Thursday, March 27, 2008

An Excuse to Eat Chocolate in the Eastern Sierras

Spent Easter weekend in Bridgeport with Mom and Dad. Big brothers, their wives, and all the nieces were absent, some down south playing in the desert, and the others at their own home recovering from the flu -- bummer. But, that meant more chocolate for me...ya gotta find the silver lining.
I've said it here before, but I love Bridgeport. Pure and simple. It's small and real and high in the Eastern Sierras. An amazing place to have grown up, and an even cooler place to go back to over and over again. (And the population has boomed from the 500 it was when I was a kid.)
The west side of the valley is the east side of Yosemite -- locals call these the crags, but on a map, they're called the Sawtooth. They're above Twin Lakes, and though I grew up looking at them every day, they still take my breath away.
Close to the Nevada border, Bridgeport is cattle country and hosts a rodeo each July. The view above is the view from the rodeo grounds.
And what's a small town without a community Easter Egg Hunt? It's at a little park in the center of town each year, and different sections of the park are for children of different ages. The spot for the youngest kids always cracks me up (pun intended)...even I can spot these eggs.
And this year, they put the eggs for the smallest kids on the tennis courts so they wouldn't get plowed down by the older kids. There's a basketball net on the court, too, and though I didn't react quickly enough to catch it on film, one little tiny guy picked up his first egg, and promptly walked over to the basketball hoop, intent on throwing the egg in -- makes sense to me.
The oldest kids have a bit more of a challenge waiting for them, although a few of their eggs were right out in the open, too.
On Easter afternoon, Mom and I invited family friend, Sue, to drive up to Twin Lakes with us and walk along Upper Twin. It was fairly warm, and beautiful with all the snow and the partially frozen lake.
We had Sue snap a shot of us. I always have to twist Mom's arm, as she hates having her pic taken, but I'm glad I got her to agree.

And this is Bridgeport. Bridgeport Lake is behind it, and as kids, we swam there during the summer, and ice skated on it in the winter -- great fun, though a bit freaky when you could hear the ice cracking and water moving underneath the ice.
When you read that gas is going to get to $4.00 a gallon soon, well, let people know it already has. Costs a bit to truck gas all the way up here, you know, and the locals pay the price.
On the way back to Fresno, I passed my old high school, which is 35 miles away from Bridgeport, toward Nevada. Kids from three communities went here: Bridgeport, Walker, and Coleville. When I was there, there were only 100 kids in grades 9th through 12th -- I graduated with 15. Believe it or not, I think it's even smaller now.
Hammerbacher's is a store just down the road from the high school, and I have fond memories of walking down during lunch as well as after basketball and softball practice at the end of the day -- needed snacks for that long bus drive back to Bridgeport. It's a bit run down now, so I figured I better get a pic of the sign before it's gone altogether.
And I also passed this sign just past the high school. Jackie Giorgi was the Spanish teacher, our girls' basketball coach, and our athletic director. She was a great lady, and passed away a few years ago. I still remember how much she emphasized good sportsmanship. During one home basketball game, a kid in our audience boo-ed the other team. Mrs. Giorgi suddenly appeared out of nowhere on the floor in front of our bleachers, pointed up to that student, and made him leave the gym. She didn't put up with any crap -- the way it should be. She really did teach us that the way we played and the way we conducted ourselves were much more important than who won the game. Simple, but incredibly important lessons that don't always get taught.
A great place to grow up. Wouldn't trade it for the world. Even if there weren't chocolate....

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