Reinterpreted: a backwards glance into the life of Rider South

Tonight I believe I experienced true humility. I expected a good story; the truth about a man who had an unusual life experience. What I discovered was a great understanding of the intricacies of living life.

Rider South, now 79, is the son of the famed Marshal South who was best known for his the chronicles of his primitive desert living experiment with his family that lasted 17 years starting in 1930. Now living in The Middle of Nowhere, New Mexico, Rider agreed to do a 10-day tour with Diana Lindsey, arranged by Sunbelt Publications, talking about his story on the mountain, which included a return visit to Ghost Mountain. The last stop of the tour was San Diego History Center.

Diana Lindsey, probably the foremost expert on the history of the Anza-Borrego, set the stage by telling the story of Marshal South and his life as a poet, novelist, journalist, potter, homesteader, founder of a local militia, and admirer of women. The stories were above and beyond the history that I knew and had read. Diana painted the picture of a man who sought attention for his passions but quit as soon as his work reached popular demand for fear of it becoming a “job.” He was creative, independent, stubborn, and self-serving.

As Rider took the mic, it was easy to see that he had not inherited most of his father’s traits. He seemed apprehensive even though this was this final time he had to speak. His descriptions of his life and experiences felt distanced from any emotion of his life in the desert. When asked to describe his his return to Ghost Mountain, he described the difficulty of the trail at 79 compared with his youth as well the change of landscape. When asked about whether he felt jealous of other kids upon seeing them in books with houses and appliances, he merely responded… they were just books and other people’s lives. He spoke of returning to civilization and graduating from Point Loma High School as if it were just another day. Rider married the love of his life, Lucile, late in life (she was 68) although he followed her everywhere her path would lead. Last year, she passed away at 100 and 1/2. She was an inspiration in her own right.

After the talk, I had the privilege to meet Rider. We spoke of his miniature poodle, Suzy, who watches him fall asleep every night. He shared how he likes the dry weather of New Mexico and how his town has one of every store he needs, just enough. I learned his brother and sister now live in the rainy northwest and how his grandchildren are spread far and wide. He gushed over our store associate who gave him a postcard after he had inquired the price. He had never heard of a postcard that cost $1.60… He remembers when they cost a penny, and that included the stamp! This simple gesture of kindness he will forever remember.

Self-conscious of his age and the consequences of aging, he expressed his travel frustrations when his friend told him he was too old to drive the trip from New Mexico to San Diego.

“I’m so old!” He exclaimed to me as he picked up a painting his father had painted of him as a child on the mountain. But youth has not escaped him. It was reflected in his eyes when he received the postcard. It could be seen as he spoke about the things that mattered most to him, right now. And, you know what… It wasn’t his father, nor any of the years he spent on that mountain. That was the past. They could stay there. It was his dog, his wife and his simple life in a place that had just enough. Just enough.

Image of Rider South from East County Magazine


Small Business Saturday

While big box stores and shopping malls are gearing up for special sales on Friday and online sales are set for Cyber Monday, Saturday has been claimed for small businesses. The marketing effort, spearheaded by American Express (most likely trying to mend broken small business relations due to credit card fees),  has been broad reaching, focusing on business districts and main streets across America. In its second year, North Park Main Street was approached to be a part of the promotions.

On Saturday in North Park you will find shops open for business, many with special deals and or extended hours. District 3 Councilmember Todd Gloria will be on-site for a proclamation and drawing at noon for 12 $25 American Express gift cards, plus some other giveaways. The festivities will be taking place all over North Park, but these special affairs will be at Art Produce on 30th and Herman. Santa will also be out and about.

Regardless if you make it out on Saturday, make sure you frequent your community’s small businesses this holiday season. Do your part to get out and shop local.

Community involvement… Hey, you can help too.

Once you take a break from something, it really is hard to get back in the habit.  This blog has been lingering out there, hovering and waiting until some brilliance pops into my head. But recently, I think the brilliance has been blocked by a few other things shaping my thoughts. So, in effort to kickstart my creative juices, I have resolved to type out all of the community affairs I have my little fingers in. And as a bonus, I have included some “take action” notes on how you too can get involved, because sharing is caring.

San Diego Music Thing: Friday & Saturday, September 9-10

An annual 2-day music conference taking place at the historic Lafayette Hotel in North Park. Like a mini-SXSW, the North Park Music Thing organizes panels, workshops and performances helping to reveal relevant resources, trends and news pertaining to the music industry today and specifically to San Diego’s music scene.

This year, I’m aiding in recruiting and assigning volunteers to evening roles… primarily production (making sure the acts stay on time) and door (collecting money).  If you are interested in helping out and seeing some cool shows,  sign up to volunteer. If you want to attend, buy your tickets now.

Girl Scout’s Urban Campout adult fundraiser: Friday, September 16

Girl Scout’s annual gala that is more of a dress up party than a formal affair takes place at in the transformed headquarter’s parking lot at the north end of Balboa Park. This year’s theme is “Hooray for  Hollywood: Casting Call… Characters Wanted” encourages guests to dress as their favorite movie character. Big names in San Diego as well as many of our community volunteers love to attend this event, bidding on auction items,  playing silly games and dancing the night away.

You can usually find me backstage pushing the mayor and Carol LeBeau on stage. I enjoy managing the stage for this event, but I’m looking forward to the day I can attend. You should go, it is a wild night where you can meet some of the most down-to-earth movers in San Diego.

Classics 4 Kids Ethan Bortnick benefit concert: Sunday, September 25

My newest involvement, Classics 4 Kids focuses on  music education for elementary school students through professional orchestra concerts and integrated arts curriculum. The benefit concert next month is something of the likes you only see in movies. Ten-year old piano sensation Ethan Bortnick makes history as the youngest musician, composer, and entertainer ever to headline a national concert tour! Pretty cool. At ten, I think I was learning the recorder/Flutaphone.

As a board member for Classics 4 Kids, I have been helping them promote this event and getting the word out about their amazing program. This is a good chance to step out of your usual date night experience and try this unique experience while benefiting a great cause. I will be there, will you?

North Park Toyland Parade and Holiday Fair: Saturday, December 3

The Toyland Parade is heading into it’s 48th year of Santa and fun holiday spirits cruising down University to the crowds of families and neighbors lining the street. After the parade, a holiday fair in the back of the Birch Theatre allows you to meet Santa and get a little holiday shopping done.

Chairing the parade and holiday fair committee allows me to continue to give love back to North Park in the season when I’m not planning the North Park Festival of Arts. You can start your holiday cheer now by donating or convincing friends (or a local business/organization) to sign up to be in the parade.

Man,  I hope that helped relieve some space in my head. Watch this space for (hopefully) more creative posts in the (near) future.

Back to reality

My life is slowly getting back to normal as is my over-taxed body. The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind so much so that I just realized that I forgot to press “publish” on the last post I did for a band. Now I need to update it with new show information (Sorry, Emily).

If you have been in a cave, you may not know that last weekend was the North Park Festival of Arts… the festival I work on with a team of awesome, committed individuals including Liz and Amy from North Park Main Street, Rosey from San Diego: Dialed In, Dang from Bar Pink, Kathryn from Stage 7, Anna and David from A7D, Natalie from McFarlane Promotions and Svea from San Diego North Park Craft Mafia. Also we had a great media partnership with FM94.9 for the Craft Beer Block that allowed us to expand the block by about 100 ft. I hope you made it out to see the incredible diversity of art, dance or music. The weather was perfect and drunkenness was kept to a manageable level. Good responsible drinking. Even Mayor Jerry Saunders and his wife Rana Sampson made it out for some beer tasting. Apparently, SoundDiego has photos, but I have yet to see them posted. Anyhow, overall the event was a success and I look forward to doing it again next year (after some rest).

Another event that happened in the last couple of weeks as the TEDx Amercia’s Finest City at the Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla. It was an awesome opportunity to meet people who are seeking to drive change and make a difference in the world. The theme was “Get Your Fix” which each speaker took at from a different angle.  Barbarella hosted the as 15 speakers as they each had 12-18 minutes to share their point. Despite technical difficulties, the event ran well and it made me want to get moving on making a positive impact for social good. Yes, I realize the festival qualifies as a positive impact to the North Park community, but I feel like I could do more. And I might just get my chance. One of the event organizers of TEDxAFC wants to collaborate with me on developing a follow-up event with the same sort of theme to continue the momentum of bringing people together creating positive change. We shall see what becomes of that, but it shows promise.

Oh and there is an exciting derby bout this weekend that you do not want to miss. I will be there, but no skates. Skating has taken a back seat to all of my community and family work. Trading love for love. So that is the world of me right now. I hope to be seeing you around!

Julian Hard Cider Hoodang or how to make your own cider

From apples to alcohol, and DIY. I was not going to miss out on this event. At the end of October, Julian Hard Cider put on a one-of-a-kind event to learn how to make your own cider. Wow. Seriously, you missed out not being there.

First thing after your ID was checked and payment (only $40) was handed over, each person received a 22-oz bottle of Julian Hard Cider and you were escorted through the recently picked Julian apple orchard.

Once you reached the clearing, bluegrass music and the smell of barbecue filled the cool mountain air.

Jeremy’s on the Hill (located in Wynola just before you reach Julian) catered the event with pulled-pork sandwiches, roasted corn and coleslaw that makes my stomach growl just thinking of it. It is another farm-to-table restaurant you must check out if you are headed in that direction. Speaking of farm-to-table restaurants, the entire staff of our favorite local on 30th and Upas, Sea Rocket Bistro closed the restaurant for the day for a retreat to the Hoodang.

So the two educational portions of the event included a tour of the press and a session on making cider. We started off with the tour since the lunch line was long and we weren’t starving. It was interesting to watch them demonstrate the steps of pressing apples as it happened right before your eyes.

Yum, apple juice! For making at home, a juicer should do just fine.

After the tour, a local bakery (I forget who ’cause the cider was kicking in) provided apple turnovers for each person. Dessert before lunch = WIN!

After the tour we sat down for lunch and picked up another cider. The next cider came in a refillable glass mug (see first photo). Yep, and we got to keep the mug too.

After a delicious lunch, we went to our session on making cider. Paul introduced his staff who shared the history and details of making cider. Knowing their audience had been drinking for a couple of hours by this point and no one was taking notes, they placed the instructions on their website after the event.

This trip is still coming back to me… after my recent visit to Home Brew and Gardens, I realized how awesomely inexpensive making hard cider really is and how it is far simpler than brewing beer. So there. Expect great things.