A little bit about a lot of things:
• Fall Festival has arrived.....a Newman tradition dating back nearly five decades (that milestone is observed next year), the festival is synonymous with Labor Day weekend on the West Side.
The festival is packed with activities from the time a new Miss Newman is crowned this evening all the way through the weekend and into Monday, when a softball tournament wraps things up.
It is, to say the least, a busy weekend in Newman.
We’ve seen a number of Fall Festival activities come and go through the years. The bathtub races were a signature event when I arrived, but have since gone by the wayside despite the occasional attempt to revive that competition. For those who never had the pleasure, picture a relay race in which people competed to see who could push bathtubs mounted on wheels (complete with a driver who steered the contraption) a city block in the shortest time. You kind of had to see it for yourself to get the full impact.
A tomato stomp was a short-lived but colorful Fall Festival attraction, and there were the occasional firemen’s musters as well.
But the festival has always been evolving, and as some events phased out others came in.
This year, popular events such as a salsa/guacamole and photography contests return to the schedule, and a cornhole tournament which was a big hit last year returns. A lip-sync battle is in store as well, which never fails to entertain. There are always new attractions as well, which this year includes an updated kids’ zone.
Throw in the staple events.....Miss Newman, the wine and cheese tasting, volleyball, parade, carnival, crafts and of course lots of food and drink....and all the ingredients are in place for another festive weekend in Newman.
• A Southern California organization is remembering Cpl. Ronil Singh this week with a special event. Bluecoat Music is a non-profit involving Los Angeles police officers who are also musicians. Its mission is to remember fallen officers and support the families they leave behind.
While the group often holds musical events, tributes of different sorts are sometimes organized.
Last year, for example, we’re told that two officers ran in full uniform from LA to Sacramento to raise funds for the families of fallen officers.
And this week, a “Road to Newman” event is under way.
Organizers told us recently that a lone officer was scheduled to set out on a bicycle yesterday (Wednesday) from Los Angeles and ride to Newman, with an American flag to present to Cpl. Singh’s family. The rider is expected to arrive in Newman at mid-afternoon Friday, we’re told.
The group has other events planned in Turlock this weekend to honor other fallen officers.
Life does go on, tragedy notwithstanding.
The tragic loss of a popular officer is still very fresh in our minds and in our hearts, and I can’t imagine a day when Ronil will be forgotten in this community or in the minds of those who were privileged to know him.
But it is also heartening to know that his memory lives on elsewhere as well, and that his sacrifice is not forgotten.
• I read a lot of newspapers and headlines online each day, starting over my morning coffee. Some capture my attention more than others, while occasionally a headline just leaves me shaking my head.
That was the case the other day, when I came across a headline about a university offering an “adulting” class. Apparently, I learned as I delved more deeply into the topic, the concept of adulting classes is growing in leaps and bounds as we come to understand how much many young adults don’t really know.
What does it say about us that, from what I read, so many people who are grown up in age don’t really know how to be adults and need to be taught about everything from financial management to grocery shopping.
Actually, though, I think that we had something similar to an adulting class in my own high school days.
It was called home economics.
We learned things like cooking basics, how to do laundry (this is important, guys, be adult enough that you don’t rely on somebody else to wash your clothes), iron a shirt, sew on a button, balance a checkbook and so many other things that you just need to know in order to function in the world.
That class came in pretty handy, I must say.
But most of the education regarding the real world came from parents, from life experiences and just from being involved and interested in what was going on around us as we grew up.....you know, gaining maturity along with years. We weren’t peering at a device screen or holding a cell phone to our ear 12 hours a day while we shut out the world, for starters.
I think things are being lost to a degree in generational translation.
Adulting classes might help bridge that gap, but I doubt they can fully replace life lessons.