Gardena, CA
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Articles by Pat Grimes

The occasion was my cousin’s 30th wedding anniversary, which he and his bride chose to honor with a renewal of vows. I am veteran of enough family visits to know a good opportunity when I see one.

This was the kind of event where I'd be with oodles of kinfolk, all there for the big to-do. Reconnecting with my cousins, who I regularly saw in my childhood, and some of their children, who I knew from taking my own kids for visits, would be great fun in the context of a party. Despite the steep cost of airfare, this trip would be worth it.

“Without Freedom of thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of speech” – Benjamin Franklin 

The hubbub continues over Colin Kaepernick. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the San Francisco 49er quarterback has chosen to not stand before NFL games during the national anthem in protest of what he calls wrongdoings against minorities in this country.

Naturally, folks have weighed in on the subject.

As its sole resident, it is entirely up to me what to keep in my home. The furniture and sundries filling the space are largely what came through the door on move-in day, a collection that serves the purpose reasonably well.

That said, my stuff DOES fill the space. While I could shoehorn other furnishings in, the rooms’ functionality would be diminished, cluttering and impeding domestic life.

There are about nine weeks until the presidential election (which cannot happen too soon, if you ask a growing number of citizens who have had it up to here). Every other day or so, the news includes poll results predicting who will occupy the White House for the next four years.

It is the peak of harvest time for political surveys; pollsters must make hay while the sun shines. The New York Times lists findings from 10 different polling organizations, while Real Clear Politics is following tallies from more than 20 polling firms.

For a brief time last week, my household echoed with pitter-patter of tiny feet. Because of a renovation project at my ex-wife's house, Charlie the dog and my older son stayed with me for five days. Granted, the Elder’s shoe size is now the same as mine, but his status as my firstborn allows his gunboats the adjective, “tiny.”

Some days find us longing for the flower of youth. Among the accumulating indignities of age — miscellaneous aches, chronic pains, increased difficulty in tying shoes — one of the most tedious is the need for vision correction.

Postponing them as long as I could, new eyeglasses finally caught up with me this week.

One of my South Bay stay’s highlights was being close to the ocean. I fondly recall when growing up in Gardena how my family spent time at the seaside. When bringing my own sons to California, a trip or two to the beach was always an important part of our itinerary.

Given the leisurely pace of this visit, I logged six dips in the Pacific over my seven days in town. Being in that luscious saltwater made me smile, but so did smelling the cool breeze, gazing over the water, and laying on the warm sand. Heck, I even had a good time parking the car.

Have to say, my Southern California visit was grand. The schedule for this trip, my first to summertime L.A. in 30 years, was less hectic than usual. The weather was hot, but no more so than back home, and the lack of a long to-do list allowed me an adventure or two.

Went to a part of the city close to one of the film studios that dot this entertainment industry town. At a friend's suggestion, we ambled into the recommended eatery.

While visiting family a few days in the South Bay, I had a few rare encounters.  Some, like the sand and surf, were soothing and lovely.  Others were more perplexing.

My lodgings there included access to cable TV, with a seemingly endless choice of programs, some of which I had never seen before.  I must say, the entertainment industry can currently boast some serious creativity.

As a culture, we are good at taking sides. Bolstered by regular incidents of violence by and against both police and citizens, as well as every-half-hour-on-the-half-hour fear-mongering from the news media, the nation is currently roiling over Black Lives Matter.

In print, on TV, and on radio, the loosely defined BLM movement is hailed or assailed, depending upon one's perspective. From professional pundits to politicians to people on the street, it seems no one is lacking a strong opinion regarding BLM.