There are many reasons people choose where they will live. I knew an old timer by the name of Lyman Wright who told me that he was touring through the country on his motorcycle when it broke down near Dixon. He figured this was as good a place as any and he set up a farm nearby.
I was introduced to Winters by Tony Syar of Syar Industries who was contracted in 1977 to grade a new wholesale nursery growing grounds in Lagoon Valley. Tony wanted to show me and our company president Cecil Shirar the source of the water that would be provided to the nursery through the Solono Irrigation District distribution system. He took us to the ‘Glory Hole’ and then we had a brief tour of Winters.
I liked the looks of small town Main Street and felt a certain ambiance that was pleasing. I liked the idea that you could drive anywhere in town within five minutes.
At that time I didn’t know anything about the Youth Day Parade or Earthquake Day or about the various people and organizations that influenced civic affairs and contribute unselfish service to others. But, I felt like I needed to show the place to my wife. The company transferred me to Texas, but when we returned we knew where we wanted to set down roots and we moved here in the fall of 1988.
Sometimes unforeseen circumstances presage a move. My father, in his remorse following family hardship and tragedy, left for California at 33 years of age to start over. In response to his last wishes he was returned to the city he left so many years before and was buried in the family plot at age 94 next to his parents, my mother and two infants. While it’s true that he lived most of his adult life in California, his roots remained where loved ones are laid to rest.
Since we moved to Winters we have buried a son in the Winters Cemetery and have purchased adjacent plots. Perhaps this is how we officially ‘set down roots’. I’m no longer inclined to think of myself as a newcomer in town when I am among friends who have five or six generations of family in Winters.
Noteworthy of mention is our recent visit to the Winters Cemetery. We were impressed with the care and maintenance of the grounds. The grass was weed free, green and vigorous. The edging along the roads and around the tombstones was perfect. Thanks so much to those groundskeepers who are maintaining the site as ‘sacred ground.’
I’ve never thought much about choosing a place to live or metaphors like setting down roots. I was bought and paid for and had no choice about my lodging but I am perfectly content with the outcome.
Gramps still grumbles about how much he paid for me.