SMITH COLUMN: Fond memories of the west coast, L.A.

Published 10:30 am Thursday, January 12, 2023

LOS ANGELES – This city has the most sentimental of names, but one which is no longer descriptive. Nobody would consider Los Angeles “the city of angels,” not that you ever could.

However, I have fond memories of trips here back in the sixties and forward that made it overwhelming to come this way. Lately, COVID has brought on a debilitating challenge with the homeless situation among other issues, but as it is with all locales you, nonetheless, still find positives to influence your assessment.

There was a time when you could fly across the country and make a stop along the way for a couple of days, and it would not affect your airfare. This meant that you could go fly fishing for cutthroat trout on the Yellowstone River. Or you could spend time in Denver with the unsinkable Molly Brown Museum or find your way to the Grand Canyon or stop in Phoenix and make a relatively short drive to Tombstone to enjoy the reenactment of the “Gunfight at the O. K. Corral.”

That might motivate you to drive to Glenwood Springs, Colorado where Georgian Doc Holliday, who was a principal in the famous gunfight, was originally laid to rest. His story is fascinating although nobody seems to know for sure where the dentist-turned-gunslinger is buried. Family legend has it that his remains were moved from Glenwood Springs to a cemetery in Griffin.

Another way to enjoy the West Coast (at least back then) was to book a flight to San Diego for a few days and enjoy one of the most attractive cities in the country. Then take the train to LA. Such a pleasant ride that ended in a classy terminal that has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its art deco, mission revival and streamline modern style make it a unique landmark.

If you are a sports fan, there is opportunity year-round to enjoy your favorite sport: football, basketball, baseball, hockey, Olympic sports, golf, and dodging motorcyclists on the Santa Monica freeway.

The Rose Bowl remains an iconic venue that likely will forever stand the test of time. It is in the perfect setting with the San Gabriel mountains in the background.

Located in the cozy town of Pasadena, the Rose Bowl game was given the nickname of “Grandaddy of them all,” by Georgian Keith Jackson.  The last time I was at the Rose Bowl was in January 2018 for the funeral of the down-home Jackson in the east end zone: Iconic sports personalities—announcers, coaches and all-time great players — gathered to bid farewell to the Georgian whose homespun one-liner homilies gave him a larger-than-life personality that enabled him to connect with fans across the country.

After moving about LA while on a mission to win another national championship, suddenly the game was played with the greatest of results. Then it was time to pack up and return home. You couldn’t help but say aloud, “All is well that ends well.”