The Star-News


Time to cheer in the coming year

Sat, Jan 18 2014 12:00 PM Posted By: Richard Peña

When I turn on the evening news and see the trials and tribulations of those folks on the Eastern seaboard it is hard to imagine that I live in the same nation.

We know that, under normal conditions, we could hop on a plane and within five or six hours be in the eastern city of our choice. We, however, realize that this is not normal conditions and that there is a winter out there someplace even

if it has failed to reach our valley.

Back in my navy days, shortly after the war, I was assigned to a tour of shore duty at the Naval Air Station in Key West.  I always thought that Key West was the place where they sent us guys who had been at sea too many years. I recall the station had a commanding officer who often entertained at his quarters.  He used to brag, and rightly so, that he had the coolest spot on the island.  And it was pleasant, shaded with a seemingly perpetual breeze blowing from the direction that brought in that cool atmosphere.

I thought of Key West this past weekend as I sat at my “coolest spot on the island” enjoying the nearly perfect weather which we have come to believe is our lot. I have often written and thought about this spot that is on the deck outside of my barn.  On that space we have almost constant sunshine, much green foliage to make the sight pleasant and a breeze that, like Key West, seems to be perpetual.

Sunday had been one of those perfect days. I had attended the nine o’clock mass at Corpus Christi in the company of Roy and Carol Hammond who drove me and then had a full breakfast at the parish hall. To make the day complete the Chargers had handily taken care of the team from Cincinnati and were still in the playoffs making the local sport’s aficionados happy, at least for one more week.

As usual on successful, football, Sundays I received the phone calls, all of the positive nature.  My son David, who has lived in Maryland for the past 30 years should have, by now, adopted the Redskins or Ravens as the hometown favorite but I suppose that the habits of growing-up years is hard to break.  He is still a dyed-in-the-wool Charger fan and applauds or suffers like any other native Californian.  Daughter Margaret called from her Sacramento home as delighted and as giddy as a member of the Rivers Clan.  Way to go, Chargers!

Last week I had a sort of beginning of the year column. But on rereading it I had to realize that we are not really into the New Year as yet.  It is a little bit like buying a new pair of shoes.  It takes a few wears to get used to them. After that it is either full speed ahead or take them to the Goodwill.  We really don’t know what to make of 2014.  As in previous years we believe that we should start with some of the active organizations in the valley.  We seem to have a vested interest in most of them and would surely like to see them develop and flourish in the weeks to come.
One of those organizations is the California Retired Teachers Association who are commencing their year with a salute to the retired teacher.  This is not just any teacher but one who has reached a ripe old age.  This, of course, includes me as I have reached a ripe old age in almost any organization one might suggest.  Next week we will report on them particularly those who will report on some  rosy accomplishments


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