Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, May 26, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:8



Mountain Views-News Saturday, May 26, 2018 

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills



My dearly departed pappy Elmer Dills would tell me, don‘t argue 
sex, politics and or religion, I must add tipping to the list. I have 
used this topic many times on my radio show, Dining with Dills on 
AM 830 KLAA Radio to get the phones buzzing. 

 There is a new law on the books, actually an old law that is now 
being enforced. Since January 1, the IRS will classify automatic 
gratuities as service charges that are taxable as regular wages and 
subject to payroll tax withholding. That might sound like a bunch 
of tax law mumbo jumbo, but what it means is that restaurants 
have to treat those tips like regular wages.

 Typically, the IRS left it up to the waiter or tipped employees 
to declare that money. But with this new change the waiter won’t 
see those “tips” until payday—instead of the end of the shift. And 
restaurants will have to withhold federal income, Social Security 
and Medicare taxes on that money, too.

 What it means for the diner is that those automatic 18% gratuity 
charges on tables of 6 or more may well be a thing of the past. The 
addition has been added onto large parties to ensure that servers are paid for catering to a large group.

 That doesn’t mean you should use this an excuse to start stiffing people. 

 The new rule actually went into effect in June of 2012, however the IRS postponed enforcement until 
recently to give restaurateurs enough time to adjust and properly comply.

While it might seem great to have some freedom as a customer, the service industry isn’t so excited 
about the idea.

 Tips… To insure proper service. Here is my rundown and no it hasn’t changed in twenty years of 
reviewing restaurants.

 Anyone in any country that provides a service should be rewarded.

10% buffet plus $2 directly to busboy that brought you water and had to clean up after the kids through 
Jell-O on the ground.

 $1 for each drink at the bar

 $2 for a to go order, as long as they got it right

 12% fair service, means they brought you the food and came back with your check

 15% Good service brought you your food and drinks and refilled drinks and asked how was it

 18% Very Good service all of the above plus asked you if your meal was prepared to your liking 

 20-25% All of the above, brought items in proper order, waited for you to ask for check, asked if there 
is a validation needed and please ask for me next time.

 One more note… I subtract 5% when the server blames the kitchen for a mistake, got it !!

 This a fun conversation please listen in AM 830 KLAA on Sunday at 5 PM and join me and the crew 
at Paco’s Mexican Restaurant on June 3rd for an after the races mixer, open to all.



A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder



Altadena’s most eclectic coupleChristopher Nyerges


[Nyerges is a naturalist and 
outdoor educator. He is the 
author of “Extreme Simplicity,” 
“Self-Sufficient Home,” “Foraging California,” and other 
books. He can be reached at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.

 It was just one of those days. I had a few hours before 
my next appointment, and I was driving towards the 
direction of home and there was the cemetery where 
my parents had been buried. I hadn’t said “hello” for 
some months, so I pulled in and began looking for the 
spot. Right away things looked a little different. A road 
had actually been removed and it was the road that 
took me right to their tombstone. So I had to drive a 
little further away, as I was a bit disconcerted. And a 
movie was being made with the various lights and 
crew, a distraction from my inner communion with 
my parents.Still, after some guesswork and wandering, 
I found the tombstone and kneeled before them to chat 
a bit. 

 As usual, I just shared some news and thoughts 
that were swirling in my mind. My mother seemed to 
respond first, as if she was more alert. Conversation 
ensued. My father slowly awoke, and passively joined 
the conversation. Was this all in my mind? Who cares? 
It was real enough to me, to be there with my memories 
of them, to feel their presence, to listen to what I think 
they would have said.I sprinkled some sage on their 
stones, and then I walked back erratically to my car, 
always amazed at the diversity of tombstones and 
messages over such a long period of time. I understood 
the solitude, and the sacredness, of the cemetery, this 
place of timelessness where the dead and the living 
meet. Regardless of whatever hurly-burley is happening 
in my life, in the cemetery I realize that the physical life 
has its limits, and will one day end. THE ZORTHIAN 

 Nearly to my car, I happened upon the tombstone 
of two old friends, Dabney and Jirayr Zorthian. I 
knew Dabney much better, for she often attended my 
field trips and we would have long conversations after 
Jirayr died. I knew Jirayr most through his reputation, 
and from our many phone conversations. Why had I 
happened upon their grave this day?For those of you 
unfamiliar with the Zorthian family, Mr. Zorthian had 
long been considered the most famous eccentric artist 
of Altadena, and the parties held at their sprawling 
foothill property were legendary. Everyone has a story 
about the Zorthians.The “last words” engraved next to 
Dabney’s name were “I want to know.” What a perfect 
thing to express! I want to know. She didn’t state that 
she wanted to know a specific this or that, just that she 
wanted to Know! The quest for knowledge, and the 
drive to do more and try more, was such a signature of 
Dabney’s. In our conversations, she often asked many 
questions, always listened sincerely, truly trying to 
learn and to know. Our conversations seemed like true 
communing, unlike so many of today’s conversations 
where one party is not listening and is just waiting for 
the talker to stop so they can say what they are waiting to 
say.Jirayr’s tombstone said “Make my heart my mind.” 

 Beautiful! I took that to mean that Jirayr’s quest was to 
think with feeling in all that he does. Even though most 
of my interactions were somewhat commercial and 
mundane, I found him to be a creative thinker, thinking 
outside of the box and finding creative solutions to 
problems. His tombstone carried a second phrase also: 
“Give me a pleasureful life.” Indeed! Jirayr didn’t wait for 
someone to give him such a life, but he pursued pleasure 
in his art and parties and interactions with other. I don’t 
believe that he experienced any shortage of pleasures.
Though I doubt anyone would ever inscribe a phrase 
about pleasure on my tombstone, the fact is that I’m not 
Jirayr, and it did seem appropriate for him. As I stared at 
the phrase, it made me think of all the pros and cons of 
pursuing pleasure, the excesses of pleasure, but also the 
simple pleasures of life which money cannot buy.As I 
sprinkled some sage on their tombstone, I felt blessed to 
have had some interaction with one of Altadena’s most 
unique and eclectic couples. And I could not help but 
feel the shortness of life, that one should never wait in 
the pursuit of knowledge, that one should pursue new 
knowledge with every breath, and that one should also 
do so by allowing the heart to be the mind. In death, 
Dabney and Jirayr imparted their final lessons to me, 
and it made me again acknowledge that they indeed had 
a most wonderful life.

When it comes to forgetting anything, I am king of the 
hill. My forgetting has nothing to do with age because I 
have been forgetting as long as I can remember.

 Of course, with age comes an excuse for forgetting 
something. Don’t let anybody know this, but sometimes 
I use my age to say I forgot something which in reality 
I had not forgotten. Sometimes forgetting something is 
the best expression of valor.

 I can’t remember all the things I have forgotten, 
however, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage 
remembers everything, even things I did not forget. 
Her memory is impeccable and I just have to live with 

 Often she will start a conversation with, “Do you 

 Being married as long as I have, I always go with the 
affirmative nod, which I never forget to do.

 When I was a young husband, I remember very 
distinctly correcting her about what I remembered 
about an incident she was talking about. I have 
remembered never to make that mistake again.

 I am forgetting everything these days. It may be 
my keys. I get to the church office, check my pocket 
and realize I forgot my keys. Then I have to get on my 
cell phone (when I don’t forget that) and call my wife 
explaining that I forgot my keys.

Once we went for supper with some friends, I was to 
pick up the tab, and when the tab came, I had forgotten 
to bring my wallet. I am definitely not going to do that 

 Once I went on a trip and forgot where I was 
going. Fortunately, I had the Gracious Mistress of 
the Parsonage with me who is an expert in telling me 
where to go.

 I can’t tell you how many lectures she has given to 
Yours Truly in this area of forgetting. I think she should 
win some kind of a prize or a doctorate in this area. 
Maybe I should begin calling her, Dr. Never Forget.

 I could not remember all of the things that I have 
forgotten. I could ask my wife, but that would take a 
day and a half for her to get them all on the table.

 Our relationship is defined this way; I forget 
everything and she remembers everything. It can be 
good, but also it can have a negative impact upon a 
person’s life, like mine.

 I just thought I would have to live out the rest of my 
life under this cloud of forgetfulness.

 Then the most incredible thing happened, something 
that has changed the rest of my life.

My wife left early to go to the office and I was about a 
half-hour getting ready to go and when I went to the 
door, I noticed on the table was a key ring with a bunch 
of keys on it. At first, I thought it must be my wife’s and 
maybe I should pick it up and take it with me.

 I realized one very important thing though. My 
wife never forgets anything. If I pick up these keys 
and take it to her, I am in more trouble than I could 
really handle at this stage of life. After all, if her keys 
are on the dining room table there is a pretty good 
purpose behind the whole thing. For me to sabotage 
that purpose would get me in a great deal of trouble, I 
can assure you.

 I went out the door, got in my vehicle and started 
on my way to the office. As I was backing out of the 
driveway, my cell phone rang. I noticed it was my wife. 
I thought I was in trouble. What could I have done now 
or what didn’t I do that I should have done?

 When I answered the phone, I heard a meek voice 
say, “Did you see any keys on the dining room table?” 
I answered in the affirmative not really understanding 
the situation.

 “Could you,” she said most sweetly, “bring them 
over? I forgot them.”

 There was a dramatic pause on my side of the cell 
phone. It took a few moments for the situation to sink 

 As I went back into the house, I was chuckling all the 
way in and picked up the delinquent keys.

When I got to the office, I handed them to her with 
the biggest smile I’ve ever had on my face that I can 
remember. She looked at me and then said rather 
softly, “You’re not laughing are you?”

 I recognize I will forget a great deal of things in life. 
But this incident, I will never forget and it will always 
strike a chuckle cord in my heart.

 Every once in a while, when nothing is going on, I 
will look at my wife and say, “Do you remember the 

Glancing away from me she will say, “Don’t you think 
it’s time to forget that?”

Never in a million years!

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but 
this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are 
behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are 
before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high 
calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Some things are worth forgetting as the apostle Paul 
points out here. The key to a happy life is knowing what 
to forget and what to remember.

 The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He 
lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call 
him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail 
The church web site is

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