Tom Core, Neighbors, and Foody Talk

Saturday, December 8, 2001
In the mountains of Big Bear


Local historian, geographer, and naturalist Tom Core was scheduled to be at the Big Bear Discovery Center for a book signing, and we drove to the other side of the lake to meet him. He is my favorite author on the mountain, and every week, I look forward to reading his engaging column in the local paper.

Here's a bio on Mr. Core:

"Thomas H. Core: Tom Core retired some thirty years ago to live in Big Bear, California, which he had known since he was eight years old. He became interested in the area's fantastic history and began writing about it. Over 1,000 of his stories have been published in Big Bear's weekly newspapers, the Big Bear Grizzly, and Big Bear Life, and in the Lake Arrowhead On the Mountain magazine. He also worked with DTQ historical advisor John Robinson on the Big Bear part of his popular book, The San Bernardinos.

Tom has been closely associated with the Big Bear Valley Historical Society and their local historical museum for many years. He held
the position of president for ten years and served as an officer for another dozen." ~ DTQ

A search reveals a sampling of Mr.Core's work:

>>  Tom Core Big Bear

Born in 1915, he is 86 years old (young!). Belying his age, he is a testament to clean mountain living. I was honored to meet the fine gentleman in person. 

"If you're a singer, you lose your voice. 
A baseball player loses his arm. 
A writer gets more knowledge, 
and if he's good, the older he gets, 
the better he writes." 
~ Mickey Spillane 

He welcomed my questions about the area, in particular The Eye of the God, one of my favorite places on Earth, full of peaceful, sacred energy. He remembers it as a young boy, when it was a huge, smooth and polished white quartz dome that could be seen from great distances. Miners, looking for gold, defaced this gem of the mountains by blasting it with dynamite. 

The profound sacredness of the area was untouched, attracting me like a moth to flame.

I purchased Mr. Core's book, "Big Bear Panorama," and he graciously signed it and posed for a picture:

Author Unknown & Tom Core, Author Well-Known in these parts


"I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. 
Do you know your next door neighbor?" 

~ Mother Teresa 

On the way back, we stopped by to see our future neighbors, Bob and Sharon.  Their spanking new log cabin is almost done with only the driveway left to be paved.  

Sharon and Bob in their new cabin

They invited us in to proudly show us their beautiful new home, their dream come true and the culmination of ten years of planning and patience. Designed to maximize the hilltop, sweeping, 180 degree lake view, the primary rooms -- the kitchen, dining room, living and master bedroom -- overlook this spectacular view. 

Their happiness was brimming over, so very beautiful to see.

"The trouble with eating Italian food 
is that 5 or 6 days later you're hungry again."

~George Miller, British writer

We had a dinner date at Pizza Mia Ristorante (40949 Big Bear Bl, soon to be moving to the village, BBL 866-8777), a first-rate Italian eatery, recommended by our neighbors, Jeff and Claudia.  With candlelight, low but not dark lighting, shiny glassware, a large mirror on the near wall and a soft-toned mural on the far wall, the ambiance was old-fashioned and romantic.

Immediately, we were pleased with the attentive and efficient service from our server, Tammy, originally from Long Beach, who temptingly described the specials and menu items.

I love cioppino, and that's what I ordered, while DH, ordered the seafood risotto. 

We appreciated the freshness of the green salad (fresh greens, we have found, is not to be taken for granted in the mountains).  Topped with thinly sliced tomato and red onion and drizzled with tangy bleu cheese, this was a great first course. 

The cioppino, a steamy tomato-y Italian-style bouillabaise, was a bounty of seafood with a huge Dungeness crab claw, huge scallops, mussels, clams, fish, and shrimp in a flavorful broth.  Robert Mondavi's merlot complemented my dish perfectly.

I have had cioppino in dozens of places, and this is the dish I measure the others by. Mama Mia's is every bit as superb as my favorite cioppino at Alioto's at San Francisco's Fisherman's Whart. 

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well,
  if one has not dined well."
~ Virginia Woolf

If you've had cioppino, you know that it is a lot of food.  It was.  Tomorrow, we will have an enviable supper for two, and we get to eat well, think well, love well, and sleep well two days in a row.

Mama mia!

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food"
~ George Bernard Shaw.

I'm getting the food thing down pat, just by wishing.

In the last month, my fondest food wishes have come true.  First, I was wistfuly wishing for a good Italian restaurant in the mountains.  Tonight, we got Mama Mia's.

Second, I was pining for saimin, down the hill. On Thursday, we learned that  L& L Drive-In, a restaurant featuring a menu of Hawaiian plate lunches and Hawaiian local-style foods, including saimin.....chicken katsu... lemon chicken...teriyaki BBQ chicken... will be opening in the new plaza right across the street from our office.  We intend to be among their first customers.

Be careful what you wish for...

"Life is a Gift."

Author Unknown

P.S.  If you would like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to this journal entry, you may do it here.  

 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson


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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
September Morn 2001