Column 1: “Papa Bush”

Martinez News-Gazette Columnist

“PAPA BUSH”, was a world class statesman who made us all proud that he was OUR President, the admired ‘leader of the free world’ who was respected by all who knew him. A personality not seen enough in this world of tension and chaos and strife. He was #41 on the list of U.S. Presidents. He came to the office elected by the people after a distinguished, and envied succession of outstanding accomplishments, beginning with being the youngest Navy pilot in World War II at age 19. His successes were well reported this past week.

George Herbert Walker Bush, a servant of our nation beginning with his Navy service, had a career in his lifetime matched by few, if any, others. We have learned so much detail of his life since his passing last week as it was covered by the news media. So many details of a man who served his nation in war and peace. So many details of his wonderful family life as a loving father. So many details of his life as a person who was admired for his leadership and relationships with the famous and the ‘little people’.

Despite his stature worldwide, even before becoming president, he continued to serve with humility, even following his White House days, joining forces with others for the benefit of humanity worldwide.

His relationship with his wonderful wife, Barbara, was seen during the past week of many hours in the media. One quip I heard and enjoyed indicated the relationship of the couple. It came after Papa Bush made one of his several parachute jumps in his 80’s, and the last on his 90th birthday. After his jump, Barbara Bush, referring to his poll numbers late in his term as president, said, “I’ve never seen a fall faster than your poll numbers.” Both had a good laugh, showing the relationship they had.

After a lovely funeral service at the National Cathedral, and the final service in Houston, we can all reflect on the life of a great man and his legacy for our nation. Dare we wonder if someone might match his career and achievements some day?

The Rector of the Houston church the Bush family attended said, “My hunch is heaven …just got a bit kinder and gentler.”

ELECTION DAY came and went some 37 days ago, but the memory lingers on, especially for candidates who have been hanging in there as the laborious vote count continued. We cannot remember such a prolonged event in the past. Now the final results are in, and the Martinez District 4 City Council race has been decided by a 24-vote victory for Debbie McKillop over John Stevens. Yikes!

How many of John’s supporters who failed to vote are silently kicking themselves? How many of Debbie’s supporters are saying, “Man, I’m glad I voted?”

On the larger scale, how about some of the national or regional tallies that are down to a few hundred votes difference out of hundreds of thousands cast? The life of a candidate can be cruel, and disappointing. Ask any losing candidate after weeks or months of campaigning door-to-door, coffee clatches, candidate forums, putting up campaign signs, raising money. And then, what?

THE SEASON to be jolly is upon us. However, there are so many around and among us who will not be able to be jolly. They may be poor or homeless. They may be alone without friends or family. They may be hungry. They may be ill. Who’s to help?

A number of church groups and local agencies provide some help for those in need. But, there are so many who can’t be reached, or tended to. The Salvation Army is having a shortage of ‘bell ringers’ this year, so funds to help will be short for helping those in need.

The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, a great organization all year long, led by Larry Sly, has mailed an appeal for funds, calling it the 2018 Harvest of Hope campaign, citing that some 200,000 children, families and seniors in our communities will spend the holiday season with empty plates and empty stomachs. Parents will have to decide to pay rent, electric bills, or food for the family. Heartbreaking decisions which we can help.

Donations can be made online at or mail to Harvest of Hope, 4010 Nelson Avenue, Concord, 94520. We all can make a difference.

Our community has the great fortune of having dozens of volunteers serving in the Meals on Wheels program delivering means at midday with a friendly smile and a greeting, sometimes the only contact that day for the recipients who may be invalids or shut-ins.

Another wonderful humanitarian endeavor is the Loaves and Fishes program providing meals at midday at their facility at Ferry and Green Streets, served by volunteers from many local organizations. Anyone wanting a nourishing meal is welcomed, no questions asked.

HAVE YOU thought of one of the apparent three most advertised items for a gift this year? Seems like mattresses, hearing aids and autos top the list of most-advertised products in the newspapers. Maybe a gift for someone who has everything else? Oh, come on. Giggle a bit!

ANOTHER TV commercial we enjoy watching. The Mercedes Benz ad with Santa Claus leading a caravan of new vehicles through the snow country. A puppy in the car with Santa needs a potty break.. Santa stops, the pup runs into the woods, returns a bit later, gives Santa a quick bark and the caravan heads off. Great cute humor. Cute puppy. Clever ad.

NATURE did some bad things this past week. A 7.0 quake near Anchorage, Alaska. A 7.5 quake near New Caledonia in the South Pacific. A tragic 22 tornadoes in one day in Central Illinois. Meanwhile. out here in God’s country we had wonderful rainfall which, several weeks earlier, could have averted the devastating fires in Butte County, perhaps.

CHEERS for the many groups and individuals responsible for the two-day Holiday Frolic activities downtown. Something for everyone in this expanded venue made for a great Christmas season event. Tree lighting, parade, music, face and fingernail painting, Martinez Arts boutique at the old railroad station, and more. And, Santa Claus came to town for his annual visit to greet people at his house on Main Street. The Martinez Recreation Department put it all together with helpers.

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