

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P.S., check back for occasional updates and rewrites….

January 3, 2014 at 3:57 am Leave a comment


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