For a Personalized Autographed copy of “STRAWBERRIES IN WINTERTIME” or “WOODEN & ME” mail a check for $25 to:
400 Roosevelt Court
Ventura, CA 93003
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Thoughts on This, That and the Other
In protest of our nation’s bitterly divided house, I am taking a knee while offering to all Americans an Irish blessing I saw in a pub in Dublin: “May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.”
Okay, in all honesty, I can think of a few individuals that I have cold words for and wish an endless uphill road filled with potholes.
Earl Warren, the 14th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, famously said: “I always turn to the sports section first. The sports section records man’s accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man’s failures.”
Were he alive today, I imagine Mr. Warren would read the comics first – and toss away the sports section and front page.
Twitter and Facebook would surely cause him to smash his smartphone with a gavel.
I feel a thank-you shout-out is merited for the kind reader of this space who, anonymously, donated a new copy of “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” – which the Conejo Valley Unified School District had considered not approving – to The Brodiea Ave. Books Free Library that I wrote about earlier this month.
Add Brodiea mini-library: At the recommendation of curator Glenn Egelko, I borrowed a collection of essays titled “Dancing Under the Moon: Love and Sex, Life and Death, and Some Nice Little Italian Restaurants in the Nation of Los Angeles.”
This copy is actually signed by the author: “Happy 40th anniversary, Lois – & 40 more! Al Martinez 8/22/92.”
I hope Lois has now reached a happy 65th. I also wish The Bordiea Library a happy fifth anniversary “– & 40 more!”
If you see people dancing in the aisles at Trader Joe’s as though they are at a wedding reception, it could be because of this autumn sign now on display: “Welcome to the Land of ALL THINGS PUMPKIN.”
Add books. In “We Stood Upon Stars: Finding God in Lost Places,” a new offering by Venturan author Roger Thompson, of the numerous beautiful phrases and passages within, I especially love this fatherly wisdom:
“I’ve always had good reasons to not do things, but my boys were getting older. The opportunities would soon pass. If I wasn’t careful, memories of things we did would be eclipsed by regrets of things we didn’t.”
Also, this gem: “A boy’s dream is for himself. A man’s dream is for others.”
The Ventura City Council didn’t ask me, but I think the downtown parking meters should be tossed into the ocean to create artificial reefs for fish – and not replaced.
In response to my column about special teachers, reader Robert Newell shared this:
“I remember Miss Look, who was my 5th-grade teacher at Montalvo Elementary. I had a lot of fun growing up on a ranch in Montalvo during WW2. Back then we were all farm kids familiar with all kinds of animals, domestic and wild.
“One day at a recess, one or more boys found a gopher snake and sneaked it into Miss Look’s desk drawer. When recess was over we all waited for the big surprise or scare.
“When she opened the top drawer, Mrs. Look very calmly picked the snake up walked to the window and dropped it outside. Never a word was uttered by her or the boys in our class.”
Ed Wehan, a local ultra-running legend who – among his feats of feet – placed seventh in the granddaddy 1979 Western States 100 Miler, was also a team captain for the UC-Santa Barbara tennis team.
During his Gaucho days, Ed played Arthur Ashe in the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships.
Thinking of Ashe, let me close here with this wisdom from the late, great champion who once sweated out a 6-3, 6-3 win over my friend Ed:
“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.”
Be sure to make a life today.
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