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On books to read, movies to watch and English grammar

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Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 12:00 am

You might know the old poem:

"Spring is here; the grass is riz

I wonder where the flowers is."

No wondering these days. Blossoms of all kinds and colors are making themselves manifest all over town. It only took a couple of warmer nights and days, and they made a grand entrance, high and low. Even the birds stayed still enough to enjoy their new world. A dove sat motionless on a limb of my Chinese pistache tree for a good 15 minutes, just enjoying the morning sun and looking at his world.

Still, one can't be sure. This year, summer grabbed a sizeable piece of autumn time for itself, so of course autumn encroached on winter, and then winter moved in (at least at night) on spring. Will summer take over earlier than it should, or will winter come back and spoil all the blossoms? We need rain, but not at the cost of spring beauty right this minute.

***

Before I go any further, I would like to thank two very concerned young ladies who helped me out of a dilemma last week. In all the excitement, I forgot to get their names, but I do want them to know they are very much appreciated and to reassure them that I am all right.

***

Two very special things have happened to our town. One is that Randall's (fine clothing for men and women) has relocated to Downtown in what used to be the Gold Room of the Hotel Lodi. The store is beautiful and will add a lot to Downtown. Randy says the walk-in trade already has brought more business than at the Lakewood location. In addition, there is a small gift shop that will be managed by Denise Lang (sorry, I forgot her married name). Randy is very happy with the whole new situation. You might say the store has come into its own spring bloom.

The second thing is a boon to oldsters like me who hate to cook. Amy from DeGrande's catering and Deb from Deb's Farm to Table have joined forces in preparing Dinners To Go, offering restaurant-prepared meals which can be picked up at DeGrande's, 2370 Maggio Circle, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The generous meals, fresh or frozen, come in great microwavable containers. Entrees include pork loin, several varieties of chicken dishes, meat loaf, stuffed peppers and cabbage rolls, and include a roll or bread and butter, and a small dessert. There are vegetables and some kind of starch, also. All for $9. A steak or salmon dinner is a bit more. Call 209-210-8118 or 209-712-5564 to place an order.

This is another entry in the roster of special meals being served for those to whom cooking is an unpleasant or impossible chore. Hurray for them all!

***

Saw two very impressive movies on TV the other night. One was "Beyond Borders," a fictional story based on the efforts of the U.N. and other organizations to get needed food and medicines to displaced people in Africa, Cambodia and Chechnya. The settings and the conditions of the people were rudimentary and saddening, but what made things worse (in all three places) was the appearance of armed thugs who mowed people down with gunfire and took what supplies they wanted. Bless the organizations which work to get the needed supplies to these kinds of people — and many others in other countries.

The second movie was "The Iron Lady," the story of Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of England. This is the film for which Meryl Streep was honored. She did a marvelous job in portraying this indomitable woman, holding her own in what was, and probably still is, mostly a man's world. She reminded me of President Harry Truman: "The buck stops here." I wish more government leaders (?) had the same courage of their convictions

And speaking of men, there are a number of provisions made for single mothers with children. What about single fathers with children? If anything, they have even bigger problems. For that matter, there are a lot of organizations set up to support and rehab women. What about men? They seem to be getting the short end of the stick.

***

Books to read: "Proof of Heaven" and "The Harbinger." They will make you think about the extraordinary ...

Add to your to-do list: Give a donation to keep Blakely Park pool open this summer — at least on weekends — with a lifeguard on duty, not only for safety's sake but to teach children there how to swim and be safe in the water. Donations go to the Parks and Recreation Department on Stockton Street ...

Visit Cheese Central on School Street for a lot more than just their very good cheeses.

***

English lesson for the day: Watch past tenses of verbs. They can be tricky! It's "crept," not "creeped"; " bitten" and "beaten," not "bit" or "beat"; "trod," not "treaded," with "trodden" as the past participle. Example: I tread the path today, I trod it yesterday, I have trodden it many times. Remember that the -eth ending on verbs is simply an old form of the -es ending. And both forms only apply to third person singular: he, she, and it.

And one to end with, with Easter coming:

"'Twas much, that man was made like God before.

"But, that God should be made like man, much more!" — John Donne

Remember: Daylight Saving Time cometh this Sunday!

Gwin Paden has been around Lodi for half a century and has had a finger or two in various community projects and organizations. Every third person she meets seems to claim her as their English teacher! This column began in 1999 as a way to push correct use of the English language, but it was like shouting down a well!

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