Everything You Could Want, And More

by Calendar Hacksaw

Not long ago, I received an e-mail from an area resident lamenting what was perceived to be a total lack of news articles saying anything positive about Walker Basin and Twin Oaks. This took me quite by surprise, as it's long been my impression that 99% of everything I read about the region is nothing short of glowing. I can't offhand think of anything negative anyone could say about what I truly consider to be one of the most pristine regions of California, and I sincerely hope you share that perception and appreciation. When the weather is perfect, as it often is for much of the year, there is no place on earth I'd rather be, no people I'd rather be around, so totally free of outside stresses.

But in response to the concern expressed, herewith is Calendar's mostly honest assessment of life in Twin Oaks, Walker Basin, Caliente, and points in-between.

First off, the women of Walker Basin (and for the purposes of this column, the term "Walker Basin" applies to the entire region), are among the strongest, brightest, most beautiful and resourceful examples of femininity in all of North America. I could name them all, but what would be the point? They are equally at comfort dressed in their finest eveningwear, or just leather gloves, hats and Wranglers. No task is beneath their dignity and no challenge is above their calling. They mix easily and are comfortable in any social situation. An endangered species, they are often sought out by men from beyond the region who know that finer women with comparable qualities and desirable traits can't be found anywhere else on earth. Break out the good wine.

On a similar note, yet strikingly different, Walker Basin cattle are world-renowned for their independence and even temperament. Equally at home when leisurely grazing along Caliente Creek Road or deep within the many canyons, they know their place and seldom get lost. Sure of hoof and confident in their surroundings, they take great delight in blocking gawking motorists and keeping the Basin's pace from accelerating beyond a crawl. Many literally give their lives so we might feast upon their tri-tip and celebrate their innumerable contributions, not the least of which are boots and vests.

Let's talk about random acts of kindness for just a moment. Imagine this: you have a blowout while driving the creek road and pull into one of the many convenient turnouts made available for disabled vehicles. After jacking up the rear end, you wander off into the brush for a few minutes to take care of some personal business. Imagine your surprise when, upon returning, you find your spare mounted, the jack properly stowed, and a coupon neatly tucked beneath a wiper blade inviting you to enjoy a complimentary Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks of Loraine. Simply incredible!

Piute Mountain School is one of the finest educational facilities in all the Basin, ranking right up there alongside Caliente School, and offering local children a solid K-8 education while preparing girls and boys for the rigors and horrors that await them in high school. Principal Robin Shive has assembled a team of educators and classified staff that can meet every need and respond to any perceived learning challenge or emergency. When local emergencies occur, people often call the school instead of 9-1-1.

The rolling stock of Walker Basin consists of a generous mix of vehicles, both contemporary and collectable. Many can be seen almost any day traveling the roadways, to and fro and to and fro; their drivers happily waving to friends and strangers alike. Older vehicles are especially prized, running or not, and their owners often see fit to keep them parked within plain sight of the road, for all to enjoy and to prevent any attempts at theft or vandalism, both of which seldom occur. Some have been converted into attractive planters showcasing the wide variety of flora and fauna, both native and imported .

Walker Basin folks are very hospitable, and newcomers are seldom lonely for long. You can't meet one local without meeting a hundred, as they are anxious to introduce you around and make you feel comfortable. Once you're known and accepted, doors and gates swing open easily, and it's amazing the variety of social events you suddenly find yourself attending. In no time at all, you'll be faced with the challenge of deciding which invitations to gleefully accept and which you must regretfully decline.

One of the favorite pastimes in the Basin is storytelling, and it seems you can't get through a day without listening to a new yarn, nor should you want to. Most of the men who have been around for many decades can not only regale you with tales of the region's history, but also personal accounts that serve as interesting sidebars to just about any conversation. Saying something as simple as "Good morning" can cause an old-timer to respond with a detailed account of another "good morning" he experienced more than 30 years ago while breaking horses over at the old McGardy place, which of course is now owned by McGardy's grandson's third wife.

Walker Basin folk have great tolerance and a forgiving nature, which is good because just about everyone does something stupid once in life, and if forgiveness wasn't bestowed no one would be on speaking terms any longer. Generally, the locals will tolerate stupidity for as long as they possibly can, but everyone has their limits. Therefore, it's important to respect property, not disturb the peace, don't let your dogs and kids run wild, and quit tearin' up the roads with your darned ATVs.

Yes, Walker Basin in 2004 is an idyllic piece of earth, and we all love it just the way it is. If you think it's the right place for you, we invite you to contact one of the fine real estate brokers whose ads appear in the Fence Post and see if the dream is within your reach. I recently read that one in eight Americans now lives in California, and they're still coming. By extrapolating this data the way I was taught in reform school, we can see that when one in eight Californians lives in Kern County, our census will swell to 4.2 million. And when one in eight of those moves to Walker Basin, we will have a tidy little community of 52,000 deliriously happy rural folks.

Really brings a smile to your lips, doesn't it?

Calendar Hacksaw continues his 12-step program at calendarhacksaw@highdesert.com, and he fears that positive accounts such as this do little more than attract more settlers to the area. So, who do we call when the traffic signal at Back Canyon goes on the blink?

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