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A modest proposal for that wall on the west side of General Mills

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Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 10:00 pm

Every time I see the west wall of General Mills looming large when I'm traveling east on Tejon Street, I keep thinking what a wonderful wall to paint a large mural on - a mural of mountains against a blue sky with a green forest and maybe even a lake toward the bottom of the wall, just above the rooflines of the houses there. Any takers?

With all the news about the city, the state, and the federal government not being able to keep up roads, schools, repairs of all sorts, etc. I am minded of that old New England saying: "Use it up, wear it out; make it do or do without." Seems we're all kind of in this situation, given the price of gas and everything else.

What a lot of money could be saved if everyone obeyed the law! Think about it: fewer police, no need for security guards or street sweepers or graffiti cleanup, no people hurting each other, no drug dealers or illegal immigrants, or damaged skate parks (or damaged anything else). Well, as Hamlet said, "'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished" - but it ain't going to happen, human nature being what it is. But some parts of it could happen. We could all stop littering and keep the sidewalks and streets in front of our houses and businesses clean and all act as surrogate parents or teachers when we see kids misbehaving (with the understanding that there will be no suing!)

Apropos this upkeep idea, Downtown is looking cheerier, thanks to Vern Weigum and volunteers who provided and put fresh plants in the street planters. Now it is the responsibility of those with planters in front of their stores to keep the flowers watered, trimmed and weeded. Nor are these planters meant to be sat on like stools! Some people have been seen doing this. Tch, tch.

While we're in the tch, tch department, there have been some ludicrous homophonic word errors lately: lai (?) instead of lei, a floral wreath; lumbar (pertaining to the back) instead of lumber (wood), a lean (tilted) on a house instead of a lien (money owed) bails of hay instead of bales, make due instead of make do, and roles in the bakery instead of rolls. Then there were grammatical errors: had swam, and the old bugaboo-laying in the street instead of lying. And using "Buddhas" instead of "Buddhists."

Ran into an old friend, Jim Turner, in the Friends of the Library book store the other day and we had a fine time nattering about the old days in the fifties when we worked at the News-Sentinel. We remembered Jim Egan and the Colonel and Carl Underwood and Horace Ayers and Wilma Gross and Star Christie, and, of course, Art Marquardt and Clyde Church. As far as we could figure, only Carl and the two of us are left.

I miss them all, and I miss Rollin' in Dough and the Lakewood Drug store and post office, and Parrott's gift store and Cottage Bakery and Newfield's. Right now, I'm missing Lou Fugazi's hot dogs and hoping the warm weather brings him back Downtown.

One really nice thing that happens every spring is the annual reunion luncheon at the country club for retired high school teachers and administrators. It's always good to see old friends and to welcome new ones. This year, we had some retirees from Bear Creek for the first time and we will welcome some from McNair in the future. It's just an all around nice time for us all, and thanks go to Guy P. Wakefield who was the first host, and then to Elvira Melby, Vanadeane Brooks, and Bev Lacy who have followed him.

A word to those who bag groceries: please don't put two half gallons of anything in the same bag if you're waiting on a senior citizen. These bags are just too heavy, particularly if they have to be carried on the bus.

Don't you just hate hearing "Please listen carefully for our options have changed," "Your call is important to us," and "This call may be monitored"? And isn't it great to reach a human voice - finally!

Words to end with: "The greatest beauty often lies on the other side of fear." - Kenneth Miller.

Gwin Mitchell Paden has been a Lodi resident since 1957. She has had careers in advertising, the WAC, news, and teaching and has been active in community work.

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