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Gwin Mitchell Paden: Enjoying a marvelous spring

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Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 5:30 pm

Well, it’s been a while. Sorry about that, but computer glitches and vision problems kind of slowed me down for a while, and time just flew by.

Meanwhile, we have had a most marvelous, colorful spring. Bulbs, bushes, and trees all outdid themselves in generous giving of all the blossoms and colors they could.

Now many of them are moving into their summer green and giving space to a group of new colorful performers.

Unfortunately, these players have been subjected to a less comfortable stage. Hotter days have leaned heavily on everybody, and winds, although gentle, have served to dry things out. Time for sprinklers at the appropriate times and places!


Catching up a bit, I noticed that in all the writings about Ed DeBenedetti, a most generous-hearted and delightful man, no mention was made of the fact that the Lodi Arts Commission was his idea.

As I remember (and I’m not always certain of my memory these days) Ed put a notice in the paper for those interested in starting an arts commission to meet with him.

I went to that meeting, and I can’t remember if anybody else was there or not. However, Ed explained his idea and that he was too busy to take charge. So I offered to, and we put out a notice asking for those interested in serving to call Ed.

Those who called made up the first board. I can’t remember how many — nor, unfortunately, all their names.

I do remember Mary Jane Ballatore, who did a wonderful job with music programs in the schools and elsewhere.

I called her the other day, but she can’t remember all the names, either. I do remember Phawnda Cochran, a calligrapher who designed our first logo, and the late Mel Brenner, a well-known local artist. Also, Eileen Chaffee was the first secretary. Both Phawnda and Eileen moved out of town years ago.

If anyone served on that first board or knows others who did, please contact me in care of the paper. I don’t want to leave anyone out if I can help it.


I was so pleased to see Joyce Harmon honored for her long service with Tree Lodi and for her other work to preserve trees in our city. She has long told residents to see that their trees are kept clear of mistletoe, a food-sucking, evil green plant with white berries which has a romantic meaning at Christmas. If any of you see a sign of this parasite, dig it out of the branch or the trunk and be sure and get all the roots. A small branch may have to be cut off.

If mistletoe is not cut out of a tree, that tree will eventually die. There are already too many trees in Lodi where the only green is mistletoe.


Our society has changed in so many ways, not all of them exactly for the better. So many community group members are gray-haired now, and there don’t seem to be very many younger people stepping up to volunteer. But some services don’t take long or occur all that often, and it would be great to see younger Lodi residents step up and help.

Our Lodi Post 22, American Legion, has been searching for younger veterans willing to serve in the four-person Honor Guard which is an important part of the occasions when the Legion puts on Memorial Day services this month at the Lodi Cemetery and at Veterans Day exercises in November.

There are a few other times during the year when the Honor Guard may be needed. I’d sign up in a minute if I were strong enough.

And one to end with: "Leaders are shaped by the values they embody." — West Point Magazine

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