Friday, August 29, 2014

Bob Dunning: O Canada … In some ways, we fit right in


From page A2 | August 02, 2013 |

EARNING ONE’S KEEP … it’s too bad we finally had to leave my favorite Canadian province and return home to Davis, because our family had just begun taking steps toward gainful employment in British Columbia’s capital city of Victoria, where there are more hanging flower baskets than there are people …

You see, after watching jugglers, comedians, fire-eaters and the obligatory lone bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace” for pocket change along Victoria’s crowded Inner Harbour, our 9-year-old artist-in-residence, Emme, proclaimed “I can do that” and proceeded to belt out “Blue Boat Home” half a dozen times with a bay full of boats as her perfect backdrop … in no time at all the small plastic box she had set at her feet was brimming with all manner of Canadian coins, $61 to be precise, in less than 30 minutes …

We’re not sure how many local ordinances she was breaking with her performance, but the guy tossing flaming bowling pins in the air and catching them with his teeth did not appear to be amused, so we called the whole deal off and told her she had to pay for her own tea the rest of the way …

PAPER OR PAPER? … on the way back to Davis we just had to stop at Portland’s world-famous Powell’s bookstore, the largest independent bookseller in the world … and trust me, they were selling many, many books the day we were there … when it came my turn to make a modest purchase of the Sunday Oregonian, I was asked if I’d like a bag … I said sure, waiting for the obligatory “paper or plastic?” query …

Well, given that this was Portland, a large-scale version of the town that Davis truly longs to be, I should have already guessed that plastic bags would be banned … indeed, they are … so out came a full-size grocery bag, complete with handles, to house my Sunday paper, which got swallowed up by its surroundings and began to separate, section by section by section … I reached into my jeans for a dime to pay for the bag, but was informed by the friendly and helpful cashier that paper bags are free …

When I informed him that the proposed ordinance in my hometown not only banned plastic bags from the face of the earth but required retailers, under the threat of life in prison without possibility of parole, to charge a minimum of 10 cents for each paper bag, he looked at me as if I were from Mars … which I guess I am …

ELDER ALERT … a couple of distinguished Davis High graduating classes from long ago have set dates and are putting out a call for alums to attend summer reunions … the DHS class of 1963 — which features one of the greatest collection of athletes ever to wear the Blue and White — will hold a 50th reunion on August 24 … contact for details …

Meanwhile, the DHS class of 1964 will hold its 50th on July 19 and 20 of 2014 … contact Mary Kroeger at

BROADCAST NEWS … I was both stunned and saddened to learn that one of this area’s most-respected media personalities, Walt Gray, was released from his morning host radio duties by “The Eagle” after just nine months on the job … this after 25 years in a variety of roles – all of them successful – in front of the camera at top-rated Channel 3 …

A change in management that included cost-cutting measures spelled the end of Gray’s popular early-morning radio show … it’s the station’s loss, to be sure, for no broadcaster is more prepared for a story than Walt Gray, and his many contributions to charitable causes are legendary … if Sacramento had a Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Walt Gray would be the first inductee …

And yes, I’m prejudiced here … you see, I had the extreme good fortune a few years back to work with Walt on a number of college football telecasts — including UC Davis — where I could see firsthand just how professional and prepared he was, not to mention being one of the most sincere and straightforward guys in the business … the good news here is that I’m sure we’ll again be seeing Walt in front the camera, where he belongs, one day soon …

 — 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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