Editor, Ceres Courier,
I would like to offer you a virtual fistbump after reading the last paragraph of your recent article, "There are a lot of better options than the Golden State." It reminded me why I am excited to live in California and why I hope to always make my home here. If I were to edit your last paragraph I would make sure to include, beyond the family, weather, Yosemite and the ocean you mention, certainly friends, San Francisco (named time and again one of the most popular destinations across the globe), the Gold Country, the redwoods both coastal and inland and the forests that contain them and thousands of square miles of lands accessible to the public representing almost every conceivable ecosystem and possibility for every lawful human pursuit. I would find a sentence to include all the nearby universities, public and private, that include in their mission statements the goal of providing educational opportunities to people of all ages and circumstances. And the museums! Natural history, the arts, California history...it's all here.
My mother grew up in Helena, Arkansas, a port town on the Mississippi. Last time we visited, every side street had their storefronts boarded up and the main street had a sprinkling of shops and a drive-through liquor store. The largest section in the newspaper is the police blotter. There's a Howard Johnson's out on the highway but the most complicated meal available in town is a chicken salad sandwich. Are there people there raising families, getting together with friends, taking classes at the community college, rooting for the Razorbacks, planning for their old age? Of course there are. Many of them are my relations. But, when they dream of a vacation, California is way up there on the list in the category called "once in a lifetime" for the very reasons you outline in the last paragraph in your opinion piece.
I have had a swim in the enormous ‘hot springs' pool in Glenwood Springs, Colo., and my wife taught for a year in nearby Rifle. We hiked in Aspen. Grand Junction has some amazing parks nearby with astonishing rock formations. A cousin in Denver regularly reports on his adventures bicycling and snowshoeing. The state of Colorado is very beautiful and offers a wide variety of scenery and experiences. Reading your article reminded me of some very pleasant visits.
Both of my girls attended a two-year women's college in Nevada, Mo., so we went back and forth for four years. I vividly remember one graduation breakfast walking, in my suit and tie, from the oppressive heat and humidity into a chilled cafe and a sea of overalls and camouflage and in some cases, camouflage overalls. My daughters made many friends in the Midwest that they still correspond with these many years later and that experience prepared them to feel comfortable and to relate to other people successfully whether it's here in the Valley or on a ‘mountain station' in India. My oldest now lives in a small village in northern Germany where she works as a teacher and is married to a nice German boy. When I suggest coming to visit them the response is most often, "No, Dad, we'll come to see you!" After several visits this nice German boy is now familiar with Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Hearst Castle, Carmel, Big Sur, Mendocino, Napa, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Mt. Shasta, Calaveras Big Trees, and, of course, Yosemite Valley and the high country beyond.
Your last paragraph brought all this to mind and served to remind me why my ‘Yankee' dad and ‘Southern Belle' mom gambled on moving their small family across the country some sixty years ago and why they never regretted their decision. The only confusion in my mind comes when I wonder why you bothered to write the other 12 paragraphs?
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