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Signs of Christmas: Joor Christmas man returns!

~ED GALLO SPEAKS

The signs of Christmas are here and yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. His representative is proudly standing at attention on the corner of Juniper and Valley. After an absence of ten years the Joor Muffler Man is bedecked in that very recognizable Santa Suit thanks to the efforts of the Manning and Guillen families owners of Joor Muffler and Sickel’s Fabrics & Upholstery respectively. 

Longtime residents remember that first sign of the upcoming holiday, except for the store decorations in October. On behalf of Escondido residents, thank you so much for your community spirit.

However, the real alert to what has become more of a shopping season was when the Norelco electric razor raced across the snow in numerous TV ads. Perhaps with the renewal of the Escondido Santa we might see Norelco again? Yes, I know they were hokey but I miss them now the same as I miss Rube Nelson’s steam engine in the Escondido Jaycees Christmas Parade. So noisy but so Escondido.

Which brings me to remind you that the parade, a 69 year tradition, is this Saturday, December 14 at 9:30 a.m. along North Broadway. There used to be other parades in the county but one by one they are gone. The North Park Toyland Parade may be the next casualty. Not sure if Encinitas and Vista parades are still entertaining children of all ages.

A short history lesson now. The Escondido Jaycees where chartered in April 1951 and they wanted to present the then small town with their first Christmas Parade. Some of the Macy’s balloons were in San Diego for a parade and the Jaycees decided to have them in our parade. They had a fundraiser planned the beginning of September but it was rained out so they approached the City Council for $300 to help fund the project. The answer, of course, was no as “We don’t want to start a precedent of giving general fund money to local groups.” My how times have changed. Anyway, the council decided to grant the funds from the marketing budget. Thus began the tradition of the longest running event in Escondido. How about we have that account again. Ya think?

Another tradition which I have participated in for 20 years is ringing a bell for the Salvation Army. You’ve seen the red kettles all over town and last Saturday the Escondido Rotary Club was at Major Market all day collecting donations from generous shoppers. As if it wasn’t enough the joy I felt helping others I met a few friends who I haven’t seen in many years. How great to reminisce. When we talked about Escondido then one man, who I hadn’t seen in about 30 years, mentioned what is known as the Great Escondido Blizzard.

Fifty two years ago on December 13, 1967 Escondido received 2 to 4 inches of real snow. Not hail as we have seen on other dates. It also snowed in Escondido in 1949 but only at elevations above 1000 feet in 2014 which meant only the high hills surrounding the city and Hidden Meadows were blessed with the white blanket. Other areas nearby like Palomar Mountain and the Lagunas receive snow almost on a yearly basis due to their high altitude. What I haven’t seen in a few years is people going up to Palomar, load their pick-up truck with snow and come into town driving around showing off. Sometimes they would build a snowman in someone’s yard I presume with permission.

So all you guys and gals with pickups I expect to see you around town after the next big snow on the mountain. That will probably be in January or February—which is normal. Although some Grinch might not allow snow being removed from State property.

I saw a T-A ad from December 6, 1933 following the repeal of Prohibition. Tony’s, at 1004 San Diego Blvd, now S. Escondido Blvd, advertised it is now legal to purchase liquor and gin (I don’t know why gin was highlighted) but only up to 10,000 gallons. Say what? 

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

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