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2014 - "Become Ocean" by John Luther Adams (CalArts BFA 1973) named winner of 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music [story]
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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Sep 1, 2013
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

I know. It has been a long time since you’ve had the misfortune of reading my missives. I’ve once again been out of town, crossing the entire country in my somewhat large motor home I call Billy Bob. As of today, I’m back here on SCVTV and I’ll be back in the SCV by the middle of next month.

Since it is just me and my basset hound, Mr. Renly, in Billy Bob, I spend a lot of time on Facebook. So a couple of days ago I read a comment about Old Town Newhall (I like to say “Downtown”) that said something to this effect: “It needs something besides two theaters and places to get pesos exchanged for dollars.”

The lady also said something about having to hear rude remarks directed at her from men drinking 40-ounce glasses of beer. She went on to say there are only thrift shops and not much else.  She obviously hasn’t been to Newhall in a while – quite a while.

The new Trigg County Courthouse.

The new Trigg County Courthouse.

If you want a quiet and sedate “Old Town,” I would recommend Cadiz, Ky. It is the county seat of Trigg County. Population of the whole county is around 13,000 if you count tourists, dogs, cattle, cats and pigs.

The folks in Cadiz pronounce it so it sounds more like KAY-diz. No matter that in Spanish it sounds like Cah-DEE. Anyway, I’ve included a picture of the newest Trigg County Courthouse. Built just a couple of years ago and invoking a rather Gothic castle look. Then there is the shot of City Hall.  Also had to show the lot where the Farmer’s Market is held every Wednesday and Saturday from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Cadiz City Hall.

Cadiz City Hall.

Oh, by the way, in front of the courthouse is a monument to the Confederate States of America. Guess nobody told the locals that Kentucky remained in the Union.

There are at least SIX thrift stores in town. Those stores prefer you call then “antique stores,” but except for a few spots, most of the stuff inside looks like a collection of items from garage sales that wouldn’t sell and got dropped off in downtown Cadiz.

People from Nashville and Paducah, and Louisville and Hopkinsville and Murray and other great nearby cities come to Cadiz for the great antique bargains.

I had a friend in town once and she bought a small table that had some Catalina tile for a top. She paid $40 and once back out West, she found it was worth well over $300. So there are bargains.

Trigg County Farmer's Market

Trigg County Farmer’s Market

At one time there were three restaurants in downtown Cadiz. One burned down last year, another lost its lease and the third is still in operation. Nothing fancy, mind you. Hamburgers aren’t bad. The buffet is more like a high school cafeteria. I’ll pass.

Main Street is closed twice a year. On Halloween the street is blocked off and little costumed kids (and a few adults) go from place to place supporting one of the three dentists in the county. The other time it is closed is on a weekend in October for the Trigg County Country Ham Festival. That is why the county and the city have cast concrete pigs all over.

The municipal golden pig.

The municipal golden pig.

The city has a golden pig. The sheriff and the Cadiz City Police have pigs painted to look like cops. Lawyers have pigs, real estate offices, antique stores, the restaurant, bank and whatever else has a pig. All painted to represent the folks who bought it. It the thrift – err, antique shops, you can get a guide to find all of the pigs. How cool is that? All we have in Newhall is a Walk of Western Stars.

When night comes to Cadiz, there isn’t much to do. There isn’t a bar in town – yet, since selling booze became legal in Trigg County just five years ago. Trigg County, Ky. was “dry” for 109 years.

I found it ironic that certain religious folks in Trigg County had a problem with alcohol sales, but statues of pigs, including the golden pig of the city, were never questioned.

Guess I’m funny that way. I shouldn’t care. I don’t drink.

Now look at Newhall’s Main Street. About the same number of blocks. It has some thrift stores, to be sure. One of them is just for Single Mothers Outreach. That can really use the support. Restaurants are growing in number and variety. I don’t know how to describe the Newhall Refinery except to say it’s simply wonderful. They don’t sell 40-ounce beers. There are neat little boutiques and a wine shop and TWO live theaters.

Main Street Cadiz.

Main Street Cadiz.

Downtown Newhall looks great, too. The check cashing shops may have gone in without the proper permits, but that should have been stopped. The onetime BofA is now a church. Nope, I don’t know what town that Facebook comment was about, but it wasn’t Newhall of today.

So there you have it. Small town to small town. One is succeeding at being vibrant and new. The other remains a sleepy little town in Kentucky. I love them both, but it can be a little boring in Cadiz watching the stoplight change for entertainment.

Now if we could get agreement on the art in the new traffic circle … I am a dreamer…

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com and his commentaries, published on Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

 

 

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