Outsiders were invited to yesterday's event. With any luck, some of them will decide that the Manor should be their next home when they decide to simplify their lives. They came to hear a man who, over 17 years of televising, has become a staple in evening viewing. He hosts "California Gold", a nightly program that highlights undiscovered places in our Golden State. Huell Howser is known for his unbridled enthusiasm as he chats with people of the community he's exploring. Years ago, I almost parted ways with him when he tried to sell me on the charms of the desert town of Barstow, but there's something very interesting about his programs and we can't help but be captured by his presentations when we happen on his shows while channel surfing. Last night's TV program featured cows' tongue or more correctly it's "steers' tongue" we learned, as he visited Langer's Deli.
So here he was, at the Manor, yesterday morning, to talk to us in his Tennessee drawl in a perfectly relaxed, informal manner and as I listened, I forgave him for his fascination with one of the bleaker places I've ever been although next time I'm in Barstow, I'll not find it any more charming than I did the last time we drove through that desert town.
With his easy way, he captured his audience as he related some behind-the-scenes stories of his television series.
One account told of a program filmed at Folsom Prison where he was so well received that the inmates were promised DVDs of California Gold to be shown on their in-house TV circuit. The camera man looked askance on hearing the idea and when questioned by Huell later, he cited the previous program in which they had visited Downieville, a small town in the Gold Country. Huell had interviewed a little old lady in front of her Queen Anne style home in which the woman expounded on the community and how neighborly and safe it was; in fact, residents left their keys in their cars and didn't bother to lock houses when they went on vacation. At that point, Huell realized that they should send only selected programs to be shown in a prison setting. Either that or risk a rise in the crime rate of Downieville.
An aside to that story was that there are 4 counties in this large state of California in which there is not one single traffic light. Downieville is in one of them.
|Jeanne, Huell, Barbara, Jeanne|
Huell has decided he'll never retire. And if he dies in the middle of filming a program, he's instructed his camera man to "keep the camera rolling". It was an apt message in a retirement home.....may we all expire taking part in something we love to do. It's a good goal.