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King City
June 13, 2024

Funny Papers Again Column | ‘One Ticket for Greenfield, Please.’ ‘ER, Which One?’

I don’t believe I am alone in thinking the last two Funny Papers Again columns were just not necessary. While like most citizens, I have personal positions regarding the present political atmosphere in America, but that does not mean I should use space in a local paper to present those positions; even though the opportunity exists for any opposing positions to state their case. In future, starting with today’s column, the print space I am allowed is best used for local stuff or just plain fluff. Again, I do not believe I am alone in this position.

***

The words in today’s title are fictional, of course, but could be an exchange heard at any place a bus ticket could be purchased in person. Because there are 29 states in the union that carry the name Greenfield, any ticket seller would have to know the state intended. That number was new to me; prior to some research, I knew of only three Greenfields, my hometown and one over in Kern County that does not really count as a town. The Greenfield seven miles south of Bakersfield, just east of Pumpkin Patch, is a Census Designated Area (more on CDA later) and not a town, but I remember prior to Zip Codes letters addressed to Greenfield, Calif., had to designate the proper county.

The other Greenfield I know is in Iowa, not far from my mother’s hometown of Mount Ayr, where once on vacation my older brother went with some relatives to Greenfield to see a movie being filmed there. My brother saw Dick Van Dyke sitting on the curb eating a snack during a break and I recall being very jealous and angry at myself for turning down the chance to go. The film, “Cold Turkey” (storyline was an entire city population attempting to quit smoking cigarettes for one week), was not a big hit and I do not remember how long after I finally saw it.

Down here in King City, we have only three same-name towns across the nation, one each in Oregon, Missouri and Georgia; but there is one very close to the USA in Ontario, Canada. If we go by the numbers high to low, Bradley has 17 counterpart names in America, and if Lockwood is your destination, you have 12 others across the nation besides ours to choose from. Also, a surprise to me, there are nine states with towns or areas called Metz, ours included.

For the big numbers we must go world wide to find there are 95 places on the planet with the moniker Soledad but only one in the United States; and San Lucas also stands alone in the nation as the only one of 57 so named in the world. A look at the other stand-alone towns or areas we know reveals Chualar (Spanish for Pigweed Grove), Bitterwater and Sweet Water (although there are 14 Sweetwaters) and Jolon. There are many sites named Pine Canyon and most are natural areas, but our Pine Canyon is designated as an unincorporated area with CDA status, so residents there are counted as part of King City’s population.

And now to the quaint little burg of San Ardo. There is only one San Ardo in the world and many know the reason for that. In Spanish the word San and Santa are equivalent to saint in English, so here in California we have many Sans: Francisco, Jose (in Missouri it is Saint Joseph), Diego, Rafael. We also have Santas: Barbara, Cruz, Rosa, etc. But which saint was Ardo? He was Bernardo; the Grange Hall still carries the appellation but decades ago, prior to Zip Codes, an understaffed and burdened postal department said too many letters addressed to residents of San Bernardo were ending up way down in San Bernardino, so they affixed a shortened version upon the village. Because no one now living remembers when the original name was in use, it is lost to folklore, found now only in written history.

***

A few weeks back I completed a series of physical therapies to ease the pain and limited mobility due to a small tear in my left rotator cuff, which for the unaware is in the shoulder joint. Upon my first visit I was informed that due to my advanced age (over 70 years the benchmark for that designation) I must first perform two agility tests to determine the level of treatment I was capable of. Fine.

The first test was to see how long I could remain unassisted on one foot; Doc Bob and Doc Jacqui standing close with hands ready to catch me if I went down. I did not go down; in fact, after 30 seconds on each foot Bob stopped the stop watch. I could have gone on. The next test was to see if I could turn a complete 360-degree circle on one foot, the time for such a feat for my age is 4.2 seconds per foot. I did both feet one after the other in less than a second.

Please understand this not a personal pat on the back, this is a salute to Mrs. H and a studio full of young dancers who, if not actually keeping me alive, are at the very least keep keeping me on my toes. And to that end, I am honored to have been asked to portray the Butler in the opening scene of this year’s annual “The Nutcracker Ballet”; my ninth guest performer appearance for Monterey County Dance Theatre, and every rehearsal season brings added life to this old thespian. I am truly grateful for that.

Take care. Peace.

Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson
King City and Greenfield columnist Steve Wilson may be reached at [email protected].

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