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Gwin Mitchell Paden A birthday bash for Don Phillips and a fundraiser for the American Legion

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Gwin Paden

Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:00 am

This is one of my favorite Easter poems, linking as it does the Resurrection and spring, and it is on Easter Day that I write this column. Fortunately, Easter is not limited to just a day. In its spring sense, it is a season; in its spiritual sense, it has no limits.

My garden is a symphony of spring colors — yellows, pinks, blues, purples, reds, whites — played by a whole variety of bulbs, plants, bushes and trees, performing in the face of intermittent wind and rain, and reaching crescendos when the sun shines. And there has been a special soloist — a silvery gray squirrel, outstanding among the red ones who usually visit the feeder.

Going back to the last column: I didn’t have the web page then on which to see and hear Erica Hamby singing at the Kennedy Center, but here it is now:, hit “millennium,” then type in “Erica Hamby.” I forget if you have to hit “Search” or not! My computer is too old to get all the way to hear her, but friends who have, sing praises. Arts at St. John’s plans to schedule her in concert, probably in early fall.

Catch-up No. 2: I wasn’t sure what the programming would be on KQBM, the radio station being set up in the West Point area, but Second Son tells me it is truly a community station, with something for just about everybody — news, music, commentary, special shows, etc. It is licensed to the Blue Mountain Coalition for Youth and Family, which is now fundraising to get necessary equipment — transmitter, tower, station equipment, construction, etc. The station may reach down here, so anyone wanting to help a worthy cause may send donations to the Coalition at P.O. Box 41, West Point, CA, 95255.


Friends — including rabbits and turkeys — and family celebrated Don Phillips’ 87th birthday recently with a splendid outdoor picnic under the pepper trees. Best kind of birthday cake — chocolate with chocolate icing! Don is anxious to get chess players active again, coming out to Phillips Farms to play or learn to play the game of kings. He’s hoping for a big chess players’ get-together, too. If you’re interested, call the Farms number, 368-7384, and leave your name.


Looking ahead to May, tickets are now on sale for $15 for the May 7 fundraising dinner for our American Legion Post 22. The dinner is being put on by the Holiday Cheer Box Drive Group, in thanks for the Legion’s providing space and help for the preparation of gift boxes for the troops overseas this past Christmas. Funds raised will go to improve and maintain the Legion building.

Bill Selling, Legion member extraordinaire, will be cooking tri-tip for the dinner and is also selling tickets (among others). Call him at 602-2703 to be sure you get a ticket in time.

Veterans are members of the American Legion. They are also members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Right now the Lockeford VFW hasn’t enough space to meet in, and it has been suggested that perhaps they could be scheduled to meet in the Legion building.

I think this would be a great idea. The building could truly become a center for all kinds of veterans’ services, as well as a place to meet and socialize. A hand open to give is also a hand open to receive.


There is a need for “civilians” to help with the senior Capstone project at Bear Creek High School. This project is a comprehensive program replacing the canceled Senior Projects required for graduation. Major pieces of the project include research, writing, community/mentoring connections and a presentation of the completed project.

Members of the community are being sought to evaluate, question and give feedback to the students. Dates and times for judging panels are Monday, May 9, 7 to 11 a.m. and 10 am to 2 p.m.; Tuesday, May 10, 7 to 11 a.m. and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Thursday, May 12, 7 to 11 a.m. and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Community members are needed because teachers will, of course, be in their classrooms. If you can help, please call Betty Liske at 463-8548, or email her at

Speaking of teachers, we had the annual luncheon for retired high school teachers and administrators a couple of weeks ago, and it was great to see old friends and colleagues, as well as to meet new retirees from Bear Creek and Ronald McNair high schools. The list of those among us who have died during the past year was a fairly long one this time, sad to say.

The luncheon was begun, I hear, by Dan Boone, a history teacher who has become a legend, and who built the square wooden clock hanging in the library. Then Guy P. Wakefield, also a history teacher and another legend, took over for a long time, followed by Elvera Melby and then Vanadeane Brooks. Now Beverly Lacy is gracing the podium.


Did you know that Thomas Jefferson studied Latin, Greek and French at age 5, classical literature and more languages at age 14, entered the College of William and Mary at 16, studied law for five years from age 19, started his own law practice at 23, and was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses at 25?

He retired from his law practice at 31, was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress at 32, and wrote the Declaration of Independence at 33. He served in Congress and as Secretary of State and Vice President before becoming the third President of the United States at age 57. He served two terms, retiring to his farm, Monticello, Va., at age 65.

Seems he couldn’t end his devotion to learning; he founded the University of Virginia at 81, becoming its first president.

He died, as did President John Adams, on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration. He was 83. What are the chances of anyone leading a life like that in these days? (And I didn’t mention a lot of other things he did, such as obtaining the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the nation’s size at the time.)


A word before I go away until next month: Please support your local newspaper(s) wherever you may live or work. They cover your particular locality — you can’t get that on TV news much, unless there is a murder — and help that locality bond together.

You can pick that paper up and read it without punching buttons, you can fold it and put it in your pocket for later reading, cut out a clipping to save or give to a friend without having to boot up the printer, and read it in places you can’t take even a laptop, such as the bathtub or while eating breakfast in bed.

A devoted group of people are working their hearts out in that building on Church Street to keep something going that is vital to this community, and they should have our support. Subscribe, place an ad, write a letter.

Gwin Paden has been in Lodi since 1957, long enough to remember some good old days and is in the 12th year of writing this column. As you may gather, she thinks newspapering is a noble profession — a profession, not a political handmaiden — that should be kept alive and well.

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