Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, December 31, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 13

Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 31, 2022 OPINIONOPINION 13 
Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 31, 2022 OPINIONOPINION 13 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola 


Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMeghan MalooleyMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Dinah Chong WatkinsHoward 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 

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 the 

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 


quality of life in our 

community, includingthe magnificence of 
our natural resources. 

Integrity will be our guide. 



I have a friend, a bit younger than me, but still old, who 
has a standard reply to the common question of “How are you?”. 
How do you like this first sentence which concludes with three 
punctuation marks and conveys almost no information? Probablyit is punctuated incorrectly buy I don’t know what to do about it 
and that seems to be an overall statement of my present state of 
being. Going back now to that first question of “how are you?” his 
standard answer is “better today than I was yesterday but worse 
than I probably will be tomorrow”. Much as I do not want to, Ihave to agree. It feels like I am going downhill and the bottom of 

the hill seems ever closer. 

Let’s not get too morbid. Is it possible to reverse my field and go back up the hill or at 
least stop myself from going further downhill? An accurate but unpleasant description of my 
present self is to say that I am kind of “feckless”. Are you familiar with the word? It is not a 
pleasant one; but I searched around and it seems pretty accurate, “Feckless” according to the 
Oxford Language dictionary is similar to useless or worthless. Other attached possibilities 
include lacking initiative or strength of character. I do not want these descriptions to apply 
to me but I feel much like my three year old granddaughter who, when confronted with her 
most recent misdeed, will say “I want to be a better person” but is aware that something else 
keeps getting in the way. 

As is fairly usual in my articles I mention some action by my granddaughter as a 
reference. Indeed, this is probably part of my problem. I am a fairly healthy retired person 
but limited in my interactions with others and unable to replace the pleasures involved with 
the social interactions and obligations of being a criminal defense lawyer. Younger attorneys 
have offered to find a place for me within their offices but, after discussions with my wife,
I agree this is not a very good solution. Just driving around the neighborhood has become 
challenging and frequently, or at least not infrequently, I feel myself angered by simple interactions 
that I usually could ignore. 

A glaring example of that behavior occurred the other day when I bravely went out 
into the world to purchase a new pair of pants. In order to make things easier to avoid receiving 
a pocketful of change resulting from a forty six dollar and four cent purchase I attempted 
to give the woman at the counter a fifty dollar bill, a one dollar bill, and a nickel. I expected 
to receive a convenient five dollar bill and a penny as change. Simple right? Instead the 
woman explained that at the present time she had no access to a computer and I would have 
to accept three dollars and ninety-six cents in change which she laboriously began to count 
out. I couldn’t take it and walked out of the store very upset. 

I returned home and told my wife the story and she was not very sympathetic. Could 
I not go and make a simple purchase without her? Oh, by the way, earlier the previous dayI had misplaced my credit card. We returned to the store the next day and using my wife’s 
credit card purchase the pants. Actually not; we purchased a different pair that were a better 

Do you now get the picture? I am unwillingly feckless. I want to be a better more active, 
productive person but like my much-described granddaughter something keeps gettingin the way. This afternoon I tried to take action by going to the used bookstore and buying 
ex-President Carter’s book “THE VIRTUES of AGING”, Large Print Edition’ in the hope that 
my problematic eyesight would allow me to focus on the book. Alright, so I have read only 
a small beginning which starts with a description of ex-President Carter’s “acute despair” 
after he was defeated in 1980 for re-election, He wrote how it was not easy to forget the past, 
overcome his fear of the future, and actually focus on the present. He fretted that he did not 
even have an advanced degree to fall back on. What could he actually do now? Well that’s 
about all I read so far but already I feel better. I know that President Carter has generallybeen acclaimed as America’s most effective ex-President. But that’s not the point. The point 
for me is that a necessary beginning is to truthfully face your feelings and that this truth will 
lead you to the next necessary step. Well I have taken the step to truthfully express myself in 
this article. I have purchased the book and believe I will read it. I have completed this article 
when I feared I had nothing to say. So let’s see what the New Year will bring. 




Christmas is my favorite 
holiday. Nothing else even 
comes close. 

I don’t think I’m excep

tional in this. Most people, 

unless they have hearts the 

size of the Grinch’s before 

he had his Whoville epiph

any, would agree that there 
is nothing more magical than the holiday that 
celebrates the birth of the Christ child. 
You don’t even need to be Christian to appreciate 

Ironically, the most memorable Christmas 
holidays in my 61 years have been experienced 
in the shadow of sadness, which made 
them all the more poignant and taught me lessons 
in humility and gratitude. 

My first holiday encounter with the true 
meaning — and unexpected reality — of 
Christmas was the one in 1965, three weeks 
to the day after I’d celebrated my 4th birthday. 

There I was, sitting with my mother and father, 
ripping into what I can only imagine 
were delightful presents, when my father announced 
that “Mommy and Daddy are taking 
you to Mom Mom and Pop Pop’s house.” 

Not completely understanding the necessity 
to abandon my own personal party, I am told 
that there was definite pushback from the 
mouthy 4-year-old. But Mom had gone into 
labor with my baby brother, who would be 
born later that day. 

That Christmas, memorable as it was for my 
mother who apparently had a visit from the 
angel Gabriel on the same exact date as Mary, 
was a letdown. 

From new life to the shadow of departure: 
On Dec. 11, 1968, just three years later, one of 
those two beloved grandparents passed away. 

My grandfather Mike had been a heavy smoker, 
and the only vice he had in what was an 
otherwise sainted life — unfiltered Chesterfields 
— took him away from us at the unbearably 
young age of 58. 

I remember my mother telling me years later 
that as he was lying in the hospital bed, he 
reached out for grandmom Mamie’s hand and 
tried to sing “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” 

He couldn’t keep that promise and passed 
away two weeks shy of her favorite holiday. 

I was only 7 and don’t remember the funeral,
but I know the toll it took on my mother, six 
months pregnant with her fourth child, who 
she would name Michael. 

For many years afterward, mom would make 
sure to bake the pumpkin pie that my grandfather 
coveted, a special Christmas tradition 
because it was a visceral connection to the 
first man she had ever loved. 

I’ve always believed that there is a strange 
symmetry in life, and life has not disappointed 

My grandfather was born on a Nov. 7, and 
died on a Dec. 11. His wife, my beloved Mamie, 
was born on a Nov. 8 and died, in 1985, 
on Dec. 12. 

These two people who were joined by love 
and duty lived in synchrony and died with the 
same exquisite unity. 

I was studying for law school finals when the 
word came that my Mom Mom had suffered 
a massive heart attack as my mother — her 
firstborn — was driving her to the hospital 
for a check-up. 

There were three generations of women in the 
waiting room, hoping for a miracle. It never 
came, and Mamie Fusco went home to be 
with her Mike. 

I remember taking in the Christmas tree, and 
the festive decorations and wondering how 
the world could keep turning when the center 
had fallen out of it. 

There was another Christmas, one that I spent 
thousands of miles away from my family, separated 
by an ocean and five time zones. 

It was 1981, and I was spending my junior 
year abroad in Paris. My father had been diagnosed 
with cancer that May, and I balked at 
going away for so long. 

But my father refused to have me miss this 
opportunity and promised that if I left as 
planned that September, they’d let me come 
home for the holidays. 

I believed him. But as December approached,
I got a message from my mother telling me 
that they’d decided to let me experience a 
once-in-a-lifetime adventure. 

Without my knowledge, they’d contacted old 
friends of my father who lived in Canterbury,
England, and asked them if I could stay with 
them over Christmas. 

I was having none of it, complained, cried and 
tried to guilt them into having me home. But 
the die had been cast: It was Canterbury, not 
Havertown for me. 

It was only later that I learned why the plans 
had changed. 

My father had taken a turn for the worse, and 
the cancer had spread. None of the protocols 
and treatments were working anymore, 
and he was going to be in the hospital over 

My parents were trying to save me from having 
to deal with a bitter truth: This would be 
the last Christmas together. They wanted to 
give me a holiday unencumbered by grief. 

I did not know it at the time, but they had 
given me the greatest gift I’ve ever received. 

Christmas is magical. But I think that we 
sense its true meaning, its most infinite glory, 
not in times of comfort, but in difficulty. 

In the darkest moments, it has the power to 
bring light. 



New Year’s was first celebrated 4,000 
years ago in ancient Babylon. Does 
the name Hammurabi ring a bell? Look him up. Interesting read. 
2000 years (give or take) later, Julius Caesar established New Year’s 
Day as January 1st, honoring the two-faced god Janus, who looks 
backwards and forward, old year and new year. 

By the way, we can thank the ancient Romans for the midnight kissing 
tradition. Kissing was part of their Saturnalia festival. So, go 
ahead and honor Saturn, the god of time, and kiss as many people 
as you can or care to. 

If you are like 80% of humanity, your New Year’s resolutions(s) will 
be abandoned by February. 44% of Americans make at least one 
New Year’s resolution, 31% use last years resolutions. 

If you live in Spain, you are encouraged to eat 12 grapes on New 
Year’s Eve…one for each month. It is supposed to bring you luck. 
Why not 12 pizzas or 12 Big Macs? The French, I’m told, eat a stack 
of pancakes on New Year’s Eve 

The Danes in Denmark, stand on chairs just before midnight. As 
the clock strikes 12 they literally jump into the new year. They also 
throw unused plates at the front doors of family and friends for good 

Brazilians jump over the waves seven times on New Years to get into 
the Sea Goddess’s good graces. Canadians do a polar bear plunge to 
ring in the New Year. Russians write their wish on a piece of paper,
burn the paper, then put the ashes into a glass of champagne and 
drink it. Really! 

If you’re in Turkey sprinkle salt on your doorstep precisely as the 
clock strikes midnight…only if you want peace and prosperity.
Families in Chile, spend the night sleeping at the cemetery to be in 
the company of their deceased loved ones. 

New Year’s quotes designed to inspire you: 

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past 
Thomas Jefferson 

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often 
Winston Churchill 

Every year you make a resolution to change yourself. This year, make a 
resolution to be yourself Unknown 

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot 
Michael Altshuler 

Now matter how hard the past, you can always begin again Buddha 

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They 
merely determine where you start. Nido Qubein 

You can get excited about the future. The past won’t mind. 
Hillary DePiano 

Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life. Robin Sharma 

Be so busy loving your life that you have no time for hate, regret or fear 

Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believingSarah Ban Breathnach 

You do not find the happy life. You make it. Camilla Eyring Kimball 
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right Oprah 
WinfreyThe only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to 
be Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Be willing to be a beginner every single morning Meister Eckhart 
Every year you make a resolution to change yourself. This year, make a 
resolution to be yourself Unknown 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 
Email: Website: