I’ve loved Heritage Day from the first time I attended in 1991. It always reminds me of the days when Caddo was busy and prosperous and people walked the streets and shopped on the weekends. I know many of the current residents have those same memories, but mine are just a bit different because I have the contrasting memories of my life in the city. Caddo was always a respite from the hustle and bustle of California. It always soothed my soul to be here, and I suppose in the back of my mind I always knew this is where I would settle down.
Of course as a young woman I fought the small town image and thought I would be better off in the city with all of its opportunities and excitement. I enjoyed a lot of things about California and even a few of the conveniences of city life. But I am at the core a country woman and the country was quickly disappearing in that state beside the sea. Don’t let the big fields and orchards fool you- they are not the natural landscape. “Crowded” is not my favorite environment! And “expensive” isn’t my way of life. So here we are and hopefully here is where we will stay.
Tomorrow I will walk the streets and talk with neighbors and friends and I’ll recall those Saturday nights when the screen door of Craighead’s slammed shut every ten or fifteen minutes as customers went in and out. I will remember the laughter as people streamed out of the theater. I will smell the burgers and chicken fried steaks that once satisfied hungry diners at the cafés. I will reminisce about trying to decide which grocery store had the best prices. I’ll remember drinking a cherry cola at the drug store fountain and dreaming about buying the new sandals displayed in the window of the shoe store.
Memories- that’s why Heritage Day is so important. Things have changed over the years. Life is different. Much of Caddo is literally disappearing. The weather isn’t going to be all that wonderful tomorrow. But a day of memories is priceless and should be savored at least once a year. I hope to see you downtown!