Escondido, CA

Christmases of years past

Ed Gallo Speaks

Last week I mentioned some of the music and sights associated with Christmas and want now to discuss some of the performing arts, TV programs and movies to continue raising our holiday spirits. 

It’s been a few years since The Nutcracker, performed by the Moscow Ballet, appeared at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. Just a magnificent and colorful joyful presentation along with the score from Tchaikovsky. It was perhaps 15 years ago that my granddaughters and I enjoyed the sights and sounds of this Escondido treat. Handel’s Messiah has also been presented here.

Another long-running show alas will not be presented this year at the CCAE due to CV-19. Carols by Candlelight is a great uplifting production the brainchild of current Poway Mayor Steve Vaus alias Buck Howdy. Every year using his connections with country music stars he put together a group of well-known and newcomer performers to the delight of two sold-out performances. The first CBC that I attended was opened by newcomer Sarah Evans who showed she had the talent that has taken her to be among the top in country music today. We should all look forward to a return next year.

Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” is a perennial favorite and I am sure we have seen a few different versions but my favorite is the one starring Alastair Sim filmed in black and white which premiered in 1951. Another all-time favorite is “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” It’s one of those movies that is mentioned every year when describing a not so full Christmas tree. And how about “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty The Snowman,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and everyone’s favorite, “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation?” Today many people decorate to outdo Clark Griswold.

The other day I read about the City of San Diego’s efforts to house the homeless at the downtown Convention Center. Absolutely mind-boggling that they spent $5.7 million just in November. The total includes spending $915 per person for food. How much is your food bill for one person for one month in your household? Meals were no doubt catered by the French Laundry.

Last week we were alerted about high winds which raised the potential for electricity outages and fire danger. As you recall, I mentioned that the Santa Ana winds are a yearly occurrence. This led me to recall a quote no doubt from deep-sea fishermen. “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning.” And true to form we had brilliant red sunrises for two days followed by high winds during the day. Sometimes low tech is fine even though on short notice.

Recently I read a Facebook post by an Escondido resident after hearing a train horn late at night asking if there was a train through Escondido. My first thought was that this person must have moved here the day before. A train has been traveling during the daytime to the Escondido from Oceanside since December 1887. However, since the Sprinter began operations in 2008 the freight train had to change delivery time to after 10 p.m. making two trips a week. We have two large businesses that rely on timely delivery: Pine Tree Lumber and Vitagold Feed, that has been feeding chickens since 1919.

Of course, long gone is another delivery stop: Sunkist Packing, once the largest lemon packing plant in the country. The site is now occupied by the Barnes & Noble Center. Passenger trains also delivered visitors to Escondido by the thousands to enjoy the Escondido Grape Days and the second largest parade in Southern California with the Pasadena Parade of Roses being the largest. I live about two miles from the transit center and when the climate allows I can hear the horn, which by the way is federally mandated to be sounded at all crossings and reminds me of our agricultural history.

To close I wish you all a belated Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Merry Christmas and let’s not forget the celebration heralded by a Seinfeld episode, Festivus for the rest of us. Stay well and enjoy your holiday as safe as you can. Oh, for all the gearheads V8HEMI1. Yes, it was a Dodge.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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