WOW! What a magnificent 150th Birthday Celebration! I truly do not have the words to describe what I felt at day’s end. At 70 years old, I wondered if I could keep up with all the exciting activities to celebrate this very special town. I can tell you I was blessed beyond measure to witness this once in a lifetime celebration! When country music star David Lee Murphy had finished his last song, the sky lit up with the most brilliant colored fireworks! It was an amazing sight ... Our legendary Oakdale Rodeo grounds, especially our bucking chutes came alive, multicolored fireworks glittered and glistened with spectacular bursts of light high above the arena ... it reminded me of the words ‘rocket’s red glare ... bombs bursting in air’ ... it was truly magnificent! As I stood at my post near the front gate I felt very blessed to be able to be here and celebrate this town that I love so much! Even though I live in Valley Home, Oakdale is a huge part of my life. My children and my grandchildren are very much a part of the blessings of Oakdale. At this Saturday’s birthday celebration, I stopped for a minute to reflect on the amazing blessings I felt; here I was at the world famous Oakdale Rodeo Grounds. I thought of the respect and love I have for this very special place; I knew this was going to be an amazing night! As the gates opened an excited crowd made their way inside ... some to food vendors, others to cold frosty drink stands, and still others raising their umbrellas against the harsh afternoon heat. I was still counting my blessings when my dear friend Teresa Hammond came through the gate; she immediately lowered her sunglasses, peeked over the top and headed my way ... wow, does that girl know how to make a person feel special! I love that young woman so much; she inspires me daily! Many of us fight battles; we fight in many different ways and I am inspired daily by this amazing woman who gets up every day determined to make it a great day! This brave woman, like so many others, knows what it’s like to battle, to fight. She is a woman of tremendous faith, perseverance, and determination. She is a woman who loves her family and friends with her whole heart. Thank you T, for being YOU! During the evening, as folks made their way through the gate, I was able to have quick visits with many very special friends, people I do not see on a regular basis, people who I deeply respect and greatly appreciate ... Sheriff Jeff Dirkse and his wife Sandy, Supervisor Buck Condit, his wife Kim and their college bound son, Oakdale Police Officer Tyler Malone and K9 Titan, Tom Orvis, Travis Johnson, Isaac Robles, Gary Cortes, my dear friend Marg Jackson whose love for our communities and the people who live in them is so huge; many, many more very special people came through those gates. I will not try to name each of them, but I am so grateful to all who do so much for our communities! Our Valley Home Community was well represented with many happy kids and a beautiful red, white and blue float with our Honorary Mayor, Mr. Glenn Burghardt leading the way! Longtime rancher Don Taro was greeted with waves and many compliments as he drove his 1955 John Deere, Johnny Popper two-cylinder tractor in the parade. Valley Home was definitely well represented! I would like to end this week’s column with a huge ‘Thank You’ to all who helped make this wonderful birthday celebration possible. A special ‘Thank You’ to the amazing ladies who worked so hard for many months to bring this event to Oakdale ... The Oakdale Enrichment Society: Amy Velasco, Cher Bairos, Lisa Ballard, and Lupe Aguilera!
As always you may reach me by email at Winnie email@example.com or by telephone at 209-985-5233.
Until next time … “Happy Trails To All!”