77°F
weather icon Clear

Story Tellers Corner: Restaurateur whips up new creation: children’s books

After retiring, a former Boulder City restaurateur embarked on a new career: writing children’s books.

He had the idea after he wrote a letter to his grandson about growing up on a dairy farm.

Carlos “Carl” Raines, former owner and operator of Carlos’ Mexican Cafe in town, had only written thank-you and condolence letters before his son encouraged him to give children’s books a try.

“I have one grandson,” he said. “When he got to be about 4 years old, he would constantly drag his books out for me to read. I decided when I got back (from a visit) to write him a letter.”

In the letter, Raines included stories from his childhood about his cat, Sam, and their adventures on the small dairy farm where he grew up in Northern California. He said that while he was milking cows, he would squirt Sam with milk and he would get sopping wet.

“My son called me and said I should write a book because he was reading the letter to him (my grandson) every day,” he said. “So I did.”

Raines, 80, recently completed the fifth book in the series. All are told from the view of the cat and the main character, Milk Sop Sam.

“Once I got into it … it felt like I was falling in love with a woman,” he said. “I would wake up excited to work on it.”

Throughout the stories are characters based on people he has known and worked with during his 35 years in town, including Miss Amy (Amy Arnaz, the longtime resident and dance instructor who died in January 2015), who worked in one of his restaurants.

Raines is of Portuguese heritage and was the first generation in his family to be born in the United States. He was also the first one to go to college.

“My father always told me to never have a dairy, because you’ll always be working it,” he said. “You’ll be a slave to it.”

Rather than go into the dairy business, he decided to go into the restaurant business after spending a short amount of time in the pharmaceutical field. After opening a restaurant in Petaluma, California, he came to Boulder City and opened Carlos’ Mexican Cafe.

“I realized that it was the same as a dairy,” he said about owning a restaurant.

Despite the work, Raines said he enjoyed it and treated the staff like family members.

“I try to be vivacious in every moment,” he said.

His restaurant operated in three locations. It was first at what is now Evan’s Old Town Grille. Then it moved to what used to be the Scratch House, and its last location was where Momo Sushi is now.

Raines is working on other books.

The “Milk Sop Sam” book series is available at milksopsam.com and amazon.com.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Lunch resumes at senior center

The Senior Center of Boulder City will resume serving lunches on-site Oct. 1.

Peak season vegetables inspire hearty lasagna

What do you do when you’re craving something gooey and cheesy, but your scale rudely reminds you that you should consider eating some vegetables? I suggest you tell your scale to mind its own business because you are fabulous. Promise yourself you’ll have two salads tomorrow and make a colorful roast vegetable lasagna tonight. Problem solved. That’s a compromise that totally works in my world.

Chamber recognizes achievements, installs officers

Not even a global pandemic could keep the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce from celebrating the achievements of its members as it gathered virtually Sept. 10 for its annual installation and awards event.

Army seeks DNA to aid in identification of remains

The remains of military combatants whose lives were lost while serving in the military are saved and documented as much as possible for future identification. It’s only in recent years that identification has been made possible by the use of deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA for short. A chemical made up of two long molecules, arranged in a spiral that carries genetic information, it has all the instructions that a living organism needs to grow, reproduce and function. And it codes genetic information for the transmission of inherited traits.

 
Heroes recognized: Church collects cards for first responders

A local church wanted to thank public safety and medical personnel so its members organized a thank-you card drive to show their appreciation.

Wind storm readiness key for when ‘dry’ monsoons hit

This North American monsoon season has been an unusually dry one. Also called summer or desert monsoon, this seasonal shift in wind is normally accompanied by heavy rainfall.

Give ramen noodles healthy upgrade

Confession time: At the grocery store, I always look at what other people have in their carts. Not a casual glance, either, I really look. I learn a great deal about the family behind the cart. Besides what’s for dinner, I can usually tell how many people are in the household, whether the family has children and what age. I can also gauge how much money they spend and how committed they are to eating healthy foods.

Turkey venture became lucrative plan

Nevada miners in the 1800s lived largely on beef, bacon and beans. Maybe they might get to a larger community or town once in a while for a nice restaurant-style meal, but mostly it was beef, bacon, beans and a little salt pork.