Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cal Expo to See an Old Friend


Cal Expo is the California State Fair, which has been held in Sacramento since 1859.  Its current location, what we all call “Cal Expo”, being its home since 1968.  Now I have attended many California State Fairs in my first 30 years, and at one time I loved going to the fair.  I can honestly say that I have never seen the crowds that I experienced today…good for the State Fair, not so good for me since this was just a bit too big for my liking.


But I had a special reason to be at this State Fair.  I had been in contact with an old friend of mine named Daryle.  I first met Daryle in 1973 when I was transferred to the Mr. Steak Restaurant on Fair Oaks to be the Head Cook from the Franklin Blvd location where my brother was just promoted to be the manager.  I only ended up working there for a month…but the start of a friendship which lasted for many years began back then.  After a couple years of college, I returned to the restaurant business where they paid me to learn about managing restaurants instead of me paying a college to learn academic stuff.  By the end of 1978 I was promoted to be the manager of the Fair Oaks location, and Daryle was still there….a waiter now instead of a cook.  I talked him into being my Assistant Manager, which he did for a month or so.  But he found that he earned much more as a waiter and worked less hours, so I came up with the idea of him waiting tables, but closing out the restaurant as a supervisor so that I could go home… this worked out very well for many years.


Daryle also was in a band back then called Hammer Mill, and many of us from the restaurant would go and watch him play after work.  Here he is (above) in his new band, Blind Dog Run, which was playing at one of the stages at Cal Expo this evening (below is the full band).


Interesting thing is, that in the early 1980’s I hired this young girl name Leah as a hostess, and eventually she became a waitress.  A few years later, Daryle and Leah married.  Here she is below walking back to her seat after taking a picture of him playing.


But the real treat of the night was this…..Daryle and Leah have three kids, Amy, Brad and Chris, ranging in age from around 27 to 22 with Amy being the oldest.  Well, they have their own Country Band called Two Steps Down, which was just named the top Local Band for 2013.  


Here they are (above) with Chris (the youngest) to the left, Amy in the middle and Brad to the right.  I was highly impressed by their singing, and I commented jokingly to Daryle’s dad, who I just happened to be sitting next to, that they must have got their talent from their mom.  At one point Amy invited people to come up by the stage to dance if they wished.  A young boy not only took her up on the offer, but climbed up on the stage with her.  As the band played, she bent down and very sweetly invited the young boy to get down off the stage, but to stay up close to the stage.  What could have been a very embarrassing event turned into a very sweet and loving jester by Amy.


As I watched Daryle and Leah’s kids play, this sense came over me….what “if” Leah never got hired?   There are lots of “what ifs” in life….we just have to remember that despite all that we do and think, we are not the ones in charge.  Yes, we make choices….some of them are inspired choices, some are just good choices.  I am glad that some 30+ years ago I made the good choice of hiring Leah….her and Daryle found each other, got together, and have created a great family…I feel blessed to come back after some 27 years to see these kids play.


As I left a little after 8, I walked by the main stage where the “stars” play.  Amy mentioned to everyone earlier that LeAnn Rimes was playing (above).  As I walked by in the distance, and I did get a close up which is below, I stopped for a second to listen.  But I already knew that I had seen the top show for the night over on the “other” stage….



  1. Great photos of our State Fair. I'm still in Loomis for another week or so. Is this your home base? I'm going to look at a Smart Car - so may have an 'addition' to my gear by the end of the week.

    1. We will be in Loomis for another week or less, then moving to my sisters near Antelope and I80. As for a Smart Car, I think that would be good for your situation, just be sure the one you are looking at can be towed without restrictions, I think the very early models were not setup to be towed. Happy travels. --Dave

  2. What a neat experience for you! Glad you got to see the couples children follow in their dad's footsteps.

    We stayed the Cal Expo Campground when we visited Sacramento. It sure looked a lot different then your visit!


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