A little bit about a lot of things:

• Too much turkey?

Kat and I probably pushed the envelope a little this year when, two days after attending a family Thanksgiving dinner, we roasted a second turkey Saturday to enjoy.

Turned out to be a perfect meal to enjoy after attending Gustine’s tree-lighting and Christmas parade in brisk conditions Saturday evening. That was a perfect night for some basic comfort food.

Great job for all those hardy souls who turned out for the event, by the way....well done!

And as of this writing on Monday, I’m still enjoying the leftover sandwiches from Turkey II.

Much as I enjoy the turkey the first time around, it’s hard to beat a well-dressed leftover sandwich.

Does it get old? I’m sure it does.....but not there yet!

Maybe beef for Christmas, though.

• Speaking of Christmas.....the days are ticking away. Those who haven’t made a big dent in their Christmas shopping list (and that includes me) had best get busy, because the days are flying by.

For many, of course, Christmas is not only the time to shop but to decorate....in some cases to the extreme.

Some folks go all out with their holiday decorations, creating colorful Christmas scenes for all to enjoy. The variety in decorating tastes is striking. Some decorate with the theory that the more lights the better and create vivid holiday wonderlands, while others opt for a more understated theme that produces its own striking beauty.

We’ll be making the rounds in a week or so to scout out some of the best Christmas decorations in our communities.. As always we could use a little help.....readers are invited to suggest Christmas decorations they would deem worthy of a photo in the local paper. Shoot me an email at dharris@mattosnews.com and we’ll check out your recommendation.

So get decorating.

And shopping.

Time is wasting.

• Much as I enjoy the holidays, holiday travel is another story.

Two of our grandchildren stayed with us a couple of days after Thanksgiving, and on Sunday we met their mom in Castro Valley to take them home....instead of over the river and through the woods, it was over the (crowded) Altamont and through the steady rain.

In all honesty, the drive in wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.....but after seeing how packed southbound I-5 was and figuring it was only going to get worse as the afternoon went on, we were looking for alternate routes on our homeward drive. Interstate 5 is not a real exciting drive to begin with. Sitting in traffic on Interstate 5 had even less appeal.

So....we just jumped off at Highway 132, went over to Highway 33 and almost had the road to ourselves for the duration of the drive home.

There is much to be said, I think, for the road less traveled.

• Another chapter for West Side Community Ambulance, with the announcement that Merced County will restructure its EMS model to essentially carve the local provider out of what had been a county-wide exclusive operating area. Under the current scenario, the county-wide provider was required to sub-contract with West Side to allow the local ambulance to continue serving its historic coverage area.

Now, West Side will be contracting directly with the county for the Merced County portion of its district. It essentially becomes an independent entity once again....but remains accountable to the EMS oversight agency.

Kind of feels like West Side has come full circle, with its return to in-house management and now the pending transition to be a stand-alone district once again, responsible for its own operating area.

The provider plans to find facilities in Newman and Gustine where its two 24-hour cars can be based, and the service will most likely be adding at least a 12-hour unit in Santa Nella to cover that portion of the West Side Healthcare District.

The taxpayer-supported ambulance service continues to face challenges going forward - as do many EMS providers in the current industry environment - and only time will determine if West Side succeeds.

How it all turns out remains to be seen but the thought strikes me that for the first time in quite a while West Side, if everything falls into place, is truly returning to its roots as a community ambulance service.

That, I think, is what local ambulance leadership has wanted. Now it falls to West Side to take the new situation and run with it.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.