Living on the Central Coast in July is a Midsummer Night’s Dream, a Puckish study in contrasts. It’s a blend of here and there, hot and cold, fog and sun, dark night and super moon, mellowness and mischief.
It’s the Mid-State Fair crush and the relative solitude of North Coast shorelines relentless summer-rush traffic on Highways 101, 1 and 46 versus a recreational ramble down any of the county’s more remote creek or valley roads a walk at dawn in Cambria’s pine forest or a noontime stroll on a bikini-and-Speedo-packed South County beach.
Summer’s magic stretches from early June to the first day of school, which used to be the day after Labor Day.
These days, classes start for many kids in the beginning or middle of hot, hot August: “Gasp! Gasp!” “P.E., are you kidding me?” “Where’s the A/C?” “Teacher, teacher, help me! I’m mellllllting!”
The school time frame truncates a family’s vacationing opportunities, so tourism traffic patterns have changed somewhat in recent years. The midsummer “Oh my gosh, there are only a couple more weeks of vacation!” travel crunch arrives earlier and earlier.
This summer, things are a little different for some of us on the North Coast.
You clever person, you’ve figured out the meaning of my cryptic recent column on abandonment, haven’t you? I couldn’t tell you then that editor Bert Etling was leaving The Cambrian and The Tribune, because he hadn’t announced it yet. After nearly 14 years of working together, his departure was a wrench to the psyche after all, we’d been work partners longer than the duration of many marriages!
We’re still adjusting to the fact that he’s gone to the greener (and rainier) pastures of Oregon, where he was greeted by family and his new job editing the Ashland Daily Tidings newspaper. Check him out online at www.dailytidings.com.
The Cambrian, our award-winning weekly paper, will have a new editor within the next month or two; as we all know, it takes time to find just the right person. He or she will be my sixth on-site boss since 1991, including editors John Read, Suzy McDonald, Bill Morem, Jay Thompson and (for the longest stint by far) Bert. That doesn’t include the string of editors to whom I submitted my columns for a decade before that: Claudia Snow (Elliott), Sam Vigil, Toni Booth (Barnett). The list goes on.
Although my colleagues will pitch in, I’m the sole Cambrian editorial employee for now, so I need YOUR help more than ever.
When I joined the paper’s staff in 1991, I began collecting a charming cadre of people willing to keep their ears open on my behalf. They report back to me from their jobs, their posts in a nonprofit or on an agency board, from their volunteering, socializing or schmoozing on the patio at Cambria Coffee Roasting Co.
Through the years, the club has expanded to include people in other areas of the county.
All are members of my treasured “007 Club” (borrowing from Ian Fleming’s sexy snoop, James Bond). Club members keep me plugged into what’s happening in our little town and on the North Coast and Central Coast.
You, dear 007ers, are my lifeline to the news, especially because I haven’t yet mastered cloning or the art of being in more than one place at a time. I treasure each and every one of you, and I rely on you.
How does it work?
Call me at 927-4140. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or stop me on the street, at the farmers market, in Cookie Crock or anyplace else we see each other just like always.
For now, send news tips or stories to me (email address above).
With the help of senior editor Joe Tarica, we’ll make a good team. We’ll make it work until the new editor is in residence.
Meanwhile, have a wonderful rest of your summer, however long that lasts in your household and locale.
Enjoy our midsummer nights and days on the Central Coast, filled with fun, music, merriment, mischief, romance and (we hope) lots of good news, good dreams and plenty of air conditioning.