You’d never know it by looking at me, but my family has a long history in local farming. I can trace it back to 1893 when my great-great-grandfather, Calvin B. Alexander, came from Indiana and bought his first acreage in Kern County in what has become known as Alexander’s Corner (more widely known as Weedpatch).
It started out harmless enough. Eddy, a childhood friend of some 45 odd years, had bought a home at auction and was in the process of fixing it up. We were talking and somehow got on the topic of him building a fence around his mom’s property one summer. “It was the hardest job I ever had—jumping up and down on that shovel like a lunatic, trying anything and everything to dig those damn post holes—and I was barely scratching the surface.”
I spent a good part of my late teens and early twenties working on cars—some that I eventually ran out at the Saturday night drags. I even had this wild fantasy of one day winning the March Meets and becoming the envy of all my gear head friends. Of course this never could have happened, because I was also going to be a rock star, tour the world, and win a Grammy…
One of my all-time favorite movies is National Lampoon’s Animal House from the summer of ’78. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it definitely left a permanent mark on me. For those that aren’t familiar, Animal House is a coming of age flick about a group of misfit college students and their dysfunctional fraternity constantly challenging the “rules.” Although I can’t imagine there’s someone who hasn’t seen it, seeing as it’s an “educational” film and all.
Rather than start with a funny anecdote about my past that relates to something in the issue, like I usually do, I thought I’d jump right into the heart of the matter with this letter.
Because that’s exactly what’s so special about this issue—hearts. Particularly, women’s hearts.
I’ve known some “odd” characters in my life, but one that holds a special place in my memory is the father of a friend from elementary school. We’ll call him Dr. M and, as best as I can remember, he worked for NASA, building rockets and other cool space junk. Dr. M was super smart, with more paper on his walls than Frank Abagnale. If there was a diploma for something, chances are Dr. M had two; the guy was that genius.