Tuesday, November 17, 2009


When I heard there was a rodeo in Brawley that I needed to go to for research, I was thrilled. My cousin lived there and I had not seen her in 30 years. Now 83 years old, she lives in the same ranch surrounded by her 300 acres much of which she rents out. Right next to her home is the field of organic lettuce, which is in the above picture.

My drive began in Palm Springs and I chose to drive through the entire Coachella Valley. It is always so fascinating to me to see how different the towns are, while connected and display their own personalities.

After leaving the “cities”, I entered an area where date palms orchards dot the county side. It is harvest time, so many of the dates were still on the trees protected by paper envelopes. At the moment, can’t remember if the cover is for bugs, sun, or birds.

Therefore, the orchards gave way to barren land. Before long, there it was the great Salton Lake. Actually, it reminds you somewhat of an ocean because of its’ immense size. I could not see to the other side.

Along the way, I stopped at a beach. Sure enough, there were the clumps of salt I had heard about. My first impulse was to break some off and take it home. Then I looked around, saw the dead fish carcasses, and decided that was not one of my better ideas.

I traveled along the lake for over an hour. Barren land, with lots of “washes” that obviously serve to protect the area when it rains. Remember the lake is below sea level so apparently rain rushes toward it.

Soon the land started having life to it. Large farms started appearing with buildings far and few between. This is one time I was VERY glad I had learned to trust my GPS for it took down many roads that went for miles. When the GPS announced the name of the road my cousin lived on there was both a sense of relief and excitement.

Turned the corner and there she was out her front yard. This spry woman was thinner than I had remembered, yet her smile gave her away. I was with family. Over the next five hours, we talked and share family news.

When she took me to my bedroom, there was a beautiful quilt on the bed. I commented on it and she said “Your Mom helped Larry (her son) pick it out years ago.” A moment that rather takes your breath away—Mom was right there with me on this amazing journey.

An early morning walk to view the rising sun and then off to a wonderful real Mexican breakfast. It was time to say good-bye. As I pulled away, I knew I had been given a tremendous gift of really connecting with someone and learning about life in what is considered California’s bread basket.


It is easy to get distracted with social media. My suggestion you build into your routine time to work with them. I have chosen to use LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

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