Orange County Register — North County News-Tribune; Date: Dec. 19, 2019; Section: News; Page Number: A3
WHAT A DAY
Placentia is a community to celebrate
The holidays are always filled with too much to do and too little time to do it. We take our busy lives and make them busier with whatever traditions we embrace. Even our city has additional events each December for us to enjoy. I’m in awe of the energy and resources it takes for Placentia to help us celebrate.
It’s an embarrassment of riches, one that I’m always happy to experience.
This December began with the Placentia Community Prayer Breakfast, held at the Placentia Round Table Women’s Club. It’s a lovely morning of people from different organizations in the city, gathering together to reflect and be thankful.
I was thankful they were serving coffee.
Mayor Pro Tem Ward Smith was our emcee, and set the tone by observing that no matter what kind of organization we serve in, we are all part of the community. Little did he know how that statement would keep coming back to remind me of what was important.
The morning’s speaker was Letty Gali of LOT318. Her story was an inspiration to anyone who wants to serve others but doesn’t know how. According to her, everyone has time, talents, or treasure. All you have to do is show up.
From the morning breakfast, I shifted gears to attend the City of Placentia Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. It’s always a treat to watch young dancers from the local academies, listen to choirs, and see the kids’ faces when Santa arrives.
I also really appreciate the attention they give to Hanukkah, telling the story of the Festival of Lights. It’s a bountiful season for many faiths.
This year, I hung back and watched the action. Families recorded their little ballerinas, their faces glowing with pride. Moms with toddlers continually corralled their kiddos, trying to keep them contained without causing any meltdowns.
I remembered doing all of those things with Marcus, and felt a camaraderie with them. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know these people, or that my own child was grown and gone.
We were a community.
The following week, I was in downtown Placentia for the 25th Annual Tamale Festival. Dale and I have gone for many years. It’s always lively and always crowded, and there are always long lines for tamales.
This year was no different. We decided to branch out and get tamales from several vendors. It meant standing in more lines, but it was worth it. We bought from El Cantarito, Raffa’s, and Imperial Market. They were all delicious.
By the end of the evening, I felt like I’d eaten my way through the whole festival.
As we stood in yet another line, I was struck by the friendliness of everyone around me. We were all waiting, hoping they’d still have tamales by the time we ordered, frustrated when the line stopped, and yet…
Everyone was talking to each other and laughing and enjoying the moment. I can’t begin to describe the diversity—it seemed that every ethnicity was represented. We were strangers and we didn’t care. At that moment, we were all enjoying the music, the food and the cerveza.
Yes, we saw familiar faces, and shared common stories and jokes, but by the end of the evening, I felt like I knew everyone in that massive crowd. Like Ward said, we were a community.
I do hope they don’t all want to exchange Christmas cards.
Longtime Placentia resident Gayle Carline tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, computer whiz and horsewoman. E-mail her at [email protected].