GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The carload of tourists from Madera pulled into a Texaco station here, and the driver started to get out of the car to pump gas. Then she stopped and got back into the car.
“I just remembered you can’t pump your own gas here,” she said. “The attendant has to pump it for you.”
The attendant walked up to the driver’s window and said, “How are you folks today? I see you’ve come all the way from California. What can I do for you?”
“Fill ‘er up,” said the driver. Those words are seldom spoken at a gas pump in California, or anywhere else for that matter, except New Jersey.
While the pump was filling the car, the attendant and his assistant cleaned the windshield. When they got through, the glass sparkled.
Then, in response to a question from the driver, the attendant told how a motel next door had finally closed its doors as a hostelry after being renamed over the years. The driver had stayed there in its better days and had known it as The Royal View Motel. Before it died, the attendant said, its name had been changed to the Wild River Inn. “Life goes on,” he said.
In response to another question, the attendant recommended Della’s Deli as a good place to get a sandwich. Off the tourists from Madera drove, looking for Della’s, but it was nowhere to be found. However, they did come across the Blue Stone Bakery and Coffee House, which is across the street from the Dutch Mafia Café and kitty corner from the Powderhorn and Pie Café. Next door to the Blue Stone was Ma Mosa Deli. So many delis, so little time.
Then, the tourists walked a block to the Downtown Bookstore, in a building which sports one of the biggest and best realist paintings north of the Madera Police headquarters. The Maderans ogled it for awhile before heading back to Interstate 5.