Written by Bakersfield Magazine
One of my favorite family things growing up was “not have to” presents—a gift that was given for no particular reason. No holiday or birthday; not because of some accomplishment or award—it was a thoughtful gift, sometimes big, sometimes small, and always “just because.” Whether giving or receiving, they always had the most meaning.
Freshly out of high school and newly “rich” from working full time, I came across an ad, in Hot Rod magazine of all places, for a “pair of genuine diamond stud earrings.” It was a beautiful layout with top-notch photography that made the earrings jump off the page and sparkle like the chrome on a Barris custom (in other words...very sparkly). The price was too good to be true, but according to the ad these were from a newly discovered diamond mine in Africa (the biggest ever!) and soon the market would be flooded with these diamonds, so they were able to offer this incredible deal to the general public. Made sense to me, seeing as I had recently graduated with a diploma as a know-it-all of nothing...
Now, being the “listener” that I am, I knew my mom had always wanted a pair of diamond stud earrings. I also knew this was my opportunity to give the most memorable “not have to” gift ever. Reading the ad further, I found out if I “acted now,” they’d throw in a second pair for free! Imagine my good fortune!
After withdrawing the entire double-digits that made up my savings account and mailing my order off, it was time to smugly sit back and wait. And wait. And still I waited (Heinz 57 had nothing on these guys). Finally, my parcel arrived. I quickly ran to my room and began to inspect the contents: bill of sale, check...official certificate of authenticity included at no additional charge, check...earrings...umm. Earrings? Frantically I tore through the packaging. How could they have forgotten to put in the earrings? And that’s when I noticed something taped to the back of the C.O.A. No way! These things were so small, I had to take them out in the sun to fully embrace their measly existence. Talk about gullible.
That night, I presented a gift box to my mom as I told my story; the “aww” factor was overwhelming and then the proverbial gasp as she opened the box...followed by hysterical laughter! I was right. This was the most memorable “not have to” ever—we teased and laughed about it for years.
The moral of the story? If something seems too cheap to be good, it probably is. That’s why we’ve spent the last two months researching the more than 700 restaurants in Kern County to find the best Cheap Eats in town: nearly 50 restaurants serving satisfying meals for under $10. Plus, being the gluttons for punishment that we are, we’ve added an extra twist—nearly 20 local places to find scrumptious Sweet Treats for $5 or less. We did the hard part, now all you have to do is peruse the list, pick your favorites, and enjoy! A smorgasbord of tasty savings—it’s our “not have to” gift to you. Cheap Eats starts on page 37.
This is also our 13th Annual presentation of KernHealth and one of our most varied, with a wide range of stories to help keep you informed of the choices available to you in local healthcare, as well as a couple humorous takes on the world of medicine. KernHealth starts on page 47.
We’ve also added a few more surprises, as well as all of our great regular features. It’s another fantastic issue—enjoy.
Safe and Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Article appeared in our 27-5 Issue - December 2010