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Gwin Mitchell Paden Updates on orphans — and lowdown on those wonderful treats at House of Coffees

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Gwin Paden

Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 12:00 am

Halloween is in the offing — has been for a while — so here is a seasonal starter:

There once was a grouchy old owl

Who wore a perpetual scowl;

But on Halloween night

With witches in flight,

He let out an exuberant howl!

Sorry! This came to me in the middle of the night — appropriately.

***

I must start off with an apology to the two bagpipers who played at the Sept. 10 early morning ceremony at the Hutchins Street Square flagpole. I did not remember reading anything mentioning them in the LNS, so in my comment I suggested adding bagpipes to the event. However, I saw their picture some time later elsewhere. They were indeed there. The pipes add special flavor to commemorative occasions.

***

An important event on Nov. 10 — the State of the City Luncheon at HSS. Check with the Chamber.

***

I have to mention this one — it's been waiting for a while. If you have enjoyed the various treats served at the House of Coffees most days, you'll be glad to know the source: one very talented lady who ran a knitting and yarn shop before she went into the catering business! She is Kim Duke, proprietor of the Old Vine Bakeshop on Peltier Road. Contact her at 471-3579; "special orders, events and catering."

***

Finally got to see the lorikeets at the zoo one recent evening. They are larger than I thought — and very noisy. But they are gorgeous birds, very brightly multicolored. They attracted a lot of visitors and were not shy of helping themselves to the containers of nectar we were holding. They have very long and black tongues! My first visitor drank most of the nectar and then two others came and shared it, beak to beak as well as drinking side by side. All this while another bird was doing a dance on my head! They were part of a zoo celebratory supper and program.

I couldn't help but feel sorry for the eagle sitting lonesomely in his large cage back in the corner. He should have been flying high out in the open where he belonged. I don't know if he had a companion — it might have been better for him if he had. I am really getting anti-zoo, no matter how well-run and animal-considerate they are. (And Ken Nieland does a great job with ours.) Thanks to TV and technology, anyone can sit at home and see almost any animal live in its native habitat (and we are learning to preserve these areas better than before), so there is really no need to pen these creatures up for viewing — particularly elephants.

***

The Kiwanis club of Greater Lodi has a real star in its midst: Rae Whitby-Brunner. She is running for Governor-Elect of the California-Nevada-Hawaii District of Kiwanis International, and if she doesn't get it after all the years she has contributed to Kiwanis and her community, then there is no justice as far as I am concerned. Of course, I'm sort of prejudiced, I guess, because Rae was the editor of the Lodi High School newspaper, The Flame, when I was adviser, and she was top-notch in that job. Also, I remember that Rae had the sense to check through all the scholarships available to graduating seniors that she was eligible for, and although many of them were considered negligible by other students, Rae came away with a nice amount of money to help with college costs. Of course, she applied for larger sums and was given several of those, too. Her list of Kiwanis activities on all levels is all-inclusive, plus contributions in other areas. Go, Rae!

***

Asked Gary Roupper recently about adoption results of the seven orphans who came to Northern California from Colombia, and I am happy to report that four adoptions are in progress. One is for the sister and brother who stayed with the Rouppets for five weeks. Gary says he prefers his own program of January visits to the orphanage in Bogota when he and Jasmine, his wife, go to take a large group of children to a mountain resort for two weeks. Many of the requirements of bringing children here under the auspices of another organization made for a lot of interference in real family times together, and Gary feels his time to help children move into the real world by teaching them some social and health habits is put to better use when he and Jasmine can be more like parents.

The Rouppets are planning to go back this coming January, and will be grateful for clothing and toys to take with them, or for help with funds to buy these. Call 327-4794 for more information.

***

And to close on: "Liberty is never being too sure that you're right." Judge Learned Hand. A sense of absolute certainty can lead to big trouble. Remember Prohibition?

Gwin Paden is a local resident, generally retired.

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