We spent Thanksgiving with my family in Fresno, where my parents moved from San Jose when they retired. After a not-so-bad drive with three dogs in the back seat, it was nice catching up with aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Doesn't happen every year, but on the Day After Thanksgiving I like to drive out to Mendota, a small agricultural city (population approx. 10,000) in western Fresno County. My grandparents moved there in the '40s, my mom was born there, and I enjoyed entire weeks there during my childhood summers.
These days Mendota is known for an astonishingly high unemployment rate and dismal job prospects. The reason...no water due to drought and diversions to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The bad news keeps coming, like Greyhound dropping service, the last bank closing up, and the local sugar beet processing plant shuttering.
Lucky for me the nice memories won over...buying Richie Rich and Captain Carrot comics at the Food Center, drinking bottled Coke at the Snowden Market, throwing rocks in the alleys and vacant lots, climbing trees with my cousins, hanging out at the Mendota Slough.