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Gwin Mitchell Paden Celebrating some of Lodi’s most giving people

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Gwin Paden

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:00 am

I've seen other kinds of birds drinking — or trying to — from the hummingbird feeder and not staying with it very long, but this morning I saw the little pudgy finch that eats from the seed feeder every day hang upside down from one of the perches and drink his fill a la hummingbird.

Then he figured out that the perch was to sit on, and so he did-and kept drinking. (Or was it she?)

Birds are such fun to watch, and so are squirrels. Actually, most animals are if time and place are right — and we take the time. That is also what the true enjoyment of a garden requires — time and patience. Plants and trees rarely hurry. They try to do the job right the first time.

***

One to ponder on: "Three grand operations of the mind of man: to think, to choose, and to perform." — Welsh Triad

Is it how we each act upon and interrelate these operations that make the differences in our behavior?

With winter weather finally deigning to make a very chilly appearance, here is a great poem, written most obviously for people living in woods out away from a town or even a hamlet and who have to make their own comfort against the cold:

Winter Night

Pile high the hickory and the light

Log of chestnut struck by the blight.

Welcome in the winter night.

The day has gone in hewing and felling,

Sawing and drawing wood to the dwelling

For the night of talk and story telling.

These are the hours that give the edge

To the blunted axe and the bent wedge,

Straighten the saw and lighten the sledge.

Here are the question and reply,

And the fire reflected in the thinking eye.

So peace, and let the bob-cat cry.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

***

I write this after coming home from this year's Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, featuring progress reports, recognitions and awards. It was nice to see hard-working, giving people be recognized, and to be aware of how blessed Lodi is to have so many of these.

What was particularly interesting and positive, casting some light in the darkness of the current economy, were the examples of so many new or expanding businesses of several types. These people didn't just draw in their horns and curl back into their shells until things got better. Each took a different perspective on his/her situation and found new ways to expand, to the betterment of their firms, their employees, their customers and the city of Lodi. Imagination and initiative coupled with practicality make for awesome results, particularly if the government doesn't have anything to do with it!

***

And speaking of businesses: Does anyone out there know of someone who does reweaving or who recanes chairs? These are tried and true skills, still necessary, a sort of recycling process. One just can't throw away a sweater or shawl that has a hole or cut in it, or cast an antique chair into outer darkness because its seat needs recaning.

I do know Mike's Custom Upholstery (on Commerce Street, across Highway 99) has a deft and imaginative way of coping with problems smaller than their usual car or boat upholstering. A friend had a suitcase seam repaired, and I had a couple of large sun umbrella restored to usefulness. And I know, too, that often if one business can't fill a need, someone there knows someone else who can. That's the beauty of living in a place like Lodi.

***

Finally got to "Wags to Riches," The PALS thrift shop on East Pine Street. It's in what used to be the original Shanghai Chinese restaurant (before it moved across the street and became the New Shanghai Restaurant, which is now Adopt-a-Child). They have lots of space and lots of good things to buy: clothing, books, knick-knacks, stuffed animals, baskets — you name it. Have begun putting together some contributions of my own. All for a new animal shelter.

And on that subject: In this cold and/or wet weather, be sure your pets are adequately sheltered and kept warm and dry — and adequately fed. Just the same things you yourself would want.

Here's the groan for the day: Why did the rocket lose his job? He was fired.

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