A little bit about a lot of things:

• West Siders will join those across the nation Monday honoring those who served their country.

The annual Veterans Day observance in Gustine is always a special recognition of the men and women who served, and those who go in harm’s way today in defense of freedom.

I have a deep appreciation for all who served, whether in time of war or peace.

They did their part, and then some.

I also know that I cannot begin to comprehend the sacrifices made or the horrors too many endured in the line of duty.....only the men and women who have walked in those footsteps can truly understand and relate to that reality.

I encourage community members to attend the 11 a.m. parade and program which follows Monday in Gustine......and to remember every day those who served their country and who do so today.

Many in our communities have served in the military, and many more are currently in the armed forces.

The quiet neighbor next door may have served in one of our nation’s wars; the family down the street may be living with the non-stop worry of having a son or daughter, husband or wife deployed to one of the world’s trouble spots today; the classmate who befriended your son or daughter at school may be counting down the days until mom or dad returns home.

Patriotism and the importance of serving run deep in our communities.

To all who served, we extend a heartfelt thank you.

• Fans who turned out to watch the Reds and Warriors Friday in Gustine got their money’s worth and then some.....the kind of game that is befitting a legendary rivalry.

And how amazing is it that, after the two schools have played 74 times over the years, the series is dead even at 36-36 with a couple of ties thrown in.

Our congrats to the Reds on a hard-earned win!

And the game? Wow. Just wow.

• Loving the seasonal transition as autumn slowly gives way to winter.

With temperatures dipping to the mid-30s last week the mornings were brisk and crisp....with a hint of frost one morning on rooftops and cars, though not the blanket of white we will see when colder weather arrives in earnest.

It wasn’t quite at the you-can-see-your-breath stage, but was certainly cool enough to signal the impending change of seasons.

This betwixt and between time of year means throwing on a jacket and cranking up the car heater in the morning but switching to shirt sleeves and turning on the air conditioning in the afternoon.

No real extremes in either direction.....but enough changing weather from morning to afternoon to let you know that it’s definitely fall.

Make the most of this season....the dreary winter ahead not so much.

• New horizons and challenges can take many forms....as was the case recently when, with a Saturday to kill, Kat and I decided to replace an old fence gate that had been making me a little crazy for a while.

Now, that may not be everybody’s idea of a fun Saturday but we enjoyed tackling a project that was new to us.

I was hoping to get by with replacing a few of the more badly deteriorated boards, but as we took a closer look it became apparent that a new gate was in order.

I had visions of the project going off the rails in all manner of ways, but we were able to avoid major pitfalls by reasoning things through and with some valuable tips and borrowed tools from neighbor Chris,  as well as the patient help of the good folks at Yancey Home Center.

Took us most of the afternoon, but (using the old gate as a template) we managed to complete the project as the sun was setting, and I think it turned out well.

I’ll never be a handyman and there are definitely some jobs that are beyond my abilities, but I’ve come to understand that with a little patience and perseverance most folks can do more than they probably realize around their home.

A certain sense of accomplishment goes with completing such projects.....especially those that represent new challenges met together.

It was a good day, we decided.

And I sure don’t miss that old, sagging gate.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.