A little bit about a lot of things:

• The sunshine and green hills of the Sonoma Valley were the perfect backdrop to enjoy an Easter morning coffee while watching grandkids sort through their baskets of goodies.....relaxing has never been a strong point for me, but that wasn’t the case last weekend.

While the hustle and congestion of San Francisco and other Bay Area cities are close at hand, we’ve discovered since family moved to rural Sonoma a few years ago just how peaceful the setting can be.

Last week, Kat spent several days watching two of our grandchildren while their parents were out of town, and as it happened I was able to break away to go for an overnight visit with them.

One thing that occurred to me as I enjoyed the visit was that I had not previously spent a night anywhere other than home since the pandemic struck more than a year ago.

And as I surveyed the scenic surroundings and enjoyed the company, the other thought that struck me was “I could do this.” Not likely that we will ever have a Sonoma Valley place of our own.....but it sure was nice to visit one on such a wonderful day! The lush green, rolling hills, the surrounding vineyards.....yep, that works.

For all our visits to the rural area, I had never ventured into Sonoma proper until taking the kids to a central park to burn off some energy Saturday afternoon. Loved the park, located in the town’s central plaza, and the entire vibe of Sonoma was thoroughly enjoyable. The park and surrounding shops and restaurants were busy, but at the same time still felt relaxed and welcoming.....a place that seemed like it had character without being full of characters. Too often it seems like popular destinations are a little on the overwhelming side, but I think Kat and I could easily spend an afternoon just hanging out there.

Watching the kids play in the beautiful park....hanging out with Kat and kids....yep, that was good medicine.

• Kids, it has been noted, are prone to saying what’s on their minds.....

When we were walking back to my vehicle after leaving the park Saturday, the grandchildren mistook a  very nice SUV for our ride, which led to a lesson reminding me of the simplicity and honesty of childhood logic.

When I suggested that maybe we should just trade vehicles the older grandchild noted, quite correctly, that doing so would be problematic because I didn’t have the keys.

Good point. Which, I pointed out, would probably make switching vehicles illegal and I could wind up in big trouble....probably end up in the hoosegow.

“I would be old when I got out,” I explained.

“You’re already old,” countered the younger grandchild.

Ouch. So that was the end of that discussion, with the kids definitely having the upper hand.

• There’s also an old saying about honor among thieves.....

We were advised earlier this week that Hills Ferry Cemetery will no longer be accepting cash payments, in the wake of an attempted break-in during which the cemetery’s office safe was badly damaged.

Who does that, anyway?

Obviously, those who steal from others are short on respect to begin with, but it just seems doubly wrong that thieves would target a cemetery. Some things should be held sacred.....but obviously there are folks who can’t be bothered to worry about such things.

As a result, the staff members at the cemetery have to deal with fixing damage to the property and try to repair the safe.

And honest folks who like to handle their transactions in cash will be inconvenienced by no longer being able to do so.

As for the safe, which the perpetrators worked extensively but unsuccessfully to breach.....well, we’re told there was no money inside to begin with.....no ill-gotten gains to be reaped on this night regardless of how hard they tried.

Sad, though, isn’t it, the lengths to which law-abiding folks must go in efforts to deter thievery.

• Busy Friday night at Gustine High.....not only was there a Good Friday football game being played, but the school celebrated its homecoming and honored its band, football and cheer seniors.

That’s a lot to pack into one evening.....but they pulled it off quite nicely!

• All messed up....that’s the best way to describe a news brief appearing last week about upcoming virtual town hall meetings in Merced County. The dates of the events for local supervisors were switched, as were the districts which they represent.....for the record, District 5 Supervisor Scott Silveira (whose district in part includes Santa Nella and portions of rural Gustine) hosted his virtual town hall Wednesday, April 7. District 4 Supervisor Lloyd Pareira (whose district in part includes the City of Gustine and portions of rural Gustine) will host a virtual town hall Wednesday, April 21.

No excuses....just hate when that happens!

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.