San Diego means a lot to me. It’s the place of my birth. Much of my family lives there, including my parents. The friends I’ve known the longest, I met in San Diego. San Diego is a place where my love of music was nurtured, and where I learned to play golf, and started smoking cigars and drinking gin, and the place I longed for during four lonely years in the USAF. It’s where I went to college and my favorite sports teams all play their home games there. And, of course, it’s also the place where I met and married my wife.
I love California. I’ve been to just about every corner of the state. I’ve lived in Lompoc and Santa Maria, and been to San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Big Sur, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Redding, Sacramento, Fresno, Modesto, Bakersfield and spent at least a weekend a month for about a year prowling around Imperial Valley and the Borrego Desert. I’ve spent more Saturdays than I can count in Los Angeles. I’ve even spent a few hours once or twice in Orange County.
My career may eventually carry me away from California, and I would be okay with that, but I love this land with an ecosystem as varied, enigmatic and eclectic as the people who live here.
I will always call San Diego home, and to anybody reading this who might be involved in the decision, when the time comes, I want to be buried in El Cajon.
But Ventura is where I live, and more and more, day by day, I come to love it here. It doesn’t have the emotional ties San Diego pulls, but the longer I’m here, the less I miss my home town.
When Billie and I first moved here, we were struck by how friendly everybody was. And how little traffic there was. How there was less graffiti and trash in the streets. You could always find parking at the mall and not wait for a table at the best restaurants in town, or stand in line at the movies. We would tell people, “Ventura is just like San Diego, but with less crowding and fewer cars on the freeway, and less smog and less crime.”
We were fortunate to find a nice place three blocks from the ocean.
On its best days, palm-tree-laden Ventura is sun drenched and breezy.
In the aftermath of a month of rain, flooding and tragedy I’ve been reminded over the past three days just how beautiful Ventura can be. There are more days like these than there are of dreary darkness and wet pavement.
Like Paul, I can be content where I am or whatever my situation, but if I live another 60 years and spend them all in Ventura, I won’t taste the salt of a single tear.
The full-bodied original of the picture with this post can be viewed through this link. I snapped the picture after turning down a street I’d never been on before. I was awed by the pre-evening view of the calm Pacific and the brooding Channel Islands over a weed-spammed field and the swaying palm trees in the distance along Harbor Blvd.