Gordon Smith wrote feature stories for the Reader from 1978 through 1987.
Editor's picks of Smith's Reader stories:
- Tony Gwynn sat in a canvas-backed chair and peered into the wooden cubicle in front of him. “What’s in my locker?” he asked, repeating the question that had been posed to him.“Well, here’s a rubber stamp that says “Tony Gwynn’ on it. I’ve never used it. Here’s a ball of putty that I squeezed to strengthen my arm when I hurt it earlier this year." (August 27, 1987)
- "It is an Engelmann oak, a species found in the inland valleys of San Diego County. There are stands of the oaks in Riverside County and a few in Los Angeles but none exist farther north.” (February 27, 1986)
- One night Earp returned to the house on Third Avenue and told Sadie that a man “had sort of donated” a racehorse to him in a poker game. Earp raced it at the old Pacific Beach Racetrack. (February 6, 1986) .
- At 6:33 p.m. the radio in the Life Flight operations center at UCSD Medical Center in Mission Hills crackles: two accidents have occurred in the East County. In Alpine, a young boy has fallen off ...(August 9, 1984)
- George McCain lives by himself in an old Airstream trailer beneath a eucalyptus tree, about half a mile from S-2, and after leaving Vallecito station Remeika and I drive up and bang on the trailer s door. (January 12, 1984)
- The boulders rattle down a chute into the deep black mouth of the crusher. Inside the machine, two heavy steel plates come together repeatedly with force beyond imagination. Whoomp! Whoomp! Whoomp! And 150 million years of history is broken into softball-size pieces and comes out on a conveyor belt on the other side, moving toward yet another crusher in this quarry just west of Cowles Mountain on Mission Gorge Road. (April 5, 1984)
- As a ten-year-old exploring the dark corners of my family’s garage, I once found a huge knife sheathed in a worn leather case. It had a rawhide handle and an eight-inch steel blade. When I asked my father about it, he told me it was from his days as a bomber pilot in the Pacific during World War II. (July 31, 1980)
- Flexibility and strength. Range of motion. These are the keys to avoiding any athletic injury, or so claims Phil Tyne. Tyne owns an athletic club in downtown San Diego and he is also the conditioning coach for the San Diego Chargers; you have to believe he knows something about athletic injuries (April 2, 1981)
- The day I drove out to look at the Loma Citas water tower the weather was hot and hazy. I had never been to see the tower before, but I didn’t have any trouble finding it: it rises some fifty feet above a cluster of sleek, ranch-style homes alongside the South Bay Freeway. (Sept. 17, 1981)
- Dawn: clouds press down low over the Campo Valley, and rain seems imminent. In one corner of Jim Kemp’s cattle pens, five cowboys and one cattle broker are already hard at work, trying to get 240 head weighed and ready for shipment to the feedlot. (January 8, 1981)
- Tom Morey's smile is almost cherubic, and his hair hangs down over his forehead in bangs. He is a creative thinker who is constantly hatching new ideas, and he talks about them in an earnest, boyish voice. It is a minor shock to find out he is 43 years old, has had two children by his first wife and three more by his second. (Aug. 24, 1978)
- Hamilton Marston gestures from time to time with his large, thick hands. His cheeks are ruddy, his gray hair slightly tousled, his blue eyes bright behind plain brown glasses. He is not a large man — five feet, ten inches — and as rain beats against the windows of his spacious brick house near Balboa Park, a fire blazes in the fireplace behind him. (Feb. 7, 1980)
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