Let’s go back in time. The day following Thanksgiving 1967, leading up to our first Coronado Christmas, our whole fam-damily of four piled into our trusty, merry old Oldsmobile to ferry our way across the bay on a foray to find a fresh Christmas tree. My brother and I were in the back seat, while Dad drove and Mom rode shotgun. I was 10 years young.

We wound up down in National City looking for a local X-mas tree lot. While tooling along the main drag, a sweet, candy-apple red “Chebby” Impala low-rider pulled up alongside us at a red light. The car was an eye-catcher, but that’s not what caught our attention. From the back seat of the rad red Impala, which was presently directly adjacent to us, a ne’er-do-well gangbanger had thrust his entire torso out the window and was shouting something menacingly in Spanish, all the while “purposefully” pointing a pistol in my direction! The young gun (forgive the pun) was waving his weapon a few feet from my face: much too close for comfort? I was totally terrified!

Welcome to “Nasty City,” little gringo; and Merry Christmas, indeed. Arrgh!

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