Author: Daniel, Bert


Our CBA Fall Campout this year visited a new location: Lodi. Unfortunately, I wasn't there. I really love the spring and fall campouts, but I just had too much stuff to do at home this year. It will be interesting to hear the comments about how this this year's campout went. I've passed through Lodi a few times on my travels and I've always been tempted to stop there for a while and see what life is like in that little corner of California.

When most people my age hear the name Lodi, they probably think of the John Fogarty tune, Stuck in Lodi again:

Just about a year ago
I set out on the road
SeekinŽ my fame and fortune
LookinŽ for a pot of gold
Thing got bad things got worse
I guess you will know the tune
Oh ! Lord Stuck in Lodi again

From the lyrics to that old song by Creedence Clearwater Revival, you'd think that Lodi wouldn't be such a great place to be. I'd bet that if Fogarty's band had ever been to a CBA campout, they might feel a little differently about that town. Many of you right now might be wishing you were still stuck in Lodi.

For me, the word Lodi conjures up very different memories. I remember when my "little" girl, (who is actually as big as her mom now), was in reality just a little girl. Juliet was a toddler and our family had returned for another fun vacation in the beautiful Mount Shasta area. I decided to take Juliet over to the city park, where there was a nice play structure she could have fun with. I remembered the play area from our last trip to Mount Shasta and I remembered how I had panicked every time Juliet walked near the edge of a ledge or slid down a slide a little off center. New dads have to be on the alert for the potential dangers of seemingly well designed play areas. While our toddlers are thinking about exploring to their heart's content, their dads are thinking about ways to avoid serious brain injuries.

By this time, Juliet had survived more than a few park play areas and I was a little more relaxed about being responsible for her well being. And I was looking forward to going back to this particular Mount Shasta playground. Even though we had only been there one time, about a year before, I remembered it as being nicer than most of the playgrounds you see in city parks.

We drove down the gravel road and approached the park. As I rounded the corner, I caught site of the play structure and pointed it out to Juliet. At this point my toddler went berserk (I don't really know if toddlers can go berserk, but if they can, that's exactly what happened).

"LODI!, LODI!, LODI!" You never heard such a commotion in your whole life. "LODI!, LODI, LODI!" I couldn't believe my ears. What was my daughter so excited about? Her speech was still at the baby talk stage and I was at a loss to explain this strange behavior on the part of my daughter. "LODI!"

I parked the car and unbuckled the child safety seat. Juliet darted out of the car and made a beeline for the play structure. She scampered up the stairs and into a large plastic tube that had holes in its sides. Then it hit me. She remembered! Even though I had forgotten, this little almost baby of a child remembered a game we had played at this very site on our last visit, a version of hide and seek.

I sneaked up to the side of the tube and put my face next to the opening that was closest to her. "Hello Dyah!", I said in an exaggerated accent. I sneaked around to the opposite side and repeated my phrase with even more exaggeration "Heloooo Dayah!" Squeals of laughter resulted every time I did that for who knows how long? It could have been hours or it could have been minutes. It could have been hours that seemed like minutes but at least we were speaking the same language now. My "Hello There" had morphed into "Lodi" and I will never again hear the name of a certain California town without thinking of the fact that children can be profoundly affected by their interactions with the adults they love whether the adults realize it or not.
Posted:  10/21/2013

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