A bench can be a lasting legacy


MONTCLARION NEWSPAPER – February 13  2009

HEADY THOUGHTS TAKE MUCH of the Town Crier’s time, these days. I’ve been thinking about my legacy. What will I leave behind when I go to the great beyond? Sure, my body of work in the field of journalism is unparalleled, but beyond that – how will I be remembered?

I do have a brick at the Oakland Zoo. Much like my ego, it has been walked on by thousands of people.

I’ve also got a plaque at the Crystal Bar in Bozeman, Mont. But that’s a story for another column.

It seems only fitting, then, that I should look into a commemorative bench through the East Bay Regional Park District. For $2,500, a seat is erected in your honor in one of the district’s 55 parks.

Did I mention the plaque? Your name is engraved on a shiny 4- by 6-inch plate on the part of the bench where one’s back would rest. That’s better than being underfoot, and at this stage in life it sounds better than being under a beer at a grungy cowboy bar.

KISSES FOR COPS: What a surprise to see four motorcycle police and Montclair’s former beat officer, Felicia Aisthorpe, giving kisses outside Safeway the other day. They were collecting donations for the Special Olympics and offering kisses — both chocolate and real — to children 5 and under. Aisthorpe must have been happy to be back in Montclair. Just a few weeks ago she was hit in the head by a phone book, working a protest outside BART.

UNPLEASANT SURPRISE: Think you’re saving money with an electric space heater? My family just got dinged $250 for a spike in our electric bill caused by our use of a space heater during the last cold snap. Ironically, we were trying to save dough by keeping the gas furnace set lower than normal. PG&E says it gets complaints like this every day. Maybe the utility should include a coupon for a down vest in its next bill.

BRAIN GAIN: It’s back-to-school time for the myriad of folks who suddenly have nothing to do. (Can you spell LAY OFF?) After I mentioned a couple of options in last week’s column, reader Kathleen Bryant weighed in with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CSU East Bay: With satellite campuses around the area, it offers a wide range of lectures and courses, from Women in Jazz to Revolutions That Changed the World. The cost is only $40 or $50 per course, with a $35 membership fee. The Web site is www.scholarolli.com.

E-MAIL BAG: Thanks to reader Robin Perry for reminding me that good eats come in many forms. In my piece on the emerging gourmet ghetto in the Glenview, I forgot to mention Ultimate Grounds. Perry says they go way beyond your standard cafe fare, with a wide assortment of breakfast and lunch items. To that I’ll add that they make the fastest light whip mocha on the planet.

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