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This Year in Santa Maria

DSC_0031, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

“Some Jews had been able to find their first taste of true equality by immigration to America; however, most Jews in nineteenth-century Europe remained locked into a repetitious cycle of anguish. They looked, as they always had, to a return to Palestine. This longing had never left their daily prayer and was reemphasized in the yearly Yom Kippur greeting, “Next year in Jerusalem.” Leon Uris in The Haj

When many years ago, I first heard of this Yom Kippur greeting, Next year in Jerusalem, I was struck by the poignancy of the statement. It is especially touching because of the understanding that, according to the Bible, Jesus, their anticipated Messiah had already come. Sadly, His people failed to recognize Him.

Inherent in God’s people is an almost overwhelming desire to be together, to congregate, to chant prayers, to worship side-by-side, to muster forces; all-in-all to recount and to celebrate the victories of our eternal King. While I am Jewish only in the Spirit, I strongly relate to the connection the Jews have to return to their own land, and their annual words of hope spoken to their friends and kin, Next year in Jerusalem.

Each year the Western District of our church organization has a camp meeting in the city of Santa Maria, CA. Read here and here concerning the meeting of 2006. (If you want to read more about 2006, just check the posts before and after those I have linked.) Tonight will be the first service of 2007, but already the fair grounds are filled with rigs of all sorts–from very expensive Prevosts to humble tents. It’s CAMP MEETING TIME!

Last Wednesday, Jerry and I arranged our rig for traveling, pulled out of our space at DJ’s RV in Lake Havasu and drove to San Bernardino, where we parked our Country Coach motor home in front of Rebecca’s house. Trees hang low over her curbs, and just as Jerry was about to park, we heard a loud snap from the ceiling area of our rig. Later I found a broken horn lying in the gutter. A branch too low and too big had snagged on the roof-mounted horn, and had broken it off. A sad and costly thing. Couple of hundred dollars, probably.

It was hot in San Bernardino, and Rebecca had gone to a funeral, so after waiting for a bit, we decided to head on up to Crestline where we would spend the night. At 40th and Waterman, which is where we start the rapid climb into the mountains, it was 101 degrees. When we had accomplished the mere 15 mile drive to our home, our car thermometer showed 84 degrees. It was heavenly.

Not long after being in our house, our neighbor Nancy called and invited us over for dinner, which invitation we gladly accepted. She had remembered my birthday, and for dessert we had scrumptious cake. This was birthday cake number 2.

Rebecca’s son, Nathaniel, was at Junior Camp at Camp Seeley, which is about 5 miles from our home, and since he and Rebecca would be riding with us to camp meeting, on our way down Thursday morning, Jerry and I drove over and picked him up. At Rebecca’s, we discussed meals and snacks for the upcoming days, and while she finished loading her things into our motor home, I went to Stater’s and bought groceries.

“Look, Mom, I made you a birthday cake.” She showed me the dark chocolate cake, all prepared for traveling. Birthday cake number 3!

We had planned to spend the night in Ventura at a place called Rincon which is operated by the County, and is a stunning area where RVs park right along the ocean. They take no reservations, however, and we could not find a spot, so we motored on to Santa Maria, checked in, and claimed our spot.


Nathaniel brought a tent, along with plans for his cousins Gentry and Chloe, to spend each night there with him, once the cousins arrive on Wednesday. What Nathaniel did not bring were the tent stakes, (not stakes–the rods that hold up the canvas. Don’t know what they’re called. :() so for Rebecca it was off to try to buy some. The sales person had assured her the parts would fit, and after hours of trying to assemble the contrary things, they were found to be the wrong size. Off again, finally having to buy a new tent.


Nathaniel considers the procedure…

Nathaniel had also brought along a new battery-powered scooter, and much to his dismay, at fully charge mode, it would only last about 20 minutes. Back to the store, and despite a new charger, the next morning, the same situation was evident. Back to the store. New scooter, which Nathaniel and his friends assembled. It’s a blasting, fast one, and they roam all over the fair grounds here.


…finally, Nathaniel (and his friends) have it finished.

It’s great to be have been here a few days early. We visit, stroll around, shop, and occasionally catch a snooze.


By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 83 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

5 replies on “This Year in Santa Maria”

Karen, I saw your mom last night. Actually we were side-by-side in the altar area at the end of the service. She is the sweetest lady.

Wish you could be here, too.


Oh, Linda. I wish you were here. You need to put it on your family calendar and come be with us some year. Camp meeting is my favorite meeting of the year. It’s just so balanced–time to visit with friends, to rest and relax, to watch the children tearing around, and then of course to participate in marvelous services from morning to night. Heavenly–almost!

Love you


Sis. Buxton, you make me homesick to be at the Western District Camp Meeting! When I think about Camp Meeting, my first thoughts go to Frazier Park. What a blast I had as a child on “the old camp ground”. Then as a teenager my mind goes to Beulah Park in the moutains around Santa Cruz. We had some fantastic services and I will never forget the touch of God I felt on my life during those years. You and Bro. Buxton have been a major part in my memory. We have only been to Camp Meeting in Santa Maria one time. I’m sure you all will have a great time. I would love to be parked there will you. I’m anxious to read about it at the end of this week. I would also LOVE to see some pictures. God bless you and all our friends in California!


Camp meeting….sounds wonderful! My Mom just left today to head down to Santa Maria. Maybe you will see her there along with the Connells. Hope your time there is blessed with sweet fellowship both in the natural and the spiritual.



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