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Opnion: Walking around town

One thing you notice about Madera is how everybody who lives here loves the place — or says they do.

“I just love this small-town atmosphere, one might say. But then half a day later, they will be complaining about the fact they don’t think there are enough stores.

The people who built Madera were kind of cheap.

Have you noticed that some of the neighborhoods have sidewalks, and some don’t? I think that’s because some of the builders just didn’t want to spend the money to put in sidewalks.

“People can walk on the streets,” these builders probably said. “I walked to school on the streets. If it was good enough for me, it will be good enough for the kids of today.”

I used to live in a neighborhood with sidewalks, and now I live in one that has no sidewalks. I find that if I take a walk, I have to keep looking over my shoulder so I don’t accidentally step in front of a car and get run over.

Of course, you don’t read much about people getting run over because there were no sidewalks in a particular neighborhood. So maybe those cheap builders were right.

People often complain about the traffic in town, and you can’t blame them. The intersection at Gateway, Cleveland and the railroad tracks is awful. And there are no sidewalks there, either. Who came up with that intersection?

A friend of mine owns the Exxon/Mobil Station there, and the intersection there is a little dangerous, as are the on-ramps for the freeway just up the street. I trade there, but I think it’s a little dangerous.

One thing I think the town lacks is a good bread bakery.

The supermarkets have good bakeries to a limited degree, but they aren’t like real bakeries where you can sit down and have a cup of coffee, read the paper and take a hot loaf of French bread out with you.

Very few places of business smell like bakeries, which is too bad.

Madera has some good wineries, if you drink wine. Toca Madera is good, the San Joaquin Winery is good, and they have lots of room to entertain at both those places.

There are other good wineries too numerous to mention, but the best probably is the Ficklin winery, which makes port fit for a queen. Literally. Ficklin port is being shipped off to England to be served in the American embassy there, and I would bet you a dollar that a bottle or two finds its way to the queen’s cellars.

The queen wraps her royal self around four drinks a day. The first, according to Bing, is a gin and Dubonnet cocktail with a slice of lemon and lots of ice. With lunch, she has a glass of wine or a gin martini. At night, she has another martini or a glass of champagne. I believe that if she gets a chance to taste Ficklin port, she may add that to her list, or maybe give a few bottles as precious gifts.

I would bet she drinks Scotch, too, especially when she is in residence at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Straight, no ice, perhaps with a water back.

But after that first sip of Madera’s Ficklin Tinta port, there’ll be no turning back to mere $11,194 bottles of Macallan Fine & Rare.

While there are plenty of dairies in Madera County, there are no cheesemakers as of yet. Someone is bound to come along, though, and start making local cheeses to go with the local wines.

Meanwhile, as houses are built, perhaps sidewalks will be built with them, and then when we are full of the local wine and cheese, we won’t stumble as we walk home.

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