While sitting back this morning, enjoying a magazine and a cup of joe, wondering what to put into this space, I encountered a story about my boyhood hometown.
Now you might wonder why I would think a story about my boyhood hometown would interest you (and maybe it won’t), but give me few lines to make my case.
A couple of years ago, while beginning a memoir, I went on Google Earth to find the place of my youth. I hardly recognized the place; it is quite a bit bigger than when I left there many years ago. At that time the population of Los Molinos, California was around 500; now it’s upwards of 3,000. Quite a difference. As there is not much by way of job opportunities in the village, I thought it might be a bedroom community for Red Bluff, a town about 16 miles north. Then I noticed one of those popup websites that said Red Bluff was one of the 10 most redneck towns in California‒just like Hornell, Bath and Penn Yan are in New York. After scanning around with the online satellite, I began wondering why Los Molinos wasn’t designated a redneck town. Must not have had a Walmart, which really is one of the criteria.
Anyway, I scanned south in order to find the old homestead. It would have been mostly unrecognizable except for the two streams running through it that flow in a recognizable pattern. The old farmhouse was gone, burned down according to one source then replaced with an equipment shed. The biggest difference was a half mile north at the site of the farm buildings. Nothing there was the same; similar but different, causing a twinge of nostalgia to pass through me, a longing for what had been.
The item in the magazine that seized my eye spoke of Los Molinos, now a mecca for nut growers, as the site for a major theft of walnuts.
Los Molinos is situated on the northern edge of California’s Central Valley, the agricultural center of the state and one of the largest of food production areas in the United States. The northern area, in which the old homestead rests, has been turned over to the production of walnuts. Not entirely, of course, but mostly. Most of the land east of US99E was in walnuts.
Tehama County, where the village sits, has always been an agricultural community; every kind of edible product was grown there. We had a dairy farm, next door to the north crops‒oats, barley, alfalfa‒ were grown, next it was pigs; further north were prune orchards. The farm to the south grew peaches and grapes and pigs (An adventure of mine on each of these places can be read in the memoir, which will be out in the few months). A friend’s dad had honey bees. And on and on. Now it was mostly nuts.
The way things are going in California, I would have thought all of the nuts would be found in Sacramento (the capital) or Beverly Hills (where the movie stars live.) This became a paramount idea when it was announced that California was seceding from the union. You had to know there were nuts behind that idea. Then they doubled down by making every town a sanctuary for illegal aliens, even though the state would lose most of its federal funding for doing so. I’m sure they were incensed at the audacity of Republican President Trump’s making such a suggestion, but the sages of Sacramento simply said they would raise taxes to cover the loss. Now most of us know that California is one of the highest taxed states in the union already. Right? But the nuts, and there are lots and lots of nuts in California, said “Ah, go ahead and tax us some more. We’d like it!”
Whadya expect? These are mostly Liberals, you know. Most of the state’s Conservatives have already left the Nut State for less nutty places to live. The move became imperative when it was divulged that the loss of federal money far exceeded the state’s GDP. But that was only Reason Numero Uno. Numero Dos‒The legislation sanctioning sanctuary to people who should not be allowed in the United States did not address those with criminals records. So not only do California Nuts have to support welfare-bound illegals, they will have to fork over more of their pay in order to punish evil-doers.
But what the heck? These are nutty Liberals we’re talking about. You can just hear them, now: “Taxes? More taxes? Heck, man, bring ‘em on! We’re stupid-assed Liberals. We’d enjoy that!”But please keep in mind, oh readers of mine, the ones saying this are Southern Nuts. We from the North are much smarter‒although we are known to use an illegal to pick a few nuts from time to time. And milk the cows and feed the pigs and harvest the grapes and the apples and the