Now is the time of the lilies, at least here in my garden: day lilies, Easter lilies (regular time, not forced for Easter), calla lilies, and a beautiful white trumpet lily with feathery leaves that I forget the name of. Orange, yellow, white, and, later, dark red, plus purple and white glads. They are planted all over, here and there, so it’s like several soloists singing over the main chorus of green voices.
I have one tomato in a large pot and one red pepper in a pot-and not enough sun where they are. The pin oak in the middle of the backyard has grown so much that the sunny area on the back cement where these are, plus a lot of potted hibiscus, becomes shady at 2 pm, rather than 3, so they are all not getting enough sun. Moving day is at hand!
I marvel how, in spite of city growth, Lodi people are still interconnected. Met and talked to retired teacher Ray Hanson at the recent Legion omelet breakfast, and discovered we share friends: Sara Heberle, Nancy Heberle Thompson, and the late Wally Katnich and Duke and Mary Nepote. Then, two days later, ran into Nancy’s husband, Tim, at my hairdresser’s and discovered she had been cutting his hair for years.
I have also met two other old friends there, whom I rarely see otherwise. And then there’s Jean Beckman, who lived across Locust Street from us when we first came here, and whom I now run into at Lodi Physical Therapy and Walgreen’s. Frank Pegg, whom I interviewed with his family when they first came to Lodi about 50 years ago, I still see at church. He is about the last one of several newcomers I interviewed for the Lodi News-Sentinel in those days.
Monday was Memorial Day, and I hope we all took time out to thank those who died for this country and for our freedom, and to pray for those still in combat. I was particularly struck by something Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University, wrote in yesterday’s Parade Magazine, talking about the many Civil War dead who were never identified:
“It was a shared loss in the sense that so many dead belonged to everyone ... These were also not the kinds of death that society at the time believed were appropriate ... Death without dignity imperiled the meaning of the life that preceded it, so a day for memorial was meant to restore the dignity of those lives ... and in some way ratify how important the courage and sacrifice had been.” Faust has a book out, “This Republic of Suffering.”
We who have been Apple Market shoppers since its opening have been experiencing a far less important but still heartfelt kind of loss now that it has closed. It hurt to see it slowly dying by inches: one or two bottles on a big empty shelf, sad little vegetables wilting away for lack of care, no deli with its good sandwiches. And no place where old friends could run into each other from time to time and catch up. It won’t be the same with a gym. Whole different atmosphere and crowd. Where to go? Walgreen’s can fill some grocery needs, thank goodness, and the homemade soap — and soup, too — at Phillips Farms is great. They also have good area-grown produce and on-site baked goods.
Belatedly, congratulations to an old friend and former Delta College colleague, Al Muller, who recently had the college’s student theatre named for him. He well deserves it, having done a lot for both Delta and Stockton Civic Theatre over many years. I remember well Delta’s Fine Arts Department back in the ’60s: Al, Jerry Cundiff and Art Holton Jr.
I read all the advice for graduates given by various community leaders and thought it all good. I’d like to add a few bits of my own, qualities to develop and maintain through life: self-discipline, which will ensure commitments, attitudes, and appropriate behavior and appearance; compassion and kindness, which nourish souls and relationships; lively curiosity, which will encourage knowledge and growth-through extensive reading if not through actual experience; and, last but certainly not least, a light-hearted and witty sense of humor, which can make burdens more bearable all around. Avoid the vulgar, senseless, illegal and cruel at all times and in all circumstances. And remember, what one person is or does can make a real difference in the world.
Above and beyond all of this, of course, is faith, the sine qua non of all else, the recognition of an all-wise power greater than anything else in anyone’s life, whether they always realize it or not. Guidance given from this source is the basis for all else, and is an unfailing strength upon which to draw in dark times and to acknowledge with thanks in good times.
Sincerely, Gwin P.