Stanislaus County

by Samuel De Lemos

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I remember while
still a child,
we’d head east
over
Pacheco Pass.

On a another
California
road trip.

The slumber
of summer felt
in the warm
dry air.

Me, in the backseat
with my sisters
staring out
the window
of my fathers car.

sights of the
yellow sunburnt hills.
then the deep
blue of
San Luis
Reservoir,

these,
were forever
imprinted in
the recess of
my mind.

Finally, we’d
hit the valley,

my father
would say,
“Were in
Stanislaus
county.”

In the back seat
my sisters and I’d
giggle as we
mispronounced
Stanislaus.

Instead
we’d say,
“Santa Claus,
Yeah!”

With the
windows down,
the hot musky
smell of grapes and
cherry orchards,

would cause us
to desire the
luscious fruits
of California’s,
Garden of Eden.

“Can we stop
at a fruit stand
dad?”

“We want to
have something
sweet…”

Now, that I’m a dad,
It’s my kids that
are giggling
in the back seat.

Stanislaus County
the memorable,
yet at times
mis-pronounceable name,
is where we live.