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On budgetary matters, history and sandwiches

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Posted: Monday, June 15, 2009 10:00 pm

My garden world has straightened out again.

For a while, squirrels, humming birds and birds other than the blue jay had disappeared, but they have come back - on a less regular basis than usual, but I'm not questioning. Just rejoicing!

I am also remembering two more good friends who have left us - Laura Singer and Dante Ballatore. Laura was a member with me of the AAUW Garden Section years ago, and Dante was a fellow music lover and symphony attendee. I shall miss them both.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have found that one of the major inconveniences of growing older (by the minute!) is that when one is all eager to take care of a necessary task and get it out of the way, or have a go at some interesting project, there is always some body part which has to be taken care of first. Exercises, pills, applications of this or that potion, special clothes or braces, etc. Sure takes the energy and time so that the original purpose for getting out of bed in the morning has sort of gone by the wayside. Bah!

I write on June 6, truly a special day in the world's history, and one that should not be forgotten - ever. President Reagan's speeches were wonderful, especially as they were delivered by a man who was honest, sincere and patriotic, and who, by nature, was an optimist. I never feared for our country or our Constitutional basis in law then as I do now - very much.

My personal memory of D-Day was a lot of rejoicing at Camp White, Ore. (near Medford), where I was stationed. The whole post - and it was a big one, including two divisions in training for overseas, the Western Personnel Reassignment Center, a WAC company, a headquarters company, a forestry company and a hospital with full complement of staff - spent the day enlivened and heartened.

What I didn't realize was that it signified the end of WACs on general assignment and the deployment of most of them to Army hospitals, which were becoming busy with returning wounded. For me, that meant leaving the wonderful rural area around the post and going to Letterman Hospital in the city of San Francisco. I am NOT a city person!

Speaking of S.F. leads me to the governor's idea of selling various state-owned properties, including San Quentin. You all know - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. That San Quentin idea is not cost-effective, considering the relocation of some 5,000 hard-time prisoners and the logistics of moving them. Same applies to Guantanamo. We're in too much debt already.

I wonder at the amount of money planned to be spent on the Grape Bowl when the city has so many other areas for sports, and each high school has space for its own graduation ceremonies. I know, I know. The Grape Bowl is all wrapped up in nostalgia and memories. I am a nostalgiac myself about a lot of things, but sometimes that is not the best reason for action.

I keep thinking of what a wonderful animal shelter that money could build, and how much that would do for all the living beings, both animal and human, who have to deal constantly with the real horrors of the present situation. It could even be built right at the Grape Bowl's present location; no land purchase necessary. A new shelter is about 45 years overdue. The city was talking about it when I got here.

Rebuilding the Bowl makes me think of all the new stadia (correct plural for a Latin word!) being built around the country lately. Remember the fact that the Roman Empire fell partly because people were more interested in bread and circuses (read: sports events and concerts) than paying attention to business and government.

For bread, substitute food. Notice the amount of time and space devoted to food and recipes in publications and on TV? And how everybody complains about being too fat and wanting to lose weight, and all the weight loss programs and substances thereto pertaining?!!! I have to admit to wanting to lose weight, but the recipes don't attract me. I hate to cook, even though I managed to keep four children and my first husband pretty well fed. My second husband is patient and undemanding about my culinary efforts, bless him!

While I'm on about food, some eateries need to learn how to make good sandwiches. I refer them to Apple Market's deli, Scooter's and De Grande's (on Maggio Circle). These places don't just put a thin layer of contents between two thick slices of bread or roll with nothing to bind them together or add taste. Contents hold their own against the bread, which is spread with something tasty that binds the sandwich together. A sprinkle of oil and vinegar can do wonders for taste. I'm sure there are other good sandwiches in town, but these are the ones I know.

Gwin Mitchell Paden has been in Lodi since 1957, and has had a finger in a lot of local groups and enterprises. She has written this and that throughout most of her school, WAC and career years. This column began I999, and has gone through several metamorphoses.

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Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

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