Updates on Lodi eateries and some happy gatherings - Gwin Paden - Mobile

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Updates on Lodi eateries and some happy gatherings


I wish it were possible just to think my column and have it print out as I thought. It would eliminate problems like lack of time or energy. Then I could just edit and amend afterwards. What’s more, it would take less time because I wouldn’t have to retype so many words. I am a very uneven typist — lots of letters are wrong or left out or whatever. Who knows? It might be possible in this age of printing 3-D stuff and creating extra body organs.

Short shrift on the garden this time; too many other things to fit in. Needless to say, the season rushes along. All the crape myrtles (yes, that’s the correct spelling — not crepe like dress material or crepes suzettes) are in full bloom. So are the tiny lavender Michaelmas daisies — way too early. I think we’ll have an early and hard winter, somehow. Lots of cones on the Engelman spruce, too.

A sad note: we had a small burial. Oliver cat showed up with a dead female hummingbird in his mouth. I was afraid he had killed the one hummingbird we had, but there is another adult female and a smaller one at the feeder. Still, it was not good seeing a hummingbird less than lively. She is safely buried under a rock in a flower bed, appropriately.


Important bits and pieces: California Al’s has changed hours. Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Makes it nice for us older ones who want an earlier dinner than most. Gary DeGrande has pretty much given up on Lodi. The partial menu, partial schedule, lunches didn’t work out, and other kinds of meals haven’t, either. He is doing better in the Sacramento area. I hope it works out for him to come back. He makes the best hot dog and panini sandwiches! His home is still here, so he is still ours.

Isn’t it great that the Lodi Art Center is now in Downtown, easily accessible to walk-in traffic? Lodi has some great artists and now their talents will be on display to a lot more people. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. ...

Speaking of displays, be sure to see the photographs hanging in the Sullivan Room in the library. They are superb. And don’t forget the Knowlton Gallery upstairs in the former Woolworth building. Robin shows one of my favorite artists, Gil Dellinger.

And still speaking of displays, the Fourth of July is not far off, and the American Legion will be selling fireworks this year, in Lakewood Mall. There’s material for a display of another sort!


Stopped in Buy 4 Less on Lockeford Street to see what was at hand. It has a new area, nicely arranged, and quite a variety of groceries and produce. Prices are good. Between this store and Walgreen’s, we Apple Market devotees should be able to manage most needs. B4L has a perky young lady manager, very friendly and helpful.


Two nice dinners and a birthday picnic with friends, lately: Friends of the Library had its annual potluck dinner meeting, at which reports for the year are made. Thanks to volunteers, the Friends’ book store sales are able to underwrite a number of library needs.

I guess a lot of people do like I do: Buy a book, read it, lend it around, and take it back to be sold again. If any of you out there are beginning to clean out bookshelves, think of the library; books can find new homes in the public collection or in the store.

Think, too, of volunteering for the Friends’ board; very few people are carrying those duties year after year. For that matter, most volunteer organizations could do with more help. These groups are an important part of this town; taken together, of this nation as well. Our country is known for its volunteerism.

The second dinner was Martin Jones’s 60 birthday fete. His wife, Ria, cooked a great meal for a roomful of family and friends. Martin is, as most know, the indispensable adjutant of Lodi’s American Legion Post 22, and the one usually doing the cooking for Legion dinners.

While there, I learned that Orlene Dentone, the Post’s very efficient secretary, is in the process of bringing out a second little book, which will be carried in the Vine and Branches bookstore. She publishes under the name of Odie Dentone, and has had quite a success with her first book, “The House Without a Family.”

And the family birthday picnic at Lodi Lake — very pleasant even on a HOT day — was hosted by Esther and Gordon Schmierer, celebrating their respective 80th birthdays. Actually, one such day is in spring and one in fall, so they had the celebration in-between. But both said they had and will have celebrations on the actual days, too! Why not?

Gordon has been president of Tree Lodi for a while and is going in as the first male president of Lodi Garden Club. Esther is a past president of the Garden Club and very active in Crane Festival doings.


Vern Weigum had a couple of bound volumes of the Lodi High School newspaper, The Flame, on the counter the other day — 1952-53. Saw an article “by Vince.” No other than Vince Perrin, who has lived in Stockton for quite a while and been very active in arts groups there. I recognized a lot of names but really didn’t know the people. A good 10 years before I arrived here.

And one to end with: Ralph Waldo Emerson, that eminently quotable author, said, “Man’s conscience is the oracle of God.” Thousands of years before, God spoke to the prophet Elijah “in a still, small voice.” Are these one and the same? If so, are we listening?

Gwin Paden has lived in Lodi since 1957. She served in the Women’s Army Corps, worked for local newspapers, and taught English at Lodi High School and San Joaquin Delta College.