Sunday, February 6

Raymond, California—The day before Super Bowl Sunday

We had a rare opportunity to be in Raymond on Saturday, the day before the big day. We were heading to Fresno to pick up a barbecue grill and would be passing through. I had been curious about what the town does in preparation for America’s biggest sports spectacular. As we drove through town toward the west, we noticed several pickup trucks parked by the combination grocery store and bar. The store is located about a block away and down the street from the Frontier Inn, another bar with a lot of pickup trucks parked nearby. We saw a man entering the post office by himself. Since we didn’t see any other people out on the streets, we figured everyone must be at home cooking up a bunch of hot wings and nachos. And getting the beer nice and cold. Down the road a piece I spotted a large yellow dog which seemed to be guarding the entrance to a place where you can get your name and a brief synopsis of your life’s accomplishments carved onto a polished granite slab. If you’re not “all that good with words,” they have a list of suggested phrases, like “He was a good husband,” “She was a good wife,” and “R.I.P.” For a town that depends on the production of granite, I thought that little business was a brilliant piece of entrepreneurship. Too bad Raymond doesn’t have a cemetery; I’ll bet sales would really pick up and the big yellow guard dog wouldn’t be so scrawny.

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