I’ve been writ­ing for my local paper, the Pla­cen­tia News-Times, since March 2005 and I’m lov­ing every minute of it. Thanks to my bosses, Jim Rad­cliffe and Heather McRea, I get to enter­tain my fel­low Pla­cen­tians every week with the exploits of a typ­i­cal semi-professional jug­gler of home, work, and life (and maybe a 1000-lb horse). In other words, it’s all about me.

First of all, con­trary to my brother’s opin­ion, it is not “After­birth, Cal­i­for­nia.” Rumor has it that it is a Span­ish word mean­ing “pleas­ant place.” Peo­ple of His­panic her­itage pro­nounce it in a very lilt­ing, seduc­tive way. We Grin­gos just say, “Pluh-SEN-cha.”

That being said, Pla­cen­tia is one of those lit­tle cities in the big Orange County that is just to the south of Los Ange­les. If you’ve ever dri­ven down one of our free­ways, such as the I-5, it would appear there are no small towns in south­ern Cal­i­for­nia, only one big, sprawl­ing mega­lopo­lis. It is true, there is no break in the side­walk that ends at Whit­tier and begins again in Norwalk.

And yet, if you live in one of these lit­tle burgs for awhile, you begin to notie what is unique about it. It’s slightly amaing to me that, amid all the cor­po­rate same­ness of Star­bucks and Home Depot and Old Navy stores that line every off-ramp, I can still pick Pla­cen­tia out of a lineup. I rec­og­nize its cozi­ness, its quiet, its His­panic fla­vor. I’ve called it home for over 20 years and don’t see any rea­son to move. Of course when non-Californians ask me where I’m from, they dont’ rec­og­nize my answer of “Pla­cen­tia.” So most of the time I add, “near Disneyland.”

It’s true enough.

To read this week’s col­umn, go here.

To read last week’s col­umn, go here.

To read the whole dang paper, this is the place.

Want to read this week’s col­umn, hot off the Inter­net? Drop me a line and I’ll put you on the mail­ing list (no I won’t spam you with a bunch of use­less garbage). Just hit the CON­TACT but­ton above.

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