Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, July 15, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page 13



Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 15, 2023 




Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola


Stuart Tolchin 

Harvey Hyde

Audrey Swanson

Meghan Malooley

Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Dinah Chong Watkins

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee










I am so thankful for benevolence. Recently 
I have been a recipient of benevolence 
in the form of a compliment 
from a reader of my column. Thank 
you reader. Even my editor told me: “You’re not half 
bad!” I was shocked! Thank you editor.

Back to benevolence” The simple definition: “A desire 
to do good to others whether in words or deeds”.

Coincidentally (maybe divinely inspired), I have had 
a shift in my attitude toward homeless people approaching 
me for money or help. Long ago, I had adopted 
a stance of not wanting to give money to homeless 
people convincing myself they would just use it 
for drugs. That is, indeed, a legitimate concern, but 
my heart changed and CLICK…the paradigm shifted. 
I’m convinced my personal faith walk had something 
to do with it. I wasn’t “trying to be good”, I just 
suddenly was filled with compassion. Wow.

My experience? Street people tend to wince every 
time they reach out for help. They are obviously anticipating 
rejection and bad vibes. The other day a 
young guy approached me outside the Subway shop 
on 1st and Foothill. He wanted some food. I said 
“Sure, what do you want?” He tried to be minimal. 
He was prepared to stay outside. Then I felt what I 
call a “shoulder tap” from God. “Treat this guy like a 
king” was what I felt God saying. So, I invited him to 
come in the store with me. 

Sheepishly and humbly, he told me his sandwich 
preference and that the little half six-inch sub was 
okay. I didn’t want to get in trouble with God, lol, so I 
ordered the foot long version. “What kind of chips?” 
He couldn’t decide. Shoulder tap told me “Get him 3 
different kinds”.

“Do you want a cookie?” “Yes, please.” “What kind?” 
(I asked). He hesitated so I ordered one each of all 
three kinds. I told him it was a tough decision and 
that he had to promise to eat 2 of them for me (he 
was skinny. Me not so skinny). “And get a couple of 
drinks while you’re at it.” A couple of Gatorades were 
removed from the cold box.

Loaded him up with lunch, gave him a few bucks, 
and told him as we parted that this was a gift from 
both the Lord and I. Guess what? The wincing and 
fear disappeared from his face, replaced by a smile 
and a genuine look of gratitude. My prayer that encounter 
becomes a life changing experience for this 
fellow human being.

I thought I might dig and find some celebrities who 
have the same inclination to help.

Elvis: Elvis had a benevolent niche’. He bought people 
Cadillacs. Wait until you hear this. Elvis first Cadillac 
he bought for his mother (She couldn’t drive!). 
Then he gave one to one of his backup singers. Then 
his dentist, jeweler, hairstylist, valet. Then he went 
back to the dealer and purchased 13 more Cadillacs 
to hand out to people who worked for him. A bank 
teller named Mennie Person was looking at Elvis 
Cadillac outside a store. Elvis walked, saw her and 
ended up buying her a Cadillac that same day.

It wasn't until after he died that we found out that 
singer Prince quietly, behind the scenes was very 

Keanu Reeves is also a generous soul. He runs a private 
charitable foundation funds cancer research 
and kids’ hospitals; you will find him answering the 
phone at charity tele-thons.

Of course, we all need to exercise discretion. But, if 
you are so inclined, carry around a few $5 and $10 
dollar bills, bless people’s day (using discretion…but 
not too much) and if so inclined, tell them the Lord 
and you are wishing the best for them.

And in turn, I’m wishing you a wonderful week.



They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. 

An in-store weekly special discount coupled with 
a Manufacturer's coupon. Limited to one package 
per customer. I rushed - rushed to the supermarket 
to retrieve what was becoming to me - my precious. 

My inner voice nudged, 

“Hey, is this thing just a thing or is it a THING?”

I took a moment to focus myself using the Navy 
Seal breathing technique I learnt on YouTube.

“I acknowledge this upturn of concern,” I told my 
inner self,

“You mean…” I said,

“Yes.” I agreed.

“We’re going with DENIAL”.

There was a bounce in my step when I arrived 
home. In the back of my dark, very dark closet I 
climbed the step ladder to lay my prize neatly on 
top of the ceiling high stack of Charmin Ultra 
Soft Toilet Paper Super Mega 8 Rolls = 48 Rolls 

That I have a pallet of toilet paper could be argued 
as a consequence of the pandemic or watching too 
many episodes of Doomsday Preppers, but TP is 
an under-appreciated necessity of our age or is it?

Bangkok, Thailand, mid-90’s. We were halfway 
into our 3 hour journey to the Amphawa Floating 
Market when our minibus pulled over to a Thai 
version of a Flying J's truck stop with gas, restrooms 
and a restaurant. Instead of French fries on 
the menu there was pho. I headed into the bathroom 
and once in the stall, I noticed there was a 
hand held shower attached to the toilet. Weird. 
Sort of a cramped space to take a shower in. And 
then, oh - there’s no toilet paper. Not that the roll 
was empty, there wasn’t even a dispenser. Charmin 
would not do well in Thailand I thought 

The Friendship Hotel, Beijing, China, mid-70’s. Exclusive 
to overseas visitors only, the 4 red star hotel 
promoted itself as the finest in the country. Luxurious 
no doubt for they provided a pad of stiff memo 
paper, but oddly enough, no pen in the bamboo 
paneled bathroom stall. This non-adhesive precursor 
to Post-It Notes was the pinnacle of toilet paper 
at the time. Charmin would do well in China 
I thought.

Paper was invented in China in AD 105, leading 
to the development of toilet paper 400 years later 
for the aristocracy of the Imperial Courts. Commercial 
production in the US began in 1857 when 
Joseph Gayetty of New York marketed a "Medicated 
Paper, for the Water-Closet,” sold in packages 
of 500 sheets for 50 cents. There was some trepidation 
about its use as not until 1930 were toilet paper 
brands certified as being “splinter-free”. Today our 
options range from workmanlike 1000 sheet rolls 
to plush toy-soft bundles averaging a nickel a sheet, 
less in today’s dollars than when TP first came out.

My home, Toronto, Canada, mid-60’s. My mother 
taught my young self three squares of toilet paper 
was sufficient to do the job. Meticulously, I unwound 
three squares from the regular sized roll 
and tore it off along the perforated lines. My fingers 
gently rubbed the rough yet fragile 2 ply bond. 
Charmin Ultra Soft Toilet Paper Super Mega 8 
Rolls = 48 Rolls would do well when I grow up I 

Dinah Chong Watkins column appears every 1st and 3rd 
Saturday of the month.

For more Close Encounters Of The Wrong Kind go to

 Lately, I have been 
making an attempt to get 
beyond my self-imposed limitations. As I 
have written many times before I was raised 
with the warning “Don’t rip your pants” always 
ringing in my ears. This was a shorthand 
version of my understanding that my 
ultimate mission was not to do anything that 
would bring anxiety to my mother and she 
was anxious about everything. The worst 
thing I could do was to come home late and 
cause my mother’s face to swell such that her 
eye would swell shut and her tongue would 
hang out of her mouth. Still I would come 
home late and felt that I was kind of a bad kid 
causing my mother so much pain.

 I still have this inner voice that tells me 
not to do anything “risky” which connects to 
that belief that I would be making life more 
difficult for my mother and the world. Consequently, 
it is not surprising that I have lived 
an outwardly conservative life clinging to old 
safe habits. I have lived on the same property 
here in Sierra Madre for 45 years. Frankly, I 
like it here. In Sierra Madre Canyon I still 
regularly see people walking around while 
outside of this area people no longer feel safe 
walking. I hold on to old relationships.

 I seldom take the risk to go anywhere 
alone I guess for fear of being alone with my 
thoughts and that inner voice. That voice in 
my head that continually tells me I am doing 
something wrong. When I am with other 
people that inner voice tells me that the 
other people are doing something wrong and 
I am generally very critical of others and in 
that context very accepting of myself. I pay 
no attention to my own appearance but am 
very cognizant of how other people appear. 
I guess I feel safer with strangers than with 

 Enough of this prattling. I have now 
reached the point where I want to take the 
risk to do stuff that scares my inner voice. I 
want to get to know myself better. I have 
been safely writing these articles looking into 
myself and believing that they have some relevance 
to the lives of my readers. I keep talking 
about trying to compile the articles into a 
published book for the world to see but I take 
no steps to accomplish this. In fact I do very 
little that I have not been doing for years. I 
have created an existence where I regularly 
meet with my son, daughter, and granddaughter 
three times a week. That is about 
as safe as it gets. I also talk to my ex-wife 
on the phone and also regularly speak with 
an old neighbor who moved away twenty five 
years ago. She is about as safe as it gets.

 All right, I have drawn a picture, and 
I want to change that picture no matter what 
my inner voice warns. Recently I started 
talking to some stranger in a restaurant who 
encouraged me to read the book the Untethered 
Soul, the journey beyond yourself by 
Michael A. Singer. Listen to this. I managed 
to obtain a Large Print edition so I would 
not have my usual excuse that the writing 
was too small. How’s that for initiative? The 
book is really scary. It directs the reader to 
stop clinging to old patterns and to not be 
ruled by that nagging negative voice inside. 
Of course, I will still hear that voice but instead 
of being ruled by it I will attempt to just 
be a “witness” to it and make other choices. 
I have already taken some steps to volunteer 
my limited services to a program which has 
now lead to complications which I generally 
avoid. I already see myself more completely 
and understand how important safe connections 
are to me. On the top of the front cover 
Deepak Chopra is quoted to say “Read this 
book carefully and you will get more than a 
glimpse of eternity”. In future articles I’ll let 
you know what I have glimpsed. 

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