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Sultry Sunday

July 15, 2012

Another hot day here in Highland, California. 60 miles from the beach and not an ocean breeze to be had. Just far enough inland to be nothing more than an irrigated desert if you want to know the truth. Oh it’s a pretty, even beautiful in places, irrigated desert, to be sure, but turn that water off for just a few days here in our 100 degree temps and that would be the end of paradise! Once the orange producing capital of the world, orange groves are now few and far between. Housing tracts… husband calls them habitrails…..take up every inch of valuable real estate. I live in one of those housing tracts, although mine was built in the late sixties and does not boast the gated entrances, manicured landscaping and curb appeal of the new tracts in East Highland! Oh no!

Mine is a small neighborhood, quaint, old, shabby with very little chic, but, I daresay filled with far more interesting people and stories than that fancy tract across town where you can’t tell one house from another!  I have lived in my cozy little house for twenty two years now and have seen the current, living history of California and our nation taking place right across the street, around the corner, and down the block. Would my husband and I have chosen this home had we known the future? Probably not……actually, most certainly not, but now that we are here this has become home and home includes my very interesting, young, old, eccentric, funny, not so funny, and some illegal neighbors.

Where else could I live where my 85 year old Black American neighbor across the street would have become a dear friend and one of the finest storytellers I have ever known? John is a WWII vet who proudly flies the American flag on every holiday and attends his military reunion every year whether it be local or in Timbuktu. A widow now for ten years, he is a pillar in his church and recycles cardboard whose proceeds he then donates to that church. I don’t like the huge piles of cardboard boxes that adorn his front yard day in and day out. Somebody even complained to the city about his unsightly yard one time, but it hasn’t changed a thing! Everybody from blocks around drops off their cardboard in John’s front yard and several times a week he breaks it down, flattens it all, loads it up in his old red pick up and hauls it off to wherever he can find the best price of the day. By the time he gets home there is another pile of cardboard awaiting! You should see his place at Christmas! 

Where else could I live where another neighbor directly across the street from me was married to a building contractor? Trouble was he would never agree to update, fix, build, or repair his own home. His wife was a very unhappy camper as she wanted to renovate, redecorate, and spruce up all around. Bob… short, skinny, chain smoking, hard drinking, cussing white Bob… was having none of it. Then one Christmas day Bob had a heart attack. The ambulance and a gazillion paramedics arrived but it was too late. Bob was dead. On Jan. 2 dumpster trucks and a crew pulled up to the house and gutted it. A construction crew arrived and re-did the entire house… flooring, new paint, crown molding, light fixtures, new baths, a new kitchen, granite, stainless steel, all the bells and whistles. We looked on in amazement and amusement. I mean Bob had been dead all of 8 days! This woman meant business! Three months later she married tall, dark, good looking, non-smoking, non-drinking, non-cussing guitar playing, mariachi dancing, originally from Mexico Juan. He carted her off to Arizona where he bought her a brand new house and a boat on Lake Havasu! So much for renovations!

Then there are the six Hispanic families who are all related to each other and all live on my block. Grandma, the patriarch of the bunch, lives right behind us and believe me when I say that Grandma rules the roost. She has her sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters in law, grandkids, friends and friends of friends at that house day and night marching to the mariachi music that too often blares well into the night and doing her every bidding. Grandma wanted a gazebo. The men built one. Grandma wanted new landscaping and lighting in the back yard. Somebody put it there for her. Grandma wanted a new car. Somebody bought her one. Grandma wanted one son and his family to move in with her. They did! It’s family like none I have ever known and you can be sure that 95% of the foot traffic that walks in front of my house day in and day out is either going to or coming from Grandma’s! I have never personally met Grandma. In fact I am not even sure if I have actually seen Grandma! But I have heard Grandma……! She speaks the fastest Spanish that I have ever heard and even though I understand none of it, I get the idea! I don’t think I would dare say “no” to Grandma!

And those are just three of the four closest neighbors to my house….in my little shabby but not chic neighborhood… old town Highland, California. I could write a book, but I don’t want to. Too much work and this blog is a lot more fun!

Another thing that is really fun on a hot summer night is an easy, fast, delicious, cool dessert. Here is my favorite summer time dessert. It has been a family favorite too……….for decades now. Give it try and see what you think! 


One 10 inch graham cracker crust

Mix two 8 oz. cartons yogurt, 2 cups matching fruit (strawberry yogurt with strawberries, blueberry yogurt with blueberries, peach yogurt with peaches, etc)  and 12 oz. of cool whip and put it in the crust.

Freeze 4 hours…..take out of freezer to thaw just a little before serving. ENJOY!

Happy Summer Sunday to you all,

Chatty Grandma



From → Uncategorized

  1. Jeannie Lindberg permalink

    I am looking foward to the next one! Loving it!

    • Thank you! Share it with all your friends and link it anywhere you like. 🙂

  2. Shannon permalink

    Ha!!! Grandma rules the roost eh? I love it lol

    • Not THIS Grandma…….but that one does. LOL

  3. Bobbie Vedvick permalink

    Love the blog! I “smell” interesting stories coming out of this one :D))) I’m going to try the pie—-sounds good, quick and easy….especially with the fresh fruit added.

  4. Ann N permalink

    You are a great writer.

    • Thanks Ann. Just having fun. Appreciate your kind words.

  5. Kathy permalink

    Your blogs are so fun to read Helen! Hope you’re able to keep them up! Looking forward to more interesting reading from you!

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