Tuesday, September 29

Go Carts on Moss Avenue

Back in the day, you used to actually make your own personal flying machine. But this one came with four wheels that never got off the ground. We creatively attached them to a slotted 2x4 with a big hole in the middle for a shiney new bolt (or an old one if you were poor like us). This front axle would sport a rope rein and swivel perfectly. You had to count on it to steer you away from any deadly obstacles. Of course, if you ran into something solid like a curb or car, the warranty would be voided immediately.

Wheels and axles were cannibalized from old doll buggies or beat up wagons. The floorboard and sides were made from just about anything that was 12" wide, flat, and could be nailed together. Any opened pint of paint was enough to add class to your custom cruiser, but most of us couldn't wait for the paint to dry before that first run and opted for that natural look.

Paso Robles was the perfect town to test drive your newly designed go-cart. Plenty of hills and little traffic assured hours of pain-free racing. And when the cart-bug bit a whole neighborhood, it was race time on Moss Avenue!

Move over, Jeff Gordon!

Monday, September 21

Avila Beach in the 1930's

My father, Don Skinner, grew up off of South Broad Street in San Luis Obispo. Born in 1921 to a hard-working Union Oil man from Templeton and a doting mother from Tennessee, he and his younger sister, Margaret, would become part of the greatest generation of kids who experienced relative innocence before the horrors of WWII re-defined their view of the world.

Avila Beach in the 30's offered a great getaway from the somewhat bustling burg of SLO. Picnics, swimming, trying to get a suntan and people-watching were the main fare. Take your best friend and just have fun --- all encouraged, financed and supervised by your parents. I doubt if he enjoyed that last point as he entered the hormone crazed teen years.

Dad was a great model builder, trumpet player, Boy Scout, swimmer and track star. Oh, then there was the lady's man image that I don't need to detail.

And all of this brings me to the real reason for this blog. I need your help in identifying the homemade board stuck in the sand behind my dad. The year is probably 1938 since Grumpy was a big screen star that year. Was this board used to ride the waves or water-skim on the shore? I really doubt it was used for surfing as most boards at that time were extremely long and heavy. [But later research information from the SLO Tribune's David Middlecamp has debunked this ignorant theory! Thanks, David]

Gary Lynch has told me this much about it: "It is a very common design/shape seen on the beaches of So Cal starting approximately after the turn of the last century (1900). It is a take off of early Hawaiian shapes and used in abundant numbers both in private ownership and rental concessions at many of the most visited beaches in So Cal and other areas of the USA." Gary lives in Templeton and is the author of Tom Blake: The Uncommon Journey of a Pioneer Waterman.

Tom Wegener Surfboards website labels this board style as a Hawaiian Alaia. Yes, it is still used on the waves!

You could also share any vintage beach and surfing stories, pictures and SLO area trivia for my readers. Thanks!

Sunday, September 20

Sunday Sermon

There's a powerful passage in St. Paul's letter to the church in Rome that says something I used to vehemently deny. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness supress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." Romans 1:18-20

My reason had been disabled by my unwillingness to admit (and therefore acknowledge and listen to) the existence of God. Paul goes on to say, "they exchanged the truth about God for a lie" in verse 23. For me, truth was something I was making up for myself along the way, like, "If it feels good, do it," and "If it doesn't hurt anyone else, it's okay," and "I'm the captain of my own ship."

Then one day the lie was exchanged for the truth. The Bible became a living letter. The Lord Jesus Christ stopped me in my tracks and said, "follow me." What a fool I had been!

Listen to C.H. Spurgeon's comment on God's revelation of Himself in nature: "Flowers, what are they? They are but the thoughts of God solidified—God’s beautiful thoughts put into shape. Storms, what are they? They are God’s terrible thoughts written out that we may read them. Thunders, what are they? They are God’s powerful emotions just opened out that men may hear them. The world is the materializing of God’s thoughts, for the world is a thought in God’s eyes. He made it first from a thought that came from His own mighty mind and everything in the majestic temple that He has made has meaning! From Vol. 50, Sermon 2896.

God has spoken twice: in nature and in His Word. Are you listening?

Sunday, September 13

September Visit To True Tennessee

Tennessee is neither for the impressionist painter, earringed pirates, nor frumpless foo foos. It is real America, real rural America with real rural residents whose roots extend back to a time when the simple life ruled the forests of the Cumberland Plateau, Sequatchie Valley and the Appalachian Mountains.

Big city life is closer to the almost-all-American pulse, but the smaller the town, the truer reflection of the historical character, values and architecture can be seen. A modern world defines this cultural phenomenon as backward, backwoodsy, and hicksvillean. It derides any mention of its simplistic beauty. It fails to appreciate its depth of character and laughs at all things red-necked.

I feel a bit guilty for snapping this picture without getting to know the man first. A little unfair to him --- and you as the viewers, who are right now thinking biased thoughts of who he might be, has he ever been out of Pikeville, and what color corn-cob pipe does he smoke? Sorry.

See all the pictures here: Dave Skinner Photography

Friday, September 4

Little Brother

Angel's little half-bro is definitely looking the part of a Limas. Like father, like son and daughter.

Thursday, September 3

A Wowie-Zowie Dinner

Sometimes originality pays big dividends, as proven by Barb's out-of-the-blue Crocktipzini. Here's how to treat yourself to an easy, pleasy dinner, especially if you like to dip your bread in the savory juices!


* 1 1/2 lb. Tri-Tip steak strips, about 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide
* 1 - 14.5 oz can S & W stewed tomatoes, Mexican Recipe (style)
* 2 - small 5" fresh zucchini
* Seasoned pepper
* Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning

How to:

In a 4 qt. crock pot, put steak strips, stewed tomatoes cut up, 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper.
Sprinkle Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning to taste (about 1 1/2 teaspoon).
Cook on low for 8-9 hours. Add sliced or quartered pieces of zucchini for the last hour only.

Pretty easy for you super-cooks out there. Warning: This is all it will take to make them ask for more and beg you for the recipe to put on their blog!