Veterans Day

Veterans Day was last Friday. It was easy to miss. Some people attended Veterans Day parades or other observances; but such events lack publicity. They are not as popular as dressing kids up in offensive costumes to panhandle for candy on Halloween less than two weeks earlier. Priorities are perplexing.

Veterans Day (which really is spelled without an apostrophe) honors those who serve or have served in the military. It is different from Memorial Day, which honors deceased veterans, whether they died as a direct result of their service or afterward. So, Veterans Day is for living Veterans who are still members of our Community.

Yet, so many are homeless. So many can not afford to live here. So many lack social services that they could benefit from. The apparent social apathy for Veterans Day must be discouraging.

Fortunately, the formerly inordinate rate of homelessness among veterans is supposedly declining. Approximately 6.5% of people in America are veterans. According to some sources, only about 7% of homeless people in America are veterans, which is only about 0.5% more than the ratio of veterans within the general populace. In the past, according to some sources, the ratio was almost exactly double, at 13%. The rate of homelessness among veterans is approximately 2.1%. The rate of homelessness among the general populace is approximately 1.7%. The difference is only 0.4%.

Nonetheless, 2.1% of veterans is not zero. Nor is 1.7% of the general populace. The potential for improvement remains.

Only about four veterans had been prominently homeless locally since about 2013. Of these, two have inhabited homes for several years, one procured a stable domestic situation more recently (but is now deceased), but one remains homeless nearby. Regardless of his current situation, he was at least pleased to be honored on Veterans Day.

Chili Cook Off

The Sixth Annual San Lorenzo Valley Chili Cook Off yesterday at Felton Covered Bridge Park was a fund raiser hosted by Felton Library Friends to benefit the new Felton Library and Nature Discovery Park. That is why tasting kits that were needed to participate were sold for $5. All of those $5 charges were collectively the funds that the fund raiser raised.

Of course, there was much more to it than that. No one would have attended if it was just about collecting funds. It was about a good time, with food, beverages and live music. A dozen or so chili chefs competed for prizes. Local business donated even more prizes for a raffle later in the day.

Contestants, volunteers and just about everyone who attends such events knows how to have a good time. $5 is a trivial charge to participate. Not many who pay put much though into it as contribution to fund raising. Procurement of resources for the Felton Library and Nature Discovery Park is very important, but so is doing the event right.

For several, doing the event right entailed including those who had neither the intention of participating, nor the minimal resources to do so. They delivered several and various bowls of chili to a few of us who were gathered at the picnic table closest to the parking lot. That is being seriously Community oriented!

I know this is not the best picture of a bunch of empty bowls and a few that I snatched from those who were still eating out of them, but it shows the variety of the chili. These were not contributed by one chef who wanted to lighten his load of leftovers, but from at least six different chefs. There were more empty bowls that had already been discarded.

Happy Birthday!

Happy 54th! It was a great Sunday afternoon yesterday, for a birthday party in the shade of the big cottonwoods of Felton Covered Bridge Park. A 54th birthday may not seem like justification for a birthday party, but we so like to entertain. The birthday girl came from Quail Hollow. The hostess brought the cake and table full of sweets from Capitola. Other guests came from Boulder Creek. It was not a big crowd, but it was enough for us.

It is amazing how much of life happens outside. Even those of us who live in homes that could accommodate our small group would prefer to come here for such events as birthdays, and the occasional picnic luncheons and diners. It is where we celebrate the lives of those who are no longer with us, and those who have merely moved away but sometimes come to visit. It is where we meet new friends and catch up with those we met long ago.

Some of us still miss the vacant field with piles of road debris that was here before. We are too old to be hotdogging around on bicycles and motorbikes anyway. The grand sycamore is still here, for now, on the western edge of the parking lot. So is the other big sycamore closer to Felton Covered Bridge, as well as the big cottonwoods that shade so many of our celebrations. Memorial redwoods are newer, but will eventually be old too.

Yesterday afternoon was about neither the past nor the future. It was a brief celebration, just because that is what we sometimes do.

Peewee, who lives with the guest of honor, believed that she was the guest of honor. Of course, no one argued with that.

Buttercup, of Boulder Creek, was pleased with here beefy treats, and was not at all interested in cake.

Moose, who lives with Buttercup, does not seem to understand that he is not a chihuahua.