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September 17, 2021

Funny Papers Again Column | Lit Skies, Festooned Floats and Honored Names

Monterey County Third District Supervisor Chris Lopez and I crossed byways here awhile back when neither of us had anything to do; well, I didn’t really have anything to do, anyway. Chris was only stopping to catch his breath during a busy schedule because a supervisor’s life is a life of myriad meetings with musings of monumental matters containing countless combinations of crafted certainties and crushing criticisms. (I don’t know if that last sentence accurately describes Chris’ meetings, but ya gotta love the alliteration).

As Supervisor Lopez gathered his thoughts for his next go-round with various groups and individuals (no doubt the topic of water, or the lack of water, somewhere on some agenda), I sat with him for a few quiet minutes, and we discussed some local stuff. My association with the Museum down at San Lorenzo Park made the extended closure of that park a concern for me and I had expressed that concern here and there; the when and how of that whole issue was explained and it made perfect sense and as was explained in last week’s Valley newspapers.

As in all other aspects of life, the need for the county to occupy that part of the park will come to an end as life gets back to, well, gets back. I was going to use the word normal to end that last sentence but “normal” is a tough word to pin down. What is normal to one man is anathema to another, what one views as abnormal may be acceptable to her neighbor. And what was normal in January of 2020 may not stand in July of 2021; we have seen media images throughout the past year wherein occurred what I would deem as a shift in our cultural paradigm, the results of which we have yet to realize.

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There was a convivial crowd gathered the other evening at the local Doc Shop as a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place in the patio/rose garden area. The event’s purpose was to raise money for hospital equipment to better equip our small, rural hospital. I mentioned to a couple people that my personal history with our local medical facility goes back to when I was 11 years old and busted my arm on the monkey bars at school.

I went in the emergency room door and an hour later came out the front door with a cast from wrist to elbow that I thought made me too cool for school; casts were highly regarded among the elementary set. (You know the old story: South County kids frolicked in two river bottoms, played in vacant lots all over town and rode bicycles with reckless abandon; we involved ourselves with all sorts of rugged activities and nary a scratch, but at school, where adults thought metal monkey bars were a good playground addition, we went down like Pickett’s Charge; but I digress).

In the past six years I’ve had seven operations in that building and I’ve come to trust the people there, so volunteering to help the medical folks do their jobs better with proper equipment seemed the right thing to do so I did it.

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At last Sunday’s parade down Broadway, one couldn’t help but notice the theme of honoring those in our armed forces. There were three members or former members of the services riding floats and at the local park there was a ceremony dedicating a newly re-done monument to those who were killed in action in past wars. We honor such people because we must somehow justify the horrible things we human beings find necessary to do.

I support such activities because I am enough of a student of history to realize for most of the Cenozoic Era humankind has waged war on themselves and will continue to do so. A peaceful Utopia is the desire of every pacifist, but realism dictates that desires do not overcome human nature. Members of my generation were raised in the Eisenhower years, only a handful of years after World War II, and our intake from movies, action comic books, television shows and magazines were filled with stories and images of that war, and those stories and images fostered what is defined as patriotism. But we saw extraordinarily little about Korea, the first killings of The Cold War. It was called a “conflict” and, what was a first for America, it ended in a draw. This was something we weren’t used to as a nation with a winning record.

And then came The War in Southeast Asia: Vietnam, “America’s Televised War.” After years of digesting images of the war in the jungles of Vietnam and images of the war on the streets of America, I came to a place of being anti-war but pro-warrior. I hated to see the hurt the local deaths caused but if friend of classmate felt they truly needed to go then I supported when they went, and I supported them when they returned safely. I can say I well remember a couple of those from my high school years who did not return alive, who died fighting what is in the history of humankind just another war being waged somewhere on the planet. I think most people feel this way, a hatred of our acceptance of inevitable wars but our hope and support for those who fight them for us.

The “Avenue of Honor” at San Lorenzo Park exists due to the efforts of very diligent and dedicated people, and I would urge you folks to make your way down there, walk the area and maybe hope that no new names will need to be added to those now there.

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If all went according to plan, last night marked the first meeting in over a year of the Stage Hands theater group. Before the year is out, will we once again be entertained by our long-standing troupe? Stay tuned to this station. Take care. Peace.

Steve Wilson
King City and Greenfield Columnist
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