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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, October 20 2002

California memories

Jon's sentimental journey south this week brought back memories of when I worked in California. For instance, the coastal highway on which I traveled many miles, although never as a sightseeing-tourist, was a favorite route of mine. I drove truck for a company based in North Hollywood and we had a branch warehouse located in Santa Maria, a city about 200 miles north of LA. There are many scenic views along that highway, but my favorite was always the ocean. Because my deliveries were as needed rather than scheduled, I was on the road at many different times of the day.

In the early morning, the ocean was often shrouded in fog. At sunset, the ocean seemed to swallow a ball of fire that shot darts of light in all directions. My most memorable view of the ocean was a full-moon night when the white caps took on a phosphorescent glow and chased one after another onto the beach. My scariest time on the coastal highway was a night when the fog moved over the roadway and before long I was in the lead of a long procession of cars. These drivers were letting me find them a way through the fog and even then my eyes were bad. I feared leading them off the highway. Fortunately, when the road turned from the ocean, the fog dissipated and the cars whizzed by me.

Another memory came when Jon wrote of his time in Venice, California. Again, I had been there a number of times but never as a tourist. We had customers in the area to which I delivered plywood. In December of 1959 or January of 1960, we had a rush call for several dozen sheets of 3/4-inch black walnut plywood. The warehouse manager, a California native, sent me out with the delivery even though the sky was filled with rain clouds and we had no tarps to cover the load. I don't know about now, but then the attitude was, "It never rains in southern California." Well, that day it rained and rained and rained. By the time I reached my destination, a small cabinet shop in Venice, the streets were flooded and the plywood was badly damaged. The shop owner allowed me to unload only after calling the warehouse and getting a huge cut in price for the very expensive plywood.

As I left, I soon saw another problem California drivers face when it did rain. Instead of culverts and drains to carry away excess water at intersections, many California communities just made a dip in the road to carry the rainwater away. This method apparently worked most of the time, but during very heavy rains the water could get deep and it was deep that day. Even my truck, which was much higher than a car, was pushing water at times.

While waiting at one intersection, I saw a man in a brand new Ford Thunderbird race across the road to make it through the dip. The water killed his engine and stopped the car as if it had hit a wall. After a few futile attempts to restart the engine, the man opened the door, probably to push his car out of the water. As soon as the door swung open, the water flooded the car's interior. The fellow stood in knee-deep water and looked as though he wanted to cry. With the disastrous experience of the plywood fresh in my mind, I was in no mood to help someone else. I let others come to his rescue and I drove back to the warehouse.

Patients, patients

Five surgeons are discussing who makes the best patients on the operating table. The first surgeon says, "I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."

The second responds, "Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is color coded."

The third surgeon says, "No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order."

The fourth surgeon chimes in: "You know, I like construction workers....those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end, and when the job takes longer than you said it would."

But the fifth surgeon shut them all up when he observed: "You're all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There's no guts, no heart, and no spine, and the head and butt are interchangeable." "

—Sent by Bill Dalrymple

Thought for the day

There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker.

—Charles M. Schulz
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