Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, October 9, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 13

Mountain Views News Saturday, October 9, 2021 OPINION 13 
Mountain Views News Saturday, October 9, 2021 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 



Stuart Tolchin 
Dinah Chong WatkinsAudrey SwansonMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Bob Eklund 
Howard HaysPaul CarpenterKim Clymer-KelleyChristopher NyergesPeter Dills 
Rich Johnson 
Lori Ann Harris 
Rev. James SnyderKatie HopkinsDeanne Davis 
Despina ArouzmanJeff Brown 
Marc Garlett 
Keely TotenDan Golden 
Rebecca WrightHail Hamilton 
Joan Schmidt 

Mountain Views News 
has been adjudicated asa newspaper of GeneralCirculation for the County 
of Los Angeles in CourtCase number GS004724: 
for the City of SierraMadre; in Court CaseGS005940 and for the 
City of Monrovia in CourtCase No. GS006989 and 
is published every Saturday 
at 80 W. Sierra MadreBlvd., No. 327, Sierra 
Madre, California, 91024.
All contents are copyrighted 
and may not bereproduced without the 
express written consent ofthe publisher. All rights 
reserved. All submissions 
to this newspaper becomethe property of the Mountain 
Views News and maybe published in part or 
Opinions and views expressed 
by the writersprinted in this paper donot necessarily expressthe views and opinionsof the publisher or staff 
of the Mountain Views 

Mountain Views News is 
wholly owned by GraceLorraine Publications,
and reserves the right torefuse publication of advertisements 
and other 
materials submitted for 

Letters to the editor and 
correspondence should 
be sent to: 

Mountain Views News 
80 W. Sierra Madre Bl. 
Sierra Madre, Ca.

Phone: 626-355-2737 

Fax: 626-609-3285 


A member of 

Mountain Views News 

Mission Statement 

The traditions of 

community news

papers and the 

concerns of our readers 

are this newspaper’s 
top priorities. We 
support a prosperous

community of well-
informed citizens. We 

hold in high regard the 

values of the exceptional

quality of life in our 

community, includingthe magnificence of 
our natural resources. 

Integrity will be our guide. 




 I have had a tough week. Since last Saturday, it seems 
like I’ve done nothing but complain. It is true that I have 

been suffering from a toothache 
and haven’t been able 

to eat or sleep much. On Saturday night I struggled toproduce tickets on my cell phone that allows admission 
to the UCLA game. These displays have a name but I am 

unaware of it and don’t really want to learn. Whatever 

happened to good old paper tickets? Yes, I know the 
answer is that money is saved by avoiding mailing

costs but for old folks, like me, it’s stressful; so is having to produce my handicapped 
placard and DMVaccompanyingidentification proving my entitlement to handicapped 
preference. (How lucky I must be.) Because of my friend’s willingness to transport us 
both I always agree to pay the parking fee but thirty dollars still seems an exorbitant 
amount—doesn’t it? Life can seem hard. 

Finally, on Tuesday I went to the dentist and had my tooth pulled and was in 
considerable discomfort as I watched the Yankee/Red Sox one game playoff in the 
American League. (If you don’t know one Baseball League from another and don’t 
care much about College Football and are already bored I want you to know that I 
am not intending here to write about Sports but am trying to focus on the internal 
experience of going from one extreme feeling to another. Just stay with me). Anyway, 
as I watched the Yankee game it really got on my nerves that the Yankees were able to 
purchase or rent these already star players just because the Yankee ownership had huge 
resources. It all seemed unfair and I was glad the Yankees lost.

As the one game playoff time approached I was already mad about the whole 
system. A 
one game playoff after a 162 game season just for the right to remain in 
the playoff competition. Ridiculous! I started to hate the Dodgers for being another 
rich team purchasing free-agents who would be gone after the season. Max Scherzer, 
the best pitcher in baseball and Trea Turner, the fastest runner in baseball who lead 
the National League in batting and stolen bases. Also Albert Pujols the alreadyacclaimed home- run hero who the Angels let go and the Dodgers picked up at mid-
season. Who are these interlopers? I wanted Dodgers who stayed around for years 
like Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, none of whom 
ever played for any other Major League team. I want Vin Scully calling the games 
and Tommy Lasorda managing and bleeding Dodger Blue. Where are Garvey, Cey, 
Russell, and Lopes, the “longest running infield” in history. I care about the Dodgers 
but sometimes it’s easy to forget about the good times.

In 1959, when my Dad could still almost see, we went to an Exhibition game at 
the Coliseum, before the Dodgers ever played a regular season game in Los Angeles. 
There were 93,103 fans at this exhibition game held as a tribute to Roy Campanella 
and as a welcoming to the Dodgers. Being with my Dad, as the lights were turned off(yes my column 
is called Turn on the Lights) and matches and cigarette lighters were 
lit and wondering about my Dad’s vision and our future—this is all a part of my own 
sacred past. Well, as you probably know already, last Wednesday night the Dodgers 
in a game with almost no action were tied one to one in the ninth inning. The greatSherzer had been taken out against his wishes. With the bases loaded earlier in the 
game the speedy Trea Turner had hit into a double play. In the bottom of the ninth 
inning, as part of a script meant for Hollywood, the aged hero Pujols pinch-hitting hit 
the ball hard but it was caught in centerfield. Next came another out in centerfield 
and then up came Chris Taylor, an unheralded slumping former utility infielder who 
entered the game as an outfield fielding replacement earlier in the game. As a batter 
he was slumping 
terribly but already has made a miraculous catch in left field. Uphe came—two outs in the ninth and BAM—home run—ending a game that will be 
remembered by me and by all those who care for the rest of our lives.

Hooray for the Dodgers, and for baseball, and for me for allowing ourselves 
distraction enough in these confusingly desperate times to forget everything else and 
realize how much we enjoy our lives. GO DODGER BLUE and all the other colors 
and all the remembered good times. I watched the whole game 
with my wife which 
made it even better. 



Do the following four words characterize much of 

the verbal interaction between you and your parents 

in your early 
years? “If…Then,” and “Why?

I, like most reading this column, was flogged,
metaphorically, by my parents with if and then. If you do that, then this 
will happen. And if you don’t do that, then this will happen. The whyand because was a bit different and shorter. The why uttered by me atthe beginning of a string of words typically comprised an objection.
The subsequent because uttered at lightning speed by my mother, was 
typically a one word answer with no further elaboration other than the 
occasional “…I said so. 

The word “if” is often used in aphorisms. Aphorism: “a terse sayingembodying a general truth, or astute observation.” Let’s take a look at 
several aphorisms. First out, some uttered, or at least attributed to famous 

“If it tastes good, it’s bad for you.” Isaac Asimov 
“If the phone doesn’t ring, it’s me.” Jimmy Buffet 
“If you can’t convince ‘em, confuse ‘em.” Harry Truman 
“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.” Jonathan Winters 
“If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.” Ted Williams 
“If your wife wants to learn how to drive, don’t stand in her way.” 

Sam Levenson 

“If you don’t say anything, you won’t be called upon to repeat it.” 

Calvin Coolidge 

“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you’ll be fired with enthusiasm.” 

Vince Lombardi 

“If you want to get rid of somebody, tell him something for his own 
good.” Kin Hubbard 

Then there are some anonymous aphorisms that bear repeating: 

“If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.” 
“If at first you don’t succeed, try reading the instructions.” 
“If at first you DO succeed, try not to look so astonished.” 
“If a cow laughs, would milk come out of her nose?” 
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” 

Finally, there is the sad word combination “if only”. It has two applications. 
Neither good. First, the regret experienced living with the consequences 
of a really dumb action (we’ve all done ‘em). “If only I hadn’t said or 
done that!” 

The first aforementioned use of “if only” pales in comparison to the 
devastating “if only” attached to a missed opportunity, motivated solely 
by fear of rejection or risk of failure. Not asking that special someone out 

on a date, or not taking the scary steps necessary to start that business you 

always wanted to build are two common examples of “if only” tragedies. 

Success requires risk. It is no more evidenced than by this list of people: 
Walt Disney, Thomas Jefferson, Cyndi Lauper, Abraham Lincoln, Mark 
Twain, Henry Ford, J.C. Penney, Elton John. 

Those mega-successful people all filed bankruptcy at one time or another. 
They took risks, failed but kept going and found success. 

Take a risk. (I did writing this column, lol)! 




Fla. — The Lyft

driver pulled up 

to the curb at 

International Airport early in the 
afternoon on a late September day. I’d 
only been standing there for a couple of 
minutes, and my shirt already clung to 
me in the Florida heat. I threw my bags 
in ahead of me, and piled into the backseat, 
where I was hit by an arctic blast of 
air conditioning. 

“What brings you here?” Will, my driver, 
asked. He was a wiry, well-tanned 
man, probably somewhere in his 70s. 
And like every ride-share driver, he 
was chatty. Really chatty. But after nine 
hours of travel that had started at 4 a.m. 
that morning, several hours of masked 
confinement on a pair of flights, and 
one seemingly interminable layover, I 
didn’t really mind. 

I was down there to visit my mother, 
who’s lived alone in Sarasota for the 
past decade since my father died. It 
was my visit since before the start of 
the pandemic. You always figure there’s 
going to be plenty of time, until there 
isn’t. It was a trip that was equal parts 
vacation, long overdue catch-up, and a 
tag-up with the roots I never knew I’d 
planted in southwestern Florida. 

The reunion was all that you might 
have expected it to be. Hugs. Laughter. 
Some tears. And because I’m Italian on 
my mother’s side — don’t let the Slavic 
surname fool you, I consider myself 
more Italian than anything else — 
plenty of food, and no small amount of 
wine. Now well into her 80s, my mom’s 
as sharp as ever. And she can still talk 
the legs off of a donkey. I’m not sure 
which one of us finally called time. But 
I’m almost certain it was me. 

Conversations with people into their 
ninth decade are, necessarily, more 
retrospective than they are prospective. 
Yes, she asked about work. Yes, she 
asked about my wife and daughter. But 
we talked more about our shared topography: 
parenthood, her childhood 
and young adulthood, my childhood 
and young adulthood. Much of it was 
gauzy and nostalgic. But behind it all, 
there was the sense that there was a 
clock ticking, inexorably. 

In the afternoons, with the Florida skies 
threatening, and often delivering, on 
rain before breaking into a lemonade 
yellow sun that inflicted a sunburn that 
slowly mellowed to a tan, I took long 
drives around Sarasota. 

There were a new pair of traffic circles 

along Main Street, a surviving piece of 
Old Florida, dotted with restaurants, 
boutiques and book stores. More than 
a few were new since my last trip. 
Some storefronts were dark and empty, 
victims of the pandemic-mandated 
shutdowns last year. But even at 2 p.m. 
on a weekday, the street hummed with 
life. I pulled into a parking space and 
paid at a kiosk — also new — and left 
a couple hours with some books under 
my arm. 

The day before I left, I drove out of 
downtown, across the John Ringling 
Causeway, which stretches over a 
sparkling expanse of Sarasota Bay, and 
into St. Armands Key, a plush neighborhood 
of wildly expensive shops, 
restaurants of varying degrees of affordability, 
and implausibly large homes. 

St. Armands was the first neighborhood 
I visited with my Dad when he 
and my mom moved down from Connecticut. 
It was my first Christmas with 
palm trees. We swam in the Gulf, and 
had lunch and beers at a now-shuttered 
local bar. An hour later, I was planted 
at the bar at one restaurant where we’d 
always had Cuban sandwiches. The memories 
came fast and furious. The years 
were blur. The sandwiches were every 
bit as good as I remembered. 

Before I left, I walked up to the beach 
one more time. I left my sneakers 
on the sand and ventured out into the 
bathtub warm waters of the Gulf, the 
waves churned up by the recent heavy 
weather, slapped at the bottom of my 
shorts. This tag up with family, and the 
reminder of my ties to this very strange 
state, reminded me that, if there has 
been one good to come from the pandemic, 
it’s that it’s reinforced the importance 
of not wasting a moment, of 
maximizing every second with the people 
you love, because you don’t know 
how long you’re going to have them. 

I walked deeper into the surf. The ocean 
water soaking me now. I didn’t care. 

“What brings you here?” Will, the Lyft 
driver, had asked me six days earlier. It’s 
the pressing question we’re all called to 

Standing in the Gulf, the sun warm on 
my back, wrapped in memories and family. 
I had all the answer I needed. 

Don’t let the moments go. 

An award-winning political journalist, 
John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The 
Pennsylvania Capital-Star in Harrisburg, 
Pa. Email him at jmicek@penncapital- and follow him on 
Twitter @ByJohnLMicek.