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Gwin Mitchell Paden Looking forward to Hallowe'en — and to the election being over

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Gwin Paden

Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 6:36 am, Thu Oct 28, 2010.

The season's introductory and obligatory opening storm is just winding up as I write this, and all the trees seem relieved. They had to struggle with the wind more than usual, as so many have retained nearly all their leaves. The wind did its best to denude them, but really didn't win that battle. We need a batch of colder weather.

In my yard, all the birds hid away; but one squirrel sat happily in the roofed feeder, chomping away at rather damp peanuts. I'm glad there are a lot of evergreen trees; good protectors for both birds and squirrels.

***

The recent Hall of Fame dinner at the Lodi Boys and Girls Club was such a warm and friendly affair; it was truly a family kind of evening. I was honored to be one of several people inducted into the Hall of Fame, and I tried to mention my interactions with all of them, managing to remember everybody — except Janice Roth. The only excuse I have is that I was pressured by time, and simply went blank. (I notice this a lot lately; the word or phrase or name just disappears, only to reappear later, generally when it's too late.)

So I want to apologize to Janice, whom I know well. She was president of the Lodi Symphony Association when I was on the board, and I have met her on many occasions when she was responsible for some event or task.

I feel Janice is one of those who render true service. While some of us run around starting things, Janice is a true keeper of the flame, seeing that what has been started keeps on going — and in the right direction. She is a quiet person whose acknowledgment of her honor was a sincere quotation that ended with a wish for peace for us all. She is a truly good person.

***

Came across a great quotation: "Things break; people die or are suffering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." (Leonard Cohen)

***

Susan Hitchcock, after 25 years of service to this city, has decided not to run again for City Council. While I understand, I am sorry she is not going to be there any longer. There have been many times when I felt she was the only one showing any common sense. I want to thank her most sincerely; anyone who can handle service on the planning commission or the City Council while holding down a full-time job as a school administrator deserves accolades.

***

Hallowe'en is approaching fast, and neighborhood front yards all over the city have become occupied with all manner of black cats, spiders and spider webs, jack-o-lanterns, witches, ghouls and tombstones. What's best at night are all the bright orange lights strung up here and there. Oct. 31 has become sort of a quasi-holiday, given that lots of adults wear costumes and there are all manner of haunted houses, trick-or-treating venues, and parties being planned. What a contrast to Nov. 1, which is marked in many churches as All Saints' Day when the departed are remembered and hallowed (venerated). Hallowe'en itself is a shortened version of All Hallows' Eve, and my computer speller is telling me that the apostrophe should be left out. I refuse to go there!

***

I will be so glad when this election is over. The sheer nastiness of all of the campaigns in general is overwhelming. Why don't candidates simply say what they stand for and what they hope to accomplish instead of telling lies and saying nasty things about their opponents? It's getting so that no one knows whom to trust or what to believe. Doesn't anyone believe in being truthful any more?

And it's not just now and just in this country. People in general have become impatient, contentious and downright dangerous. Killing seems to be an everyday activity almost anyplace.

Even the planet is rebelling — earthquakes, floods, storms, even active volcanoes. Where and when will it all end?

Long ago, I read this: "One must have chaos in one's life in order to give birth to a dancing star." On that basis, there should be a whole heavenly ballet in the future.

***

Here's a bit of good news: The Friends of Lodi Library bookstore will be open on Art Hop First Fridays, from 6 to 8 p.m. That's great — not only will library visitors be able to enjoy good art, but they can also take home a good book or two.

Gwin Paden has been working and volunteering in Lodi since 1957. Life has not been dull! She has decided that she has become more talkative in her later years because her mouth works better than most other parts!

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