Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 22, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 17



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 22, 2012 

STUART Tolchin..........On LIFE

HAIL Hamilton My Turn




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


Patricia Colonello




Richard Garcia


Lina Johnson


John Aveny 


Jeff Brown

Pat Birdsall

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Stuart Tolchin

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Hail Hamilton 

Rich Johnson

Chris Bertrand

Ron Carter

Rev. James Snyder

Bobby Eldridge

Mary Carney

La Quetta Shamblee

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Greg Wellborn

Dr. John Talevich

Meaghan Allen

Sean Kayden


 This morning 
I reserved tickets for 
a workshop designed 
to assist lawyers in 
The man organizing 
the seminar is a well-
respected attorney who took the time to 
ask a few questions about me. I told him 
that, in addition to practicing criminal 
law, I write these columns which discuss 
the effect upon me of what transpired in 
the past week. He asked me to send him 
a few of the articles which I certainly 
will do as I want readers wherever I can 
find them. In glancing at the titles of 
my past 250 articles I realize how little I 
had written about what my experiences 
around the Court.

 As I have mentioned many times 
before for the past decades my practice 
has involved criminal law. Every 
morning ridiculously attired in coat and 
tie and unmatched pants, which after 45 
years of practice still feels unnecessary 
and ridiculous, I fight the traffic and 
pay the ever-increasing parking fees. 
Already slightly resentful I walk the 
streets toward the Courthouse passing in 
many locations rows of homeless people 
asking with or without words for funds. 
As anybody who ventures out of our safe 
little enclave notices these people on 
the street generally look pretty ravaged. 
How they got where they are we don’t 
know and certainly never ask.

 It’s important for me to say and 
it is a part of this story that all of my 
contacts with people living on the street 
have not been negative. Some years ago, 
when my kids were pretty young, and 
we had spent the day downtown, we 
arrived back at the car to find the battery 
dead. It was dark and cold and rainy. 
This was pre-cell phone and I was not 
an. Auto-Club member. There were no 
other people getting into their cars from 
whom I could ask to borrow jumper-
cables and start the car. Some homeless 
folk wandered over and started talking 
to me and asked about the problem. I 
told them. “ Dead battery, no jumper 
cables, crying kids, and it’s raining”. 
These guys said no problem. They 
talked to somebody who was getting 
into his car but had no jumper cables but 
did have some metal tools in a tool box. 
They talked the guy into bringing his car 
near mine and using the metal tools, one 
against the other, they created a circuit 
which allowed the current to flow from 
his battery to my battery and presto the 
car started.


I don’t know if that little incident sounds 
like much to you; to me it was magical. 
The relief I felt as that motor turned over 
was as great as the joy I felt years later 
when the Search and Rescue team found 
me lost in a rainstorm on the Mount 
Wilson Trail at 4;00 in the morning. I 
was already kind of delirious and had 
hypothermia and as one of my rescuers 
took a pair of socks and pulled them 
over my shaking hands I said something 
like “This feels as good as jumper-cables” 
and then proceeded to almost walk off 
the cliff.

 How can I put this, I know 
people need other people and we should 
not be so absorbed in our own lives that 
we ignore the pain of others. Still as I 
continue to describe my daily experience 
it is clear that what I do is mainly ignore 
other people’s pain. I arrive at the 
Courthouse and see multitudes of people 
waiting for elevators and looking unsure 
and distressed. I assume that these 
people are not there for pleasure. Other 
than the occasional person dressed like 
me in coat and ties, everyone else is there 
in the midst of some unpleasant incident. 
Some are about to go to jail or are there 
to watch a loved-one be sentenced. Some 
are victims of crimes who are ordered to 
be present as witnesses. Finally, there are 
the potentials jurors; unhappy at being 
ordered to be in Court and wondering 
what room they are to go to.

 Meanwhile the people in the 
suits laugh and joke as they greet one 
another and discuss their latest vacations 
as they ride up in the elevators. It gets 
worse once the individual Courtroom 
doors are opened. Almost everyone with 
a matter pending is a person of color. 
Really the only Caucasian People in the 
filled courtrooms are the lawyers and 
court employees. During the morning 
prisoners in custody are brought into the 
Courtroom. Sometimes they are hand-
cuffed or shackled. Frequently they look 
like the homeless people I see on the 
street. Something is very wrong and I 
wish I could help but I cannot. My job 
is only to be of assistance to the one or 
two people who are actually my clients 
and over the years it has become easy to 
ignore the plight of everyone else.

 Well, maybe not so easy. Maybe 
that’s why I don’t write or talk about my 
work very much. Realizing this doesn’t 
make it any easier but if I can ever be of 
help I want to be ready and have the right 
tools just like the homeless people who 
were knowledgeable enough to help me 
start my car. I’m ready for the workshop. 


 Remember the saying: If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. 
What it doesn’t mention, however, is for those among us 
that have been physically active all our lives, when they 
get older we will probably need replacement parts. The 
question isn’t a matter of if we will need them but when 
we will need them and what we will need.

 I’m at the age now when my body is beginning to wear out. I’m not happy 
about it but that’s life. I exercise regularly and try to eat right but like any 
old car, once in awhile I need a tuneup and some worn out parts replaced. 
For example, last Tuesday I underwent my second total hip replacement. 
This time it was the left hip; two years ago it was my right hip.

 According to my surgeon, hip surgery isn’t that unusual for someone my 
age who’s spent a lifetime as a runner. He said you can’t expect to continue 
indefinitely running marathons, triathlons, or just jogging. “These kinds 
of “high-impact” activities eventually catch up with you, he told me. “You 
can’t expect a set of tires to last forever, well the same is true of human 

 But this doesn’t mean a runner who can no longer run can’t remain 
active. My surgeon recommended that I take up bicycling or some other 
“low-impact” sport like swimming. He asked if I had ever tried golf? No, 
I hadn’t, I told him, but I had a lot of friends who were golf fanatics. But 
somehow the idea of batting a little white ball around a golf course wasn’t 
the same as running. 

 I told him golf made me feel somehow “old.” He said that was ridiculous; 
“How old was Tiger Woods when he became a famous golfer?” I had to 
admit he was right. Tiger was a teenager when he hit the big time. Still, I 
felt a sense of loss at not being able to continue pursuing something that 
had given me so much pleasure all my life. 

 Then again, my hips aren’t the only body part I have had to have 
replaced. I had bunion operations on both feet, also from running; and 
had both lenses in my eyes replaced with high-tech polymer ones because 
I was going blind from cataracts caused by the sun’s glare from a lifetime 
of surfing. 

 My hip surgeon said I can go surfing again, though. That’s good news. 
I guess being able to surf, swim, bicycle and golf isn’t so bad for a guy my 
age. Thank God that I live in at a time when the replacement parts and the 
medical know-how that can rebuild an aging body like mine are available. 
I feel like a vintage Ferrari ready and waiting to be raced again. That’s good 
news too.

 One thing I’m truly thankful for is that I haven’t contracted a real 
disease like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. Replacing parts is much more 
preferable than the suffering that comes from a real illness. My suffering 
will soon be at an end; I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It looks 
like I’m going to be around to be a healthy grandfather. My wife promises 
to take special care of her newly refurbished Six Million Dollar Man. Now 
that’s really good news!

Mountain Views News 
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Circulation for the County 
of Los Angeles in Court 
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for the City of Sierra 
Madre; in Court Case 
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RICH Johnson

Harry S. Truman was, as most of you know, our 33rd 
president sandwiched in between Franklin Delano 
Roosevelt and Dwight D. Eisenhower (If you want 
to know what the S. is middle initial represented you 
are out of luck. It meant nothing because both of his 
grandfather’s names had ‘S’ in them. Truman found the 
national stage winning election as a Senator in 1934 
(he can thank the first four people who were offered 
the candidacy and turned it down). As a child he was a 
farmer which was a typical profession in Missouri. During World War I he 
was an artillery officer. He was a different kind of President. He probably 
made as many, or more, important decisions regarding our nation’s history 
as any of the other 42 Presidents preceding him. However, a measure 
of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House.
The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, 
which was in Independence Missouri . His wife had inherited 
the house from her mother and father and other than their 
years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there.
When he retired from office in 1952, his income was a U.S. Army 
pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. Congress, noting 
that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted 
him an ‘allowance’ and, later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year.
After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home 
to Missouri by themselves. There was no Secret Service following them.
When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, 
“You don’t want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn’t 
belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it’s not for sale..”
Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award 
him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept 
it, writing, “I don’t consider that I have done anything which 
should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise.”
As president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food.
Modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing 
in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth. Today, many in 
Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while 
enjoying the fruits of their offices. Political offices are now for sale. 
Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed, “My 
choices in life were either to be a piano player in a house of ill repute, 
or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference!

When Truman left office assessments of his presidency were critical. 
However, over the years opinion of the man and the presidency have been 
grown in popularity. He was a great man thrust into the presidency at the 
most difficult of times. World War II, the advance of Soviet Imperialism, 
and the rebuilding of post war Europe and Japan were enormous tasks.

Thank you Harry for your years of service and your candor.

My band JJ Jukebox is playing this upcoming Friday night at Corfu 
Restaurant in Sierra Madre. We perform songs from the 1960s and the 
1970s. Fun rock is how I would describe our music. Nothing too loud. The 
time is 6:30 to 9:00. There is a $5 cover charge and a $15.00 minimum food 
order. The food there is terrific by the way. If we are lucky we will sell out 
again, so please make reservations by calling (626) 355-5993. Thank you.


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


 Okay, right up 
front I want to 
confess that I am 
an old fogey. In 
my defense, as if I 
needed one, I was born an old fogey. I 
have what may be called old-fogeyitis, a 
rare psychological disorder only affecting 
people born of woman.

 For many years, I beat myself over 
the head because I did not understand 
old fogeyitis syndrome. Years ago, I 
learned to accept it; whether others 
accept it or not is not my problem. It was 
a wonderful day when I realized I could 
have a lot of other things much worse 
than old-fogeyitis.

 Just this week I saw an article and a 
picture of supposedly the ugliest woman 
in the world. As I looked at her picture, 
it reminded me of one of my old aunts. I 
know I’m not the “prettiest” face in town 
but I wasn’t born this way. My face is 
the result of the stress through the years 
from the old-fogeyitis syndrome.

 One of the amazing traits of this 
syndrome is the marvelous selective 
memory. My memory is so good I can 
remember things that never happened. 
Some people look at me when I recall 
one of these pseudo-memories as if I was 
senile. Oh no. It is not senility it is old-

 I really did not know how bad it 
was until this past week. My oldest 
granddaughter was playing softball and 
invited me to come and watch her first 
game. She made me one of those “offers 
that I couldn’t refuse.” It has been a 
longtime since I seen a slow pitch softball 
game, much less played in one.

 I remembered those glorious days 
of yesteryear when I played slow pitch 
softball. According to my memory, I 
was the star pitcher on my team. What 
memories they were. Since they are my 
memories, I feel I have the right to make 
them what I want them to be.

 The Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage, our youngest daughter and 
her daughter joined me as we watched 
my granddaughter’s first game.

 We brought our own chairs so we were 
able to set up our seating arrangements 
where we could watch our granddaughter 
play this first game. I am not prejudiced, 
but from where we were sitting, she was 
the star player on her team. I am not 
sure how her team could ever get along 
without her.

 It is my humble opinion that greatness 
like this is inherited. You do not learn 
that kind of thing on your own, it is 
something that is passed down to you 
through your genes. I must have passed 
it on to her because I do not have it 

 It was then that I saw it, which kicked 
in the old-fogeyitis syndrome. What 
I saw shocked me and it takes a lot to 
shock me.

 Up to this point, I was primarily 
focused on my granddaughter and her 
pristine playing on the field, so I did not 
see right away what I eventually saw. 
It happened when my granddaughter 
stepped up to bat for the first time. After 
that, the whole game went blank for me.

 Behind my lovely granddaughter was 
the catcher all dressed in the catcher’s 
outfit. That did not startle me. Behind 
the catcher was the umpire, or so he 
was pretending to be, and that is what 
startled me.

 It was a girl’s slow pitch softball team 
and every one of them was dressed in 
their softball player’s outfit. I believe in 
dressing for the occasion. The occasion 
was a softball game and those involved 
in the softball game were wearing attire 
consistent with the game at hand.

 Then I saw the umpire. And the umpire 
was wearing shorts! Shorts!

 It is not that I object to a man wearing 
shorts as long as he does not wear them 
out in public. The last time I wore shorts 
I was three years old and it was only 
because my mother made me wear them. 
When I had control of my wardrobe, I 
put away those shorts and began wearing 
pants like a man.

 I think if the good Lord wanted us 
to wear shorts, in public that is, He 
would have made our legs more visually 
appealing. A man’s legs are not appealing, 
unless they have been in the sun too long 
and the skin begins to peel.

 A man, especially an old man, has 
knobby knees, hairy legs and varicose 
veins, none of which should be part of 
public domain. This is not something I 
want to see when I am out in public.

 I can dutifully attest to the fact that my 
legs have not seen direct sunlight in over 
50 years. I attribute this to the fact that 
I wear pants every day of my life. Not 
short pants, but pants that go all the way 
down to my ankles. Short pants look like 
you cannot afford to buy the whole thing.

 For some reason I could not watch the 
game with the same enthusiasm.

 When I got home that night, I settled 
down a little bit and thought of a verse of 
Scripture, something Jesus said. “Judge 
not according to the appearance, but 
judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24 

 In spite of my severe old-fogeyitis 
condition, I must remember not to judge 
people according to their appearance. It 
is not what a man looks like but rather, 
what he does that makes him the man 
that he is.

 Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the 
Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, 
Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, 
Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. 

Mountain Views News

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