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Gwin Paden Bits of news, wit and whimsy as Lodi slips toward autumn

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Gwin Paden

Posted: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 12:00 am

I think fall may be arriving — sort of. There are a few leaves turning color, some turning brown, and a lot of dead bulb stalks asking to be cut off. Most telling sign of all was the good whiff of wood smoke coming in the open door this afternoon. Not as sweet as that from burning leaves, but wood smoke, all the same. Now if the crows, who were out of place in spring and summer, would just turn up, they could add just about the final touch.

This column should have been written 10 days ago, but things kept getting in the way. I apologize — but it will probably happen again. My tendency toward procrastination is developing more rapidly than it should!


Something new has been added to Lodi's communication environs — a website named It has been developed by Keith Colgan as a place for Lodians to express themselves in any number of ways — political comments, stories, essays, poetry and newsy articles. People can also post their reactions to an entry.

Right now, Keith has a couple of good entries, as does Jim Turner, and Lisa Harp has a great article on how to help kids cope with the feared bogeyman of math. There is also an article critical of the school district.

There are all kinds of categories to choose from for your expressions. For more information, call Keith at 368-6217.


Bob Bader had a great line in his most recent column: "The elected are often under the impression that they are ordained." Couldn't be said any better!


Oh, joy! DeGrande's café has re-opened after a summer hiatus spent by Gary and the staff in manning a booth at a number of farmers' markets from Colfax to Manteca. Said booth featured a variety of Gary's homemade breads, also available at the café.

Serving hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. For further information or for take-out orders, call 365-6500. Address is 2370 Maggio Circle No. 14, diagonally across from Foster Lumber, kind of an out-of-the-way location but well worth the trip. Easiest way is to go over Harney Lane to the light at Stockton Street and turn north. Maggio Circle is a short distance from Harney; turn west off Stockton.


A comment by Sam Tanenhouse in his New York Times review of "Freedom," by Jonathan Franzen: "(Freedom), a word that has been elevated throughout American history to near-theological status, and has been twinned, for most of that same history, with the secularizing impulses of 'power.'" Makes one think, yes?


Debi Goni is always adding or changing something at the House of Coffees. This time it's a new window seat and a bunch of matching cushions for the chairs. More important, however, is an interactive story time for children aged from 3 to 5 years. Held from 11:30 to 11:50 a.m. on the second Monday of each month, the stories are read by Jessica Klinker, a teacher and children's ministry director. Deb says it's going well.


I was really struck by the artistry of Valarie Pinaglia, which is on display in the Lodi Public Library this month. It's a combination of calligraphy and etching (and some other related processes) that is really outstanding. The art displays around Lodi are always special to look at, and we are fortunate to have such good area artists and two great galleries to visit. For used books, there are the Friends of the Library bookstore in the library and Tom's Used Books on School Street. Various stores carry popular paperbacks, and there are some stores in Stockton with large selections of reading matter.

Programs at Hutchins Street Square add drama and music, including some major productions by local groups, so the arts are well served in Lodi, but I miss Tokay Players and Kiley's Dinner Theatre and their more intimate settings. Local live theatre regular productions can't be beaten.

Gwin Paden has lived in Lodi since 1957. She served in the WAC and has worked for local newspapers and taught English at Lodi High and Delta College. Her community interests have been many and varied over the years. She is the mother of four very special adults.

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