Saturday, April 26, 2014

The tape is almost worn out. But I still pop it in occasionally and listen to the whining voice of Linda Ronstadt belting out "...on the California coast" from her hit song, Adios.

I once loved living in California. In 1957 I left Abilene Christian and headed west. I ended up at the end of the Santa Fe Trail in El Monte, California. I absolutely loved it there. I had never seen a freeway before but I loved driving into Los Angeles to attend Pepperdine University and to Pasadena to attend Fuller Seminary. Hollywood, Disneyland, the Dodgers and Angels, football games at the coliseum, the beach---ah yes, the beach, and the list goes on and on. I loved Southern California.

My first time to drive up the California coast was in 1958 when Charlotte and I went to beautiful Carmel by the sea on our honeymoon. And then on to San Francisco, the city by the bay. San Francisco was different then. It was beautiful, quiet, sophisticated and it was an easy place to leave your heart.

In 1970 we felt a "call" to move up north to Stockton in the San Joaquin Valley. We stayed for twenty years. Good years. Now that we lived so close to San Francisco we would drive occasionally to the city we loved. But things had changed over the years. In 1967 the Haight-Ashbury district of the city experienced its famed Summer of Love. What went on there that summer was felt in various ways around the world. Times were changing!

Ok, California has always been just a little crazy, always on the cutting edge, always liberal. As far back as I can remember, there have been reports that earthquakes were going to tear it loose from the rest of the country and toss it into the ocean. Is that what I am ready to do? No! Absolutely not!
There is much to love and appreciate about California---and I do. However, there is so much that is bad, bad, bad! So bad that I don't even want to bother you with stating it all. If you don't already know about it, you wouldn't believe it if I told you.

My heart in San Francisco, Stockton, the San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley?
NO! Not now. However, if God wanted me there I could live there and be happy. I grew up loving Oklahoma and would have been happy living there all my life. When I graduated from Abilene Christian I was ready to go anywhere God wanted me to go. I have always felt that I could live anyplace and be happy. I used to sing: "I'll go where you want me to go Dear Lord, over mountain or plane or sea, I'll say what you want me to say Dear Lord, I'll be what you want me to be." I've tried. I'll keep on trying.

I'm grateful for the years spent in beautiful California. God opened up His heart and poured out great blessings on that part of our great country. I only wish that young people growing up there could still experience the good that I did back so many years ago. But most of that is gone forever. It's sad to bid it ADIOS!!