Wednesday, January 19, 2011


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.

After his hour was up, he was just as friendly and genuinely interested in meeting people as one would hope. He convinced me that he's what I call a real person, authentic in his desire to find out what makes a person tick. He put to words my very strong feeling that every person, without exception, has a story to tell and the fascination with mining it is endless.

Jeanne, Huell, Barbara, Jeanne 
I'll close with a six-degrees-of-separation instance. As Mr. Bob took pictures in the crowd, he was approached by Jeanne, a woman who 15 years ago knew our son, Tim. She was at the Manor with her friend (in the red) who is a good friend of another Jeanne, our current next door neighbor. She's the one on the right. What are the chances of such an intertwining, one wonders?

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.


  1. Love it!!!!!!!!!!!I love Huell Houser...and i remember a favorite which was his profile of a car/boat contraption. I am glad to hear he is honest and all you would expect if you meet him in person. How wonderful for Windsor Manor. I wonder how many other communities he travels to?

  2. We also enjoyed his California Gold show when we lived in the LA area; and found lots of interesting places from his the great peach cobbler just off Colorado BL near the movie house in downtown Pasadena. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. They really do a great job of keeping you all entertained and informed. The Manor sounds like a really nice place.