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From the Desk of Dora DePaoli: Never too many flags and friends

June 25, 2002

It was so nice walking around town recently on Flag Day. What a beautiful sight to see all the flags in Holtville blowing in the breeze. The dedicated members of the local Veterans of Foreign War Post 10858 put them up for all national holidays. My thanks to all the men who have done this over the years. If you look carefully at the flag poles you can read the names of the people who donated the flags, and in whose memory they were given.

It is just nice living in a small town. Most of the people who live in Holtville are helpful and concerned about one another. If you are on the side of the road with a flat tire the first person who comes along will offer to help.

Our police are so helpful, too, even when they have to work double shifts. Years ago a patrol car pulled into our driveway just after my children had gotten on the school bus. I made it to the front door at the same time the patrolman got out of his car. Turns out the policeman was on a mission of the heart. Seems our one-of-a-kind bloodhound was picked up at the home of an attractive female, and the patrolman knew where he belonged. "Monster" looked right at home in the back seat of the police car.

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It's even fun getting our sewer bill. For years someone at City Hall has written "Hi!" on our monthly bill. I bet folks don't get that kind of personal service in L.A.!

The Imperial Irrigation District gets high praise as well. A couple of times when our power went out someone from the IID has called to make sure our power was restored.

We also have wonderful newspaper carriers. Tony delivers this paper in the early afternoons, and an unknown man drops off the "other" paper in the mornings. Traffic picks up the moment the morning carrier drops off the paper. I think when our early morning carrier drops it off he sends out some type of signal like, "roll 'em out" on Melon Road where I live. Right now there are probably only a handful of people in town who haven't seen me in my pajamas. Even though I am pretty quick, I get caught outside more often than not trying to grab the paper.

Prior to World War II many local cowboys would ride their horses into town on Saturday nights. Harold Hawk frequently rode his horse from his home near Bond's Corner. He made the 25-mile round trip so he could watch movies at my late father-in-law's movie theaters. Grandpa showed movies at an outdoor movie known as the Holtville Air Dome, and an indoor one called the Holtville Theater.

Grandpa used an airplane propeller as the fan for a giant water cooler he made to cool off the patrons in his indoor theater. Hawk remembers being at the movies the night of the big earthquake in 1941. He was the last one out because he stopped to help a crippled woman make her way to the exit.

Some of the cowboys would spend three or four hours playing cards and visiting with their buddies at Slick's Pool Hall. A.J. Knight, one of the more colorful young boys around town at the time, remembers playing cowboys and Indians with his grammar school friends on horseback while the cowboys were otherwise occupied. The boys would borrow their horses and bring them back about 30 minutes before the poker game usually broke up. One night A.J. and his buddies miscalculated the time. The mount A.J. was riding belonged to the late A.V. Wade, and he was waiting for him to get back. Mr. Wade threatened to cause A.J. great bodily harm if he ever caught him on his horse again.

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