Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Back In the Saddle Again
Published in The Signal, 5-1-2005.

Darryl Manzer, 2004     Want to really bug me? Offer me a "free gift." I thought all gifts were free. That goes along with "certified, pre-owned" cars. Even new cars are pre-owned by the company that manufactured them. "Yes, sir, we certify that the car you're about to buy has been owned by someone else."
    Gas prices are lower in Virginia. Not much, but a little lower. Why is it that gas prices are lower in that larger valley to the south of the SCV? I can't figure that one.
    I had a language problem at the start of this visit our West. I was having dinner with some old friends the night I arrived, when one of them said she was going to have to cover her barbeque. I realized that I've become "Virginianized." (Is that a word?) I couldn't figure out why anyone would want to cover barbeque. Why would anyone want to cover food? Then I realized she wants to get a cover for her outdoor grill. That is where she cooks barbeque. Y'all talk funny here.
    It is raining again as I'm visiting the place it never rains. Southern California. My sister (and research assistant) has a leak in her garage roof. I spent all day Wednesday repairing the roof. Thought I could get clear out of town before the next rains came. (In the fall). I got up this morning to discover my repairs were inadequate. Roof-1, Darryl-0.
    Needless to say, what I packed is all wrong. I didn't bring my cowboy boots. I guess I won't be in style at the Cowboy Festival. Of course, a real cowboy doesn't care what he wears, as long as he has his hat. I've got to get a new one of those, too. I still need a horse. It's hard to pack them critters in a suitcase Southwest Airlines will accept.
    Wouldn't it be great if the SCV had an airport of its own? You could get direct flights to Burbank, Los Angeles and Ventura. It would be faster then waiting in traffic.
    As you read this, my travels will be continuing. I'm heading east on Route 66, now called Interstate 40. I'm driving my father-in-law to Kansas — in his Corvette — 2003. Rough! I think he took out a loan to pay for the gas. We'll return by Mother's Day — unless he can't make the gas loan payments, in which case we'll be stuck someplace between Flagstaff and Gallup.
    I've already been to that great little restaurant and bar in Valencia called Mulligan's. That's where I had problems understanding that barbeque is a thing to cook on, not eat. I returned to join in the kerry-okie fun. It is really spelled and pronounced in a different way. In Japan. I just have a problem being politically incorrect by saying "Kerry" and "Okie" together. The folks of Oklahoma may have a problem with that, too. Karaoke is pronounced, "ka-raokay."

* * *
    I got out here to discover that the local sheriff had arrested the kids who may have vandalized, with spray paint, various items in the SCV. I refuse to call it "tagging." That term may serve to legitimize such actions as a form of art.
    Those of you that think it is "art" can offer your homes as a canvas. Sounds fair to me. "Little Johnny was just expressing himself." Well, if he keeps up such expression, he can eventually find himself in a large home that L.A. County operates in Castaic. We used to call that the Honor Farm. (Few with any honor ever lived there).
    I wonder if the William S. Hart Union High School District has a form to fill out for such vandalism? They must. Like racism, the forms and consultants haven't stopped it.
    Well done, to the Sheriff's Department, in finding at least a couple of them. Now, if the case can get properly prosecuted ... I hope it doesn't get moved to Santa Maria. The trial could last forever.
    And now, the most important item I've noticed this visit: chewing gum.
    This isn't Singapore. Chewing gum is legal to buy and use here — except on the local buses. Aren't there bigger problems to solve? Prohibition wasn't much of a success in the 1920s. I'm afraid we could see a rise in organized chewing gum crime. "Speakeasy buses." They would look like a normal Santa Clarita Transit bus, only to get on, you'd have to say, "Joe sent me," and offer the driver a stick of gum.
    What with Iraq, Afghanistan, gas prices and other national problems, we could strike a blow to that foul habit of chewing gum. That will certainly make the world a safer place.

    Darryl Manzer lived in the Santa Clarita Valley oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s as a teenager. He now lives in Virginia.

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