Escondido, CA

Closer and closer to normal

It appears that we are getting closer and closer to what we knew as normal. After 14 and a half months it is heartening to see people coming out to public events and the socializing that comes with sharing experiences. 

The Indy 500 had 135,000 people come out to see the greatest spectacle in auto racing. Now this is somewhat less than half the usual turnout but nonetheless a good showing—especially since no one was allowed at last year’s event.

Watching the race reminded me my first and only time watching in person a 500 mile open wheel Indy style car race. I attended the California 500 In 1979, which used to be held at the long since closed Ontario Motor Speedway. We had seats about 10 rows up on the first turn of the 2.5 mile oval and flinched every time a piece of rubber tire would fly up and hit the screen with the expected force being peeled off at roughly 200 mph.

Other than the speed of the cars I remember not being able to see the grandstands due to the overcast conditions at race time. Talk about a low ceiling! Understand that the grandstand was about a half mile from our seats. In time the cloud cover lifted and about an hour into the race I looked to my right and oh my gosh the San Gabriel Mountains seemed like they were right next to the track. I believe the last California 500 was held in 1980.

Today the American Legion hosted a smaller but well attended Memorial Day commemoration in the patio area of the Legion building. After last year’s cancellation it was great to see folks remember veterans who gave their all. 

However, I missed two parts of past Memorial Day services. One was the 21 gun salute which no doubt would not be permitted in a residential area. The other was listening to Harvey Benne recite his updated version of “The Tattered Old Flag” with Don Nelson playing the Battle Hymn of the Republic on his harmonica in the background. I can’t count how many times I heard Harvey’s rendition of the old Johnny Cash version but I can tell you he and Don are both missed by many. I do believe we are all so ready to attend events with our neighbors whether June 15 happens or not.

And speaking of outdoor events I hope Cruisin’ Grand is still happening on June 18. The past few weeks I have talked to many people who like me can’t wait for the best vintage car show in the country. My understanding is that the configuration of the event will be somewhat different than past years. This year will mark 21 years of Cruisin’ Grand which is quite a remarkable achievement. I ran into Dennis Tomlinson at the Legion today but forgot to ask him if he will be bringing his “Name that Tune” along with his collection of old time rock-n-roll to his DJ booth at Grand and Broadway.

Last week I read that Wehay Quisquis from the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians is on the Escondido Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. This is good news; that one of the benefactors to local charities and non-profits is involved with our local business chamber. The name Quisquis was very familiar to me having been involved years ago with the Escondido Jaycees Christmas Parade for decades, chairing five parades and doing lineups for many years. I always looked forward to receiving the application from Chief Quisquis and watching him in full dress riding his horse proudly down Broadway. To say the least he was a popular entrant. Wehay, pick up the tradition?

There is much discussion about the condition of the dams in San Diego County. But I only want to talk about Escondido’s two dams, Wohlford and Dixon. Dixon is relatively new but Wohlford is about 120 years old and considered a liability by state geologists. It has to be able to withstand a magnitude 7.5 earthquake. Seriously? Before Eureka Springs was developed, the Wohlford family was going to donate land for an elementary school but the talking heads in Sacramento nixed that idea.

They said that if both dams break simultaneously that there would be severe inundation and that a school is out of the question. It seems to me that if both dams burst at the same time we would have a whole lot more to be concerned with then with some flooding. So how did Valley High School get there? The land had to be raised 15 feet for the school and the soccer fields that we now have are actually retention basins just in case both dams go kaput. I guess the tradeoff is acceptable.

Back to the plates. BUGTUSL, on a VW beetle so BUG I understand but not TUSL. K9SURFR is self-explanatory if you believe a dog is driving this vehicle. Now go outside and get some Vitamin D.

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

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