Still Much to Be Thankful for in California in 2023

Still Much to Be Thankful for in California in 2023

Heisler Park in Laguna Beach, Calif., on March 30, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

John Seiler
John Seiler


Updated: 12/21/2023


Although my job at The Epoch Times is often to address problems or criticize politicians’ mistakes, I’d like to write a little about the many things to be thankful for living in California this Thanksgiving 2023.
Let’s begin with the weather. Have you ever shoveled snow in November, let alone January and February? Piles and piles of it. When I was a kid growing up near Detroit in the 1960s and 70s, I made some money shoveling neighbors’ snow.
But in the Detroit News every winter were stories of some guy dying of a heart attack while shoveling the white stuff. Now that I’m 68, that’s last thing I want to do. Even with a gas-powered snow blower.
Just before writing this, I went to the local Olive Garden for lunch with a friend of mine from Buffalo, N.Y., which also often gets buried in snow. We both marveled at the balmy 82-degree perfect weather.
Next to be thankful for is all the fun stuff here. Such as Disneyland. Growing up, we kids dreamed of it. Now I’m here. I haven’t been to the Magic Kingdom in a couple of years. But every time I drive up the 5 Freeway, I’m singing the old song from “The Mickey Mouse Club”: “M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!” My favorite Mouseketeer was cute Annette Funicello.
The best thing in California to be thankful for is the beach. If you’re a senior, make sure to get a $20 pass for California State Parks. You can get it at a parks office, such as the one for the California State Beach off Magnolia Avenue in Huntington Beach. It’s good for any state park, exclusive of the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
Has there ever been a better bargain? Most of my time in California I lived in Huntington Beach. But now that I’m in Irvine, I still drive to Surf City once or so a week, and always hit the beach.
It’s like being a part of the surf movies I grew up on, such as “Beach Blanket Bingo,” starring a grown-up Annette and Frankie Avalon. And Elvis’s “Spinout,” in which the King of Rock and Roll plays a singing race car driver in California.
Watching the Rose Bowl on TV often included our college local teams, the University of Michigan or Michigan State. It was accompanied by the Rose Parade. We dreamed of living in the land of palm trees, balmy weather, and surfing. Now I’m here.
If you like science and technology, like me, something to be thankful for is being in the midst of its creation. There’s a real mystique about California creating the future. It’s mythologized in such movies as the “Pirates of Silicon Valley,” an amusing and conceptually accurate account of the development of microcomputers, shown through the rivalry between Jobs and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Both were born in 1955, same as Disneyland and me. So the cultural and other references of the time resonate.
The technology is different now. But recently I met a guy who designs computer games. And Irvine is the world’s center for medical devices. My profession provide me the opportunity to write several articles against President Obama’s 2.3 percent medical devices tax, which severely hurt that industry—and patients—leading to its repeal in 2019. I couldn’t do that anywhere else.
And let’s not forget the movie stars. I met Donna Douglas, who played Elly May on the Beverly Hillbillies, one day after church in Huntington Beach. And I interviewed Charlton Heston, the great defender of our Second Amendment “right to keep and bear arms.” He graciously gave me an autograph for my Mom, an even bigger fan.
These are just a few things to be thankful for in California. I’ve been here in Orange County since 1987, still enjoying the surf and sun. Looks like I’m here to stay.
Happy Thanksgiving!

John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at and his email is

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