Things I Knew and Things I Learned

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Today, Dad and I found ourselves in a unique situation. Home alone WITH the vehicle. Dear Son, when you speak to me, I do listen. As you have so graciously explained to me, presented with this type of a situation, there was only one option. Take the car and leave “the island.” Knowing we had businesses to attend to away from the park, I skipped my Wednesday stretching class, and we headed south. Specifically, we went to Calipatria, to Zendajas Hardware, which is conveniently located next to the donut shop.

Our favorite hardware store.  (Even if there was another one, this would probably be our favorite.)

Our favorite hardware store. (Even if there was another one, this would probably be our favorite.)

The hardware store.  They have everything.

The hardware store. They have everything.









It’s nice when you can do two errands in one stop. We practiced some restraint, as we went to the hardware store first, and got all the nuts, bolts, RV toilet paper, and cotton clothesline that the Hag was in need of. Then, we went to the donut shop, which I find is actually called, “Donut Avenue.” Dad had a crème filled bismark, and I settled on an apple fritter. I speak for all the Daisies when I say we will miss these donuts from heaven, when we exit from our little spot at the end of the world.

Donut Avenue.  It's on the end.  Yes, it looks a little bleak.

Donut Avenue. It’s on the end. Yes, it looks a little bleak.

Dad, walking back to the car with our donuts.  He is NOT exceeding the speed limit.

Dad, walking back to the car with our donuts. He is NOT exceeding the speed limit.










Having mostly completed our “to do list,” we had no desire to rush back to FOY, so we continued on to Brawley, specifically to visit “Factory 2 You,” a store that is pretty highly regarded here at the park for the low prices and brand name merchandise. I hadn’t been inside before, although we had driven by it numerous times. Dad concluded that it was, “mostly women’s clothing.” There were also clothes for men, boys, children, and household items. But, I was not with my favorite clothes-shopping companion, who would be my dear daughter, so Dad and I browsed and left. Interestingly enough, the rest of the block consisted of three thrift stores all in a row, and so we happily looked them all over. Dad happens to be a great little thrift store looker.

These ventures into shops in these small mostly Hispanic, mostly woman-run businesses seem to give my dear Father some concern. Much to his misfortune, he has mentioned feeling like a minority, and not being very comfortable. I assured him, that being a part of a minority myself, I hadn’t really noticed. To borrow from the title of a book, (written years ago by Richard Fariña) I would have to say: “I’ve been down so long it feels like up.” Additionally, there is something about age granting a certain level of power. I will just leave it at that. I’m stirring up trouble; I can feel it already.

We ended up walking to the end of the block, as there was an office that I wanted to check out. I had a pit-in-my-stomach idea as to what it was, but wanted to make sure. I have alluded to, and possibly pointed, out the very dark side of life in these parts. Two doctors have a practice in this building. In this small town of about 25,000 there appears to be a need for a pediatric oncologist.

I simply don't have words to describe my sadness that there is a need for this specialty in this rural area.

I simply don’t have words to describe my sadness that there is a need for this specialty in this rural area.

This is an agricultural area. We often see crop dusters, either planes or helicopters, spraying fields. The Salton Sea, that sits smack dab in the middle of all these small towns, with farm land adjacent to said “sea,” is well known to be one of the most heavily polluted bodies of water in the United States. Draw your own conclusion. It’s not that difficult to figure out. Cesar Chavez, even in death you will have no rest. Your work, OUR WORK is not done.

Viva Cesar Chavez!

Viva Cesar Chavez!

After our morning of thrifting, we headed back to the park. Even though I’m not much of a meat eater, we have heard rave reviews about two different meat markets, one of these being the butcher shop in the back of the Calipatria Grocery. We stopped there a couple of weeks ago and bought carne asada (marinated beef) and pollo asada. (marinated chicken) It just so happened that two out of three of us liked it A LOT. The other felt as though he was eating a rubber band. This is not really all that surprising, as this particular Hag-mate happens to be the one person that doesn’t like Mexican food.

Hoping to find a cut of meat, make that steak, that would make this certain person happy, I suggested that we stop at the other highly recommended market, just outside Brawley. So, we pulled into Ramey Meat Market.

The wonderful meat market.

The wonderful meat market.

We were told that it didn’t look like much on the inside, which is kind of the way all things work around here. The outside door opened into a very small office with a desk piled high with papers, and a small glass cooler on one wall. Dad took a look at the cooler and concluded that there wasn’t anything in the case he wanted. I was drawn to the 2-pound bags of carne asada and pollo asada, possibly because the entire area smelled like the marinade. Finding out that in order to get the cut of steak he wanted, we would have to buy the whole loin, so we left with the beef and the chicken. And, it was wonderful……better than the Calipatria butcher, although that was pretty darn good. Still, it didn’t sit much better with Dad. It appears that he truly doesn’t like the Mexican influence that pervades all the food in this end of the country. Who would have guessed that? Apparently, not me.

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