Thursday, December 25, 2014

Bob Dunning: Family looks back before looking ahead


From page A2 | August 27, 2013 |

SCHOOL DAYS, SCHOOL DAYS … in a town that centers around “higher education,” it’s easy sometimes to lose sight of where it all begins … thus, it was heartening to trip across a few short paragraphs written by none other than the Red-Headed Girl of My Dreams as the first day of school approaches …

“Tonight I am hit, like a ton of bricks, at how very important elementary school is,” she begins … “As my oldest child prepares to leave our neighborhood elementary school and move into the world of junior high, I am thinking about the specialness of kindergarten through sixth grade. Elementary school is the longest amount of time my children will have at any institution as children.

“They were blessed to spend two years at preschool. They will have three years in junior high. And hopefully, three years in high school. But in our town, elementary school holds onto our kids for seven years. Seven years. The biggest chunk of their childhood. Seven years to build a community. To teach them to read and write. To jump rope. To learn about science and math. To build character. To learn how to eat lunch next to the kid they don’t like. To solve problems. To become leaders. To make friends. To learn to love learning.

“Elementary school sets the stage for all future learning. It is the place where my kids are learning to think for themselves, independently of me and their dad. Where they are learning to solve recess problems. Where they are learning they are smart. And capable. And that learning is good and that education will take them to the next step, whatever that might be. That there is a bright future ahead and that this — elementary school — is just the beginning.”

We’re blessed in this town to have a set of elementary school teachers who are second to none … that’s a simple fact to be cherished … may these teachers, and the children we send to them, enjoy their best year ever …

A WOODLANDER BY ANY OTHER NAME … my friend Rich, responding to a recent column about what to call a resident of the Yolo County seat, says the proper term is neither “Woodlander” or “Woodlandite.” …

Writes Rich: “A person from England is English. A person from Ireland is Irish. A person from Poland is Polish. Therefore, a person from Woodland is, of course, Woodish.” …

Rich has a point, all right, but does that mean a person from Switzerland is Switzerish or a person from Iceland is Icish? … and what of my hometown of Portland? … must I now refer to myself as Portish? … no, a “Woodlander” it is … we’ll just have to live with the inconsistency …

IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY … one of Davis’ nattering nabobs of negativism — trust me, there are many — sent me a note disagreeing with my recent public assessment of Superior Court Judge Tim Fall as a “supremely able” jurist … “It’s not a good idea to make blanket statements of support like you did,” he said while making a blanket statement of his own …

His words made me smile, given that he’s one of those who feels that every defendant in a Yolo County courtroom is factually innocent, the victim of an aggressive, self-serving DA and a system that’s corrupt, top to bottom … that blind prejudice goes out the window, of course, if the defendant is accused of a race-based or gender-based crime, in which case he’s automatically guilty, no questions asked …

SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES … with the entire West ablaze, Glen at writes to say “Seems we hear not a peep from the NRC’s ‘smoke police’ while Davis is inundated with choking smoke from the region’s wildfires and agricultural burns in August, yet they become hysterical at just the thought of us burning wood in our fireplaces in December. If you ever figure it out, please let me know.” … there’s simply no figuring, Glen …

While it’s true that many of our truly bad air days occur in the dead of summer when no fireplace burning is taking place, the NRC has yet to figure out a way to ban forest fires or Smokey Bear … so they’d have us believe the real problem is that fire you and I had in our homes last Christmas Eve, the smoke from which magically continues to linger in the late August air …

— Entries to the Contest to Replace the Above-Pictured Columnist are due Tuesday, Sept. 3 at midnight. Entries may be about any subject and should be between 400 and 800 words in length. Entries, including daytime and evening phone numbers, a brief biography of the author, and a mug shot suitable for publication, can be emailed to



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