Author: Judd, Brooks

Ten Items or Less

1. Two months ago I wrote about three wonderful teachers who impacted my life. Last month I wrote about one teacher who was just plain mean and dreadful. A lot of you shared stories of your favorite teachers and your not so favorite teachers. Thank you.

I did get a surprise phone call from a non CBA member about my article a couple of weeks ago. My phone rang and a voice said, “Mr. Judd?” I said, “Yes.” He said his name was Mark Coovelis and he was an English teacher at Oak Valley High School. He said his sister had called him about an article about their father she had read on the CBA Web Site.

We chatted for a few minutes and I listened with embarrassment as he thanked me for writing such a sweet article about his father. I told him everything I wrote was true and I thought his father was a remarkable educator. Mark said his father left big shoes to fill but he was hoping to fill them. “Mark, forgive me for being out of line but I have to ask you, is your father still alive?” Mark replied in a gentle voice. “Brooks, you remember you wrote that my father always smoked a pipe? Well he died in 1994 of lung cancer.” I winced and there were a few uncomfortable moments of silence. “Mark, I am so sorry.” Mark replied, “Brooks, his life was cut short but my sister and I just wanted to let you know it was nice to know that a former student of his thought so highly of him.” We chatted a bit longer and I found out Mark’s sister lives in Auburn and Mark lives in Placer County. You have probably figured out what I said next.

“Mark, if you and your sister have the time I would love to meet both of you at the CBA’s Fathers Day Festival at Grass Valley in June.” Mark responded, “We’ll try to make it.”

I googled Mark and found out he has written a novel, “Gloria” that was published in 1994, he has written many other short stories and is active in a major poetry contest open to high school students in northern California. In Mark’s case, the fruit did not fall from the tree.

2. Sheila and I were watching re-runs of “All in the Family” the other night. It was a four part episode about Archie being on strike and the economic and psychological effects it had on the Bunker household. Sheila remarked that they don’t have shows about average working Joe and Jane families anymore trying to struggle through tough economic times. She was right.

All in the Family broke long standing taboos, was extremely funny, and filled the airwaves with Archie’s bigotry and spoonerisms. Unfortunately, Archie’s dialogue in today’s PC climate would be completely unacceptable. Sleaze is acceptable on the tube but a show that might provoke a thought or two or even a genuine dialogue cannot or will not be shown.

Americans have a choice to watch the Kardashians, Hillbilly Wedding, Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, Jersey Turnpike, Jersey Pizza, Jersey Cows and 100 other shows that make me turn to the food station and cry for re-runs of Bob Newhart, Twilight Zone, Ed Sullivan, and Carol Burnett. Marx said religion was the opiate of the masses. Now, I believe it is prime time TV.
3. If you are reading this in the A.M. the Chairman of the Board and yours truly are on our way to the waters of the fabled Clear Lake for a week-end of fishing and pickin’ with an old high school buddy, Lupe Ybarra, star third baseman of the Hayward High Farmers and team mate of mine on the nearly famous 1966 baseball team that almost went to the state finals, had we won 9 more games, not ended up in 4th place, and had a better team.

We are bringing our instruments to play and utilize as fishing gear in case we don’t catch any fish. We plan on lulling them into a false sense of security with some high lonesome bluegrass music. Enchanted they will gravitate to the surface of the lake. Lupe still has great hands and he will be able to quickly scoop those cats and bass out of the water just like J.D. grabbing an ice cold Nehi. Chairman of the Board says he will be able to swing his fiddle to clobber the bigger fish and I can do my part by turning my bass into a battering ram in case old man sturgeon makes an appearance.

4. Just got back from a week in Pasco to discover rain, more rain and treacherous winds. I’ve driven over the Altamont a thousand times and this is the first time I have actually been nervous as gusts of wind actually blew my car into another lane. The rain and wind never let up from the Oakland Airport to Turlock. I let out a long slow sigh of relief as I pulled into the safety of my driveway.

Sunday morning I peeked outside and saw that our back yard fence had blown over onto our neighbor’s yard. I glanced at our pool and saw that it was littered with branches, twigs, bushes, anything that wasn’t tied down. I would complain but compared to what has recently happened in New Zealand and Japan I’ll count my blessings and make a phone call to my friendly All State agent and tell him about the damaged fence. May God bless the folks in Japan and New Zealand and wish them a speedy recovery from these massive catastrophes.

5. If you’re going to the Spring Camp Out enjoy yourselves and have fun. Hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate.

Until May, read a book, hug a child, pet a dog, stroke a cat, and say a prayer for those who are suffering and dance like no one is watching….
Posted:  4/1/2011

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