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Gwin Mitchell Paden Lodi happenings: Jeweler moves on, cheese store opens, new owners for floral shop

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Gwin Paden

Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:19 am, Tue Apr 5, 2011.

Has April weather finally conquered a March that refused to abdicate (like several people we know about!)? I hope so. All the trees and bushes that began to blossom lacily didn’t get to wear their best dresses to parties or debutante balls in a sunshine limousine. Instead, they had to ride in an open horse and buggy that left their finery somewhat the worse for wear. However, some of them could still manage to dance a little and show off when the sun finally dared to come out.

***

I have been rejoicing with my mailman, Gary Hamby, over the successes of his daughter, Erica, who is finishing her graduate studies in vocal music at Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute. She recently sang at the Institute’s live internet performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and then followed that with a solo performance in New York City’s legendary Carnegie Hall, the only vocalist from among 340 graduate students from the Institute to perform in a 10-year exchange program with a Singapore conservatory.

Mezzo-soprano Erica, 24, one of four sisters, is a graduate of Bear Creek High School and California State University, Stanislaus. After graduation, she will be home for a little while and then will continue seeking a summer music program. Her Kennedy concert performance is on a web page which I don’t happen to have handy right now, but will find out soon.

***

Read this spirit-lifter on the back of a greeting card: “Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy, and celebration. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning, and laughter is life’s sweetest creation.” Makes things a little brighter, yes?

***

Can’t believe I actually saw these two gems: The printed news that streams at the bottom of the screen during Fox News programs is pretty bad when it comes to spelling, but the printed conversation which appears when MUTE is on is even worse. Did you know Geraldine Fereraro actually represented the “burrow” of Queens, New York? Who were her constituents — moles and gophers? I think they meant “borough”; Queens is one of five in New York City. I can guess at the others — Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island.

And speaking of knowing one’s geography, Don Phillips has set himself the task of trying to memorize the capitals of all the states. Like him, I used to know them all, but now there are gaps in too many places. Think I will try the same exercise. Schools used to teach this. Do they still?

Along the same line, I felt much reassured the other night watching a group of ladies truly enjoying themselves at the House of Coffees. Seated at the one big round table, first they worked together and completed a colorful and complicated jigsaw puzzle in no time. Then they played spelling games — kind of like individual “Scrabble.” They were still at it when I left. How great — minds being exercised, and no punching on keyboards of any kind!

***

Stephanie Lord at the Abandoned Cat Team in Lodi is delighted that she will be able to use a much larger space at PetSmart’s new store on Florin Road, Sacramento, to show cats who need to be adopted. This store has a lot of foot traffic, which makes it a good spot, and ACT will not have to share the space. This is an improvement on their former smaller space in Stockton.

The ACT is an independent kitty rescue that seeks new homes for these animals. There are limited foster homes, but the group takes cats from the pound whenever there’s room. It operates county-wide. If you are looking for a pet or have questions, please call Stephanie at 369-6076. She works closely with PALS at the Lodi Animal Shelter.

Speaking of our purry friends, here’s a good one: “Cats humor us because they know their ancestors ate ours!”

***

Second Son has been involved with establishing a radio station for the West Point area, and now KQBM (Blue Mountain) is a reality after almost four years of endeavor. An FCC license to broadcast and a building license were issued to the Blue Mountain Coalition for Youth and Family in early February, and they have three years to construct KQBM and make it operational at 90.7 FM on the dial.

Supporters are now in the early stages of raising money for the necessary equipment: broadcast tower, transmitter, station equipment, etc., and could use support. As the group is a nonprofit organization, any monies sent to help its construction, etc. are tax deductible.

Send donations to the coalition at P.O. Box 41, West Point, CA 95255 and mark the check for KQBM, as the station has its own separate account.

I know this is not a local need. but it is very worthwhile for the West Point area. Second Son says we may be able to pick it up here, too.

***

Village Florist has changed hands again. New proprietors are Jennifer and Donald Gareis, who already have a flower shop in Stockton which they are dismantling and moving to Lodi. They have been in the business for a while, so they should do well. The shop actually came in second in the recent Best in Lodi judging, although a different shop was listed in the supplement, Jennifer tells me. We wish the former proprietors, Denny and Marsha, well in their future endeavors.

***

The recent luncheon honoring those who volunteer for Friends of the Library by working for the bookstore or reading in convalescent homes was a delightful occasion. It featured a delicious meal served in Scooter’s banquet room, already hung with gorgeous photographs in preparation for that night’s First Friday art exhibition. The room itself is an inviting space; first time I’ve been in it. My husband, who tends the bookstore room from time to time, won a Scooter’s gift certificate at the drawing, so we’ll be able to eat there again soon.

And to continue about the library, Walter Cronkite wrote: “Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” How true that is, and how lucky we are to have our own very good library to provide so many avenues of learning through books, recordings and computers, let alone the special programs for children and the public in general.

***

Back to food: There’s a new cheese shop opening on North School Street, west side, as you may have read. Appropriate for pairing with all the wine tasting spots, I’d say. The store is near Borelli’s Jewelry Store, which closed recently.

I have gone to John’s store for years, and have known him ever since he advertised in the Lodi High School “Flame” newspaper back in 1974-75 when I was adviser for the student staff. I was lucky to have Bob Pattison for editor; he was a senior who was very good at his job. He made decisions; I made them happen.

Memo to those who like Saturday brunches: DeGrande’s is having another such on Saturday, April 9. Two seatings, 9 and 11 a.m. Call 365-6500 for details re: menu, price and reservations. (11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays, except Mondays).

***

Given all the places where crowds of people are demonstrating and fighting in the streets, here’s an appropriate, if somewhat ironic, African proverb: “No fist is big enough to hide the sky.”

Gwin Paden has been around these parts since 1957 and written this column since 1999.

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