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1983: Big Problem? City Regulates Elephant Walking

News from the Nov. 20, 1983, edition of the Lemon Grove Review.

A look back at Lemon Grove, 29 years ago this week.

Goodbye to All That: On Nov. 6, 1983, the Lemon Grove City Council voted unanimously to rename two sections of old Imperial Avenue. The section between North Avenue and Broadway became "Lemon Grove Way," while the section from state Route 94 south to the city limits became "Lemon Grove Avenue."  

The Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce had urged the changes to enhance community recognition. Today, Lemon Grove Way flows past St. John of the Cross School and RCP Block & Brick to merge with Broadway. Lemon Grove Avenue is beautified with mid-street plantings for its full length—very appropriate for a city with such a pretty name.

But there was more. Donning figurative surgical masks and rubber gloves, the City Council took the scalpel to its municipal code and extracted its links to the late 19th century when strange habits and peculiar fauna roamed the land. (We are not kidding, by the way.)

No longer was it a misdemeanor to molest an elk. In other words, you could wrestle one to a fall in full view of the Big Lemon.

No longer was it unlawful for a Belgian hare to remain at large. Let them romp at will through traffic!

No longer were pool halls required to furnish cuspidors. Four ball in the side pocket!

No longer was it illegal to walk a camel down Main Street. Go for it! There is an alpaca strolling in Civic Center Park every week anyway.

No longer could your elephant walk unleashed down Main Street. Rhinestone leashes for Dumbo—sure to be a sellout at Petco!

No longer could you shoot jack rabbits from the back of a streetcar.  No word on whether it's legal from the trolley.

No longer could you wipe your car with used underwear. But brand new Fruit-of-the-Loom—dandy!

No longer could you pile horse manure higher than six feet. Let the political jokes begin!

No longer could ducks be refused the right of way. If it walks like a duck, move over!

No longer could you be denied access to any street if you were classified as "ugly." No comment.

No longer must the city manager live within the city limits. He/she has a constitutional right to live in The Big Orange, The Big Lemon, The Big Apple, or the Sea of Tranquility.

No longer must the City regulate aircraft ticket brokers. Let them sell whatever to wherever to whomever!

The Sign of the Pig: 1983 was the Year of the Pig on the Chinese calendar, a fact that found favor in the Review as the community hurtled toward Thanksgiving and the ritual slaughter of fattened prey of all kinds. Some favored the traditional turkey; others, wild boar; others, roast suckling pig; still others, a panoply of hoofed and feathered species all destined for the oven.

Whatever the choice, the Review counseled readers in how to avoid the dreaded underdone turkey swarming with bacteria. 

Our favorite was the Fruit-of-the-Loom approach. Take your spotlessly clean old undies, advised Ruth Newton, the Review's syndicated kitchen wizard, and drape them over a turkey wrapped in apple-smoked bacon, coated in butter and olive oil and seasoned to a fare-thee-well. Then into a slow oven for hours. At some point the undies were removed and discarded, and the turkey emerged a triumphant golden brown, moist and tender, with nary a bacterium in sight. We urge someone to try this at home.

But the Review's real focus was on pigs. We learned that the Year of the Pig follows the Year of the Dog and occurs every twelfth year. In Chinese culture, Porky ("Zhu") is thoughtful, honest, gullible, generous, patient and oodles of fun. Those born in the Pig Years share these qualities above and beyond the call of duty. Porky's motto is 'tis better to give than to receive—a nice rationale for the annual holiday slaughter, but questionable if, say, you are running a farm during a drought.

In a contrast reminiscent of the current Treasury Bill borrowing binge with the People's Republic, we learned that the Western counterpart of Porky's big month, November, is—gasp— Scorpio.  Astrology aficionados know that Scorpions, like their namesake, can be a tough call: obstinate, oblivious, materialistic. The November 2012 horoscope for Scorpions calls for a focus on money, property and investments, things of which Porky knows zip.

We close this reprise of the Review's carnivorean indulgences by recalling one of the best opening lines ever written.  

"Where's Papa going with that ax?"

You remember, dear readers. That's the first line of "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White, the story of Wilbur, the pig who dodged the ax thanks to Charlotte, a relative of the scorpion.

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