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Santa Clarita Traditionless No More
November, 2009 - Issue #61
At a mere 21 years and 11 months old, the City of Santa Clarita hasn't had a lot of time to develop meaningful traditions. (The Fourth of July Parade and Buck McKeon's annual attempt to pass CEMEX legislation are notable exceptions). This lack of tradition is felt keenly during Thanksgiving when other cities flaunt their delightful array of customs. New York City has the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Plymouth has historical reenactments complete with pilgrims, pirates, and soldiers. Football towns have tailgating with turkeys on the grill. Buffalo holds the dubious honor of hosting "The World's Largest Disco" the Saturday after Thanksgiving - but hey, it's still a tradition.

Our local history provides little in the way of inspiration for T-Day traditions. European settlers on this side of the continent were Spanish Catholics, not English Puritans. While Pilgrims and Indians dined together in New England, it's hard to know how often Tataviam Indians attended Spanish feasts-o'-thanks. There were probably lots of RSVPs like, "I'd love to join you for dinner, but I'll probably be too busy making adobe bricks for your missions and ranchos." Clearly, we must look to what's happening now to see if there is any sort of event we can co-opt into a much-needed Thanksgiving tradition for Santa Clarita.

26.2
The Santa Clarita Marathon will be run on November 8 this year. Since the weather can be unpleasantly hot well into November, why not push this event back to the very end of the month, say, Thanksgiving? As far as I know, Atlanta is the only city with a major Thanksgiving Day marathon tradition. We could be their California rival, offering less humidity and a hearty helping of Claritan hospitality to boot.

Even if the race isn't moved to Thanksgiving Day or weekend, I'd like to see us make a November tradition of winning the thing. As you may well know, marathoners run 26.2 miles - the span from Valencia to UCLA. While most Claritans are up to driving that distance in record time, few of us are up for running it, and none of us seem up to running it fast enough to win. Indeed, it was Shane Logan of Michigan who won the SCV Marathon last year with a time of just under two hours and thirty-eight minutes. Readers, I suggest that you get out your running shoes and work towards a sub-six-minute mile. It's time to bring victory back to Santa Clarita, where it belongs.

Pass the Quail
One of the perks of running a marathon is that is burns about the same number of calories that the average person consumes during Thanksgiving, some two to three thousand. All of that eating offers us another chance to develop some kind of SCV Thanksgiving Day tradition. It's great to eat American classics like turkey and pumpkin pie, but where is our regional twist? Where is the Claritan-style cuisine to counter the South's penchant for cornbread or New England's taste for oyster stuffing?

If we look to harvest the bounty of local ingredients available in the fall, I'm afraid the Thanksgiving spread doesn't look very appetizing. We don't have any turkeys - just a lot of quail. As for wild starches, we have acorns that take days to process from a bitter, tooth-cracking nut into a gummy, barely-edible gruel. So skinny quail and acorn mush are out, but incorporating some ingredients from our Farmer's Market would be an easy, delicious way to add Claritan-grown bounty to the meal. Perhaps we could even go a little further and remember to drop off some fixings at the Food Pantry (255-9078) to make sure that everyone in SCV gets to enjoy a nice Thanksgiving dinner.

OK as Is
One tradition I think we can all embrace is asking a slightly-modified version of the obligatory Thanksgiving question: What about Santa Clarita are you most thankful for? This might seem like an abrupt conversation ender, but many of us really do like more about Santa Clarita than we care to admit. Despite all the miseries endured here, it seems we're largely content with our valley's present evils. As evidence, note that any time the City makes a bold move, Claritans start to fuss. The bike striping on Decoro inspired outrage on the pages of The Signal and in City Council; plans for new developments are invariably contested; and we have far more people moving into our valley than moving out. We're so content with how things are run, most of us don't even bother to show up for local elections. Clearly, there must be something to be thankful for in Santa Clarita if so much is going right.

This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor. Suggestions, catty comments and veiled threats intended for the author can be e-mailed to iheartscv@insidescv.com.
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