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1998 - Worst day of record-setting 1997-98 El Nino storm season [story]
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Now & Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Oct 13, 2013
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

What do the hottest new brew pub, the best-in-SCV apparel store, live theater and a new surf shop have in common? They are all in Old Town Newhall. Go figure.

People are going there at night. Back then, there wasn’t much reason to go to Newhall at night, unless we were cruising between Sonny and Mel’s Union Station and the A&W. Most of the time, we avoided it.

We really avoided it. The sidewalks rolled up at 6 p.m. and didn’t reopen until 8 a.m. when Safeway unlocked the doors. If something exciting and newsworthy was going on, you could bet you’d find reporters and photographers around The Signal office on Fifth Street. Well, the OutWest Boutique has moved into the old Signal building and has been able to expand.

In the past five months, I have traveled from the SCV to places east. Driving across the country, I encountered storms and bugs and grandkids and friends and kids and folks who were just staying in the same campground as me. I got to go see Mammoth Cave and the state where the toothbrush was invented, West Virginia. (Had it been invented in any other state, it would be called a teeth-brush.)

I visited historic places like Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown and Newport News. I got to play with the Tidewater Concert Band again, and also with the Dixie Seven, a group of talented Dixieland jazz musicians.

I returned to Kentucky by driving through the “mountains” to Tennessee. It is such a long and narrow state. Nice mountains. Kind of small compared to those around the SCV.

Heading west, I passed by towns with names like “Bucksnort” (Tenn.) and “Blue Ball” (Ark.). I was in the land of Cracker Barrel restaurants and Sonic Drive-Ins. I could buy just about any kind of food I wanted at those places as long as it was fried and smothered in gravy, or burgers that dripped fat all over my shirt and pants.

Places that had “home cooking” from a large industrial can of green beans dumped in a serving line with partially cooked bacon or ham added for flavor. “Smashed” potatoes from a box, and canned corn creamed with real artificial cream – or maybe just milk and some flour to thicken the “sauce.”

outwestlogoI passed the last Cracker Barrel on my route in Kingman, Ariz., and headed toward Las Vegas. By then my left leg was swelling due to the infection I had, and exacerbated by the Type-2 diabetes I didn’t know was a major part of the cause. Didn’t even know I had it.

I got into my camp in Acton on a Monday, and that night it was off to the hospital. Y’all read about that already. My thoughts of a perfect breakfast at Egg Plantation were set aside for a week while I got on the road to recovery.

So I finally got to go to downtown Newhall for breakfast. Hey, it all looked the same. Visited my doctor while in the big city and got to roam around Newhall, too.

OMG. What happened to OutWest? What is that W.O.L.V.E.S. Surf Shop doing in its place? Well, I found out. OutWest moved to Sixth Street. By the way, if you go to the surf shop, be sure and take your report card, kids. An “A” will get you a 30 percent discount. Jason is cool and he knows his stuff.

See what Madison has in store for you ladies this fall at Fresh, 24263 Main Street.

See what Madison has in store for you ladies this fall at Fresh, 24263 Main Street.

Got to say “Hello” to Madison Gable at Fresh, the “Best In the SCV” apparel place. Hey, I like that place. I think it is because of her.

Newhall Refinery is open, too. Get there early to get a seat. It is even known by folks from Valencia. Yes, they venture to the real “town center” of the valley. Those folks can be taught new tricks, after all.

For all those places on Main Street Newhall I’ve left out, let me know. I’ll drop by and say howdy anytime.

I’ve found good food at last. Not deep fried. Not served with “southern wine” (very sweet ice tea), and NOT served with canned veggies covered in gravy and grease. I’m home. And I’m around the best people in the best valley in the state of California.

Mr. Renly.

Mr. Renly.

Oh, I didn’t mentioned it before, but in Cadiz, Ky. (pronounced “KAY-diz”), they had avocados on sale for $1 each. I got two small Haas avocados. At the checkout stand, the young lady cashier asked, “Just what do you use these for?” I almost answered, “fish bait,” but instead told her, “guacamole.” She muttered, “Oh, I don’t like that,” and took my money.

There is no place like home. I didn’t have Toto with me, but the Bestest Basset Hound, Mr. Renly, was just as good. I think so. So does Mr. Renly.

 

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 Tuesdays and Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

 

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