Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, November 19, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 15

Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 19, 2022 OPINIONOPINION 15 
Mountain Views-News Saturday, November 19, 2022 OPINIONOPINION 15 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola 


Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMeghan MalooleyMary 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 
LaQuetta Shamblee 

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Last weekend my wife and I visited the Monrovia Historical 
Museum which contained an exhibit displaying Indian artifacts 
discovered in this area. Thirty years ago, at the time myhouse was being built I personally discovered an arrowhead that 
was unearthed. I was just observing but I grabbed the artifact 
which I now hold in my hand. I have always wanted to do some 
research about the people who for thousands of years lived right 
here on my hilltop with its view of the mountains and the ocean. 
You know on a clear day I can see the ocean from my deck. A 
few hundred years ago there must have been many more clear 

 We entered the museum and a notice entitled “INSTRUCTIONS 
TO ALL PERSONS OF JAPANESE ANCESTRY” immediately caught my attention. 
The text of the Notice was in such small writing that it was impossible to read. I knew the 
substance of the Notice having read the Korematsu v United States while still in Law School. 
Up until then I was completely unaware that the Supreme Court had upheld the expulsion of 
Japanese Americans from their own homes during World War II.

This decision written by the great free speech advocate Justice Hugo Black is often cited as 
one of the worst Supreme Court decisions of all time. In retrospect I knew I had to do something 
to justify staying in Law School. I did not want to be part of the problem. I began doing 
volunteer work with the Lawyer’s Guild, private lawyers who represented antiwar protesters,
draft resistors, Black Panthers, and assorted others. I don’t remember much of what I did but 
I was there every night. Along the way I learned enough to avoid the draft myself and how to 
construct a Legal Practice which I found fulling and satisfying for 52 years.

 At the Monrovia Museum I was similarly absorbed by a need to do something positive. I 
was not happy as I moved on to look at the display of artifacts and, suddenly, there it was! An 
arrowhead almost exactly like the one I found thirty years ago. This may have been a trans-
formative message telling me to begin my much delayed research. 

Yesterday morning I tracked down our copy of Michele Zak’s book subtitled “Seekinga Better Life in Sierra Madre” and learned that after the Spaniards arrived and had alreadybegun to construct Mission San Gabriel in 1771 that a confrontation with the local Tongva 
Indians was threatened. In a biography of Father Serra the rape of two Tongva women bySpanish soldiers is described. The Tongvas in the area were so angered that they organized an 
attack upon the still unconstructed mission. As the Indian warriors approached, the Spanish 
Priests unfurled a painting of the Virgin now known as the “The Lady of Sorrows”. According 
to the detailed story the Tongvas were so overwhelmed by the emotion expressed in the 
painting that “they threw down their bows and arrows and two Indian chiefs rushed to place 
at the feet of the pictured woman the beads they wore around their necks to show their great 
esteem.” Wow, what a healing. That is what I yearn for; an inner healing that will calm people 
down and allow them to cooperate with one another. (Actually it did not work out so well for 
the Tongvas but you can’t have everything.)

I continued reading and learned that the picture still existed and hung at the left side of 
the entrance to the San Gabriel Mission. Although I have lived here in Sierra Madre for over 
forty years I have never been to the mission. Off I went to find the Mission and hoping to 
experience the painting and its revealed depth of emotion that had brought about the kind 
of healing that I want for myself and the world. Even a rare attack of gout did not stop me. 
Eventually, after much limping, I found my way to the Mission but could find no pictures. I 
was directed to the Mission Director’s office and was able to explain to the Director what I 
was looking for and why it was such a consuming need. She laughed and asked if I had not 
heard about the fire. At my age I forget a lot which is embarrassing so I pretended I knew the 
story which I did not. She explained that there had been a fire, perhaps caused by an arsonist 
and that many paintings had been destroyed. She also said that perhaps there had not been 
significant damage and maybe the painting, or one like it, might soon be returned to mission. 
Again she laughed and told me that the whole story about the effect of the painting was probably 
just a legend or a myth. She saw the defeated look on my face and said “well you never 
know. Maybe it all depends on what you believe or want to believe.”

 I hope she’s right because I definitely want to believe that our planet, species, and overall 
peace, rationality, and security can be maintained. What will it take? Frankly I feel better already 
just by participating in my quest. Already my foot feels better and tonight I will be able 
to accompany my wife to the moonlit light show at the Arboretum for which she had already 
purchased tickets. Who knows where our quests will lead? You know, maybe that legendaryfirst Thanksgiving never really happened but, nevertheless, enjoy your Holiday Turkey with 
the family. Perhaps sometimes it’s best to believe in make believe. 




When the Pilgrims served the first turkey at Thanksgiving, 
it was a wild thing. With their long, skinny legs - wild 
turkeys can outrun a human and fly. For our modern consumer 
whose hunting skills are limited to flipping through 
shopping apps with their dexterous thumbs, today’s turkeys 
are bred to be plump and lethargic with their short 
cannonball-sized drumsticks. They’ve topped Foodies 

Choice “must-eat” list at Disney parks and Medieval Times jousts. Even now, the 
triumphant entrance of the holiday bird heralds the most vivid memories of myThanksgiving pasts. 

My DNA Thanksgiving. My in-laws are good, God-fearing, decent Midwestern 
folk. Look at any issue of a L.L. Bean catalog and their handsome likenesses can be 
found there. My extended family however, the ones whom I spent many a childhood 
Thanksgiving with, are Masters of the Slide-Rulers, nerds whose in-depth 
knowledge of the Marvel Universe goes beyond any fan-boy's infinity. 

We could though, roast a great turkey. My auntie’s turkey always came out succulent 
and moist. As soon as the carved meat dropped on the table, there was a 
clash of forks, arms akimbo, three generations all angling for the dark meat. Slower 
minds and the ones sitting at the kiddie’s table had to be content with the leftover 
white meat, languishing in a lonely pile of sage scented solitude. 

But I learned to appreciate the boring family conversations, the same stories retold 
time and time again. Tucking into the rice stuffing, potatoes, and the turkey thigh 
I scored with its sleep-inducing tryptophan, I gently waited for the one-way ticket 
to sweet, sweet Slumber Town. Years later, on the nights when the wretched brain 
twits of insomnia tormented me, I longed for those Thanksgiving snoozefests. 

The Whole Kit-and-Kaboodle Thanksgiving. Living abroad, it’s a rarity to find 
familiar food products. To my surprise, in the Beijing Friendship Store, the only 
supermarket in a city of 16 million, run by the State, open only to foreign passport 
holders, carried frozen turkeys that November. I dipped my hand in the freezer 
and grabbed a loose bag filled with brown ice chunks adhered to a bony carcass. 
Inside the thick, unmarked polyester bag, the manager insisted it was a turkey. As 
the US, China and USSR circled each other in the midst of the Cold War, could this 
be a devious plot against home-sick Americans I wondered? 

Once defrosted, lay indeed, a turkey. It was a tree hugger's bird, au natural, a Whole 
Foods horror - semi-plucked, with attached head, feet, entrails and even a bonus 
booty of half-formed eggs hanging in there. 

This was no Butterball with its delicate innards politely wrapped, ready for the gravy 
pot. Summoning up my own bit of pluck, I man-handled the long-legged, lean 
fowl, and tugged at the squishy, bloody innards. A few hours later in a make-shift 
oven, we sat down to the stringiest, bone-dry turkey this side of the Red Curtain, 
and the tryptophan was glorious. 

The Bandit Thanksgiving. As with every dinner, the true reason I host is to put 
my guests through awkward bouts of charades, trivia or hot sauce eating contests 
washed down with drafts of beer with a slight hint of gym socks. Machismo is a 
great motivator by the way. That evening the 24 pound turkey was perfect, the 
sweet potato pie on point, the green bean casserole - absent as always. The buffet 
was magnificent, ready for its Food Network close-up. 

We all gathered in the living room to say grace. As we closed our eyes and gave 
thanks, a deafening clatter came from the kitchen. I ran towards the commotion, 
only to see my year old Chow Chow pull the turkey platter to the ground and 
chowed down on it, like the breed it was. 

“Not the dark meat!” I cried out. 

Epilogue: Only the dog slept that night. 

Okay, now onto real important 
stuff. Who knows what a palindrome 

A palindrome is a word, phrase, or sentence whose letters read 
the same backwards or forwards. 

Bob backwards is Bob. Mom backwards is Mom. So is the Race-
car. It gets better. Noon, kayak, rotator. Even more than one 
word like taco cat and don’t nod. The title of this column is a 
palindrome “Do Geese See God?” 

Why do I mention palindromes you ask? Well, many of you will 
be seeing relatives this Thanksgiving. And if I have a mission 
in life it is to equip myself and you with the ability to impress 
friends and relatives with our cleverness. So, while friends and 
relatives are sitting on the sofa groaning after too much turkey 
and stuffing, you can amaze and delight them with your wit. 

If someone walks up to you and asked for an example of a palindrome 
you will be ready? 

Lets start with an easy one: “Was it a cat I saw.” “Never odd or 
even.” That wasn’t so hard. Palindromes can also help with the 
various phases of life. Then there are those that offer a geography 
lesson: “A man, a plan, a canal: Panama.” If you are lookingfor a meal you can always offer: “A nut for a jar of tuna.” Or, “Go 
hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog.” 

Palindromes have been with us since Bible Times. The first one 
was, in fact, spoken in the Garden of Eden. Adam, upon seeingEve for the first time uttered, “Madam, in Eden I’m Adam.” Of 
course, there are ethical palindromes: “Borrow or rob” is a perfect 
example. And even an encouragement to go to the polls on 
election day: “Rise to vote sir”. 

One palindrome near to my heart uses my middle name: “Sit on 
a potato pan, Otis.” 

If this palindrome “A car, a man, a maraca.” bothers you, you 
may be afflicted with Aibohphobia which means an “irrational 
fear of palindromes”. 

By the way, aibohphobia is, in itself, a palindrome. HappyThanksgiving! 

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