logo1Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

nctBy: Mike Petrie

A sunny but brisk Temecula morning. My wife, Laura, and I are lying in bed watching TV, sipping from steaming mugs of coffee, trying to revive ourselves back to life and rejoin the world at large when we see a story on "The Early Show" on CBS that captures our attention: A woman ---- from Ohio, I believe ---- wrote a letter to CBS about her dream of ballooning over Wine Country in California.

The television story is all about her lifelong wish being granted. The opening scene shows the Ohio woman sipping vino at a winery Laura and I instantly recognize as South Coast Winery ---- not more than a few miles from our humble home.

Then the woman is shown getting a massage at one of the local spas, dining at a fine outdoor restaurant overlooking rolling grapevine-covered hills ---- which we also instantly recognize as one of our own frequented eateries ---- and finally, soaring in a hot-air balloon high above some of the most lush scenery anyone could hope for.

The woman, in a subsequent interview, said her lifelong dream has come true: she has been wined, dined, and pampered beyond her wildest expectations ... and finally got to ride in a hot-air balloon over the beautiful Wine Country landscape.

The television story moved me toward a renewed appreciation of our Southern California home. Indeed, the Temecula Valley truly is a beautiful place in which to live. With historic Old Town, lush avocado-studded coastal mountains, colorful hot-air balloons hovering overhead, countless acres of grapevines, and beautiful chateau-like wineries in which to sample the local vino, Temecula is far more than just your run-of-the-mill, newly created communities that proliferate the Southern California landscape.

Temecula has a long and rich history, a burgeoning wine industry and a personality all its own. Indeed, many of our friends from Orange County and L.A. have told us they consider Temecula to be more resort town than suburban bedroom community. Visiting us in Temecula seems like a vacation to these out-of-towners.

Appreciative thoughts of our lovely valley had pushed the sleep cobwebs from my brain. I turned to my half-awake wife to comment on the TV story we had just watched and said, "See, Honey? We live in such a wonderful place, it is the dream of other folks to merely visit here!"

Laura cast a sleepy eye my way, apparently not yet having reached the physical nor appreciative awakening that I had. Responding mundanely while sipping her java, she replied, "Maybe, but I think that Ohio woman needs to dream a lot bigger."

Mike Petrie is an attorney, writer and part timeTemecula resident.

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