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Cowboys and cats Richard Peña | Sat, Jul 13 2013 12:00 PM

Judging by the notes and other material that I have sprawled around my work station I think it is about time for another olio, you know, one of those columns that is multi-subjected.  We sometimes become so engrossed in one particular item that we become remiss and skip over material that merits, at least, a few words if not the entire space.
I have visited the Bonita Museum four times in the past few weeks simply because I am fascinated with the current exhibit.

In keeping with the original objective of the museum’s exhibit space, the front portion of the building is devoted to material that is part of the valley. We thus see photographs and other items that inform the visiting public of the early days of agriculture in the valley, remind us of the pioneers in the valley, history of such things as the Sweetwater Dam and the many dairies that dotted the floor of the valley.

It is that portion of the museum where the docent on duty can lead scores of children—as well as adults—on an educational and pleasing tour of the valley.

The rear part of the museum’s exhibit space is the larger of the two. This is what is housing the current attraction. It is called Coast to Corral—A modern View of the American West.  This event is partly sponsored by PacTrust Bank.  It would be my guess, however, that the principal person behind this event is the Bonita sculpture and artist, Mehl Lawson.

We became well-acquainted with Lawson a few years ago when he was on a major undertaking at the museum. He designed and sculpted a horse and rider that was one and a half times the size of a real one. 
For some weeks he worked with clay on ladders or other means of rising on animal and man. On completion the finished product was cut into sections and then shipped to a foundry for eventual shipping to its final place of exhibit.  
Many of the images on exhibit are the works of friends and acquaintances of Lawson.  Almost all are part of the private collection of the artist. The majority of the works are paintings, oils, pencil and my favorite, watercolor. The sculpted pieces are outstanding and they deserve close scrutiny.  The Western Art Exhibit will be on display through this month. It is well worth a visit.

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A couple of issues back I wrote a column regarding cats. My household had become inundated with a couple of families of black cats. Since then we have had offers of aid from friends and neighbors who will not only take them away but have the necessary cosmetic surgeries and other medical procedures performed.
The kittens, we understand, will be given to folks wanting them. There is a great demand for cats, something that we did not know. The adults will be returned and I will be subject to those stares given to me for subjecting them to fixing, which is the accepted term.

I recall a cat I had years ago who was a marauder.  He would go out on the town nearly every night and return the next day a mess. I called him Casper.  Finally I had enough and Casper went to the local cat hospital. I nicknamed him Sam Spade. I would thereafter greet Casper with a cheery “How you doing, Sam?” and he would retort with a “drop dead” stare.

•••

A friend, Don Cousino, sometime back gave me a couple of books by the late L.A. Times sportswriter, Jim Murray.  Murray was a classic but he was also fair.  He wrote that he seldom liked to say anything bad about a team or an individual.  I generally write at least one column about the San Diego Padres.  So agreeing with the sage, Murray, consider this my Padres column.

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