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The Madera Tribune

It’s a small and wonderful world

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webmaster | 03/26/14

We live in a wonder-filled world. Even here. Monday night, for example, I attended the forum for the six candidates for sheriff, held at the VFW Hall. I was seated at the front, because I was one of the questioners. At my left was a computer being manned by a young man still in his teens. At my right was another man, who seemed young to me, although he was long since past his teens.

The youngster at my left was the son of Frank Gauthier, one of the candidates. The man at my right was another questioner, Eugene Bell, chair of the Madera Chamber of Commerce. The chamber was co-sponsor, with The Madera Tribune, of the event.

Okay, you might ask. Why was that an example of a wonder-filled world? Here’s why: The teenage son of Frank Gauthier was helping his father participate in the forum, even though his father was in Afghanistan. The young man was enabling this through the use of Skype. You probably know what Skype is. With Skype, you can talk to somebody and see that person on screen, as long as he or she has a computer and is using Skype as well. The Skype image of Gauthier was projected on a wall screen, and Gauthier’s voice was amplified by small but very effective speakers.

I happened to remark to Bell that it was quite the technological achievement that we could hear and see a guy in Afghanistan who was running for Madera County sheriff. He agreed, then said that he, too, was headed for the Middle East the next day. “I’ll be in Amman, Jordan, by tomorrow night,” he said. He was going there for a vacation, for the third time. He said he visited three friends there, folks he had known while attending Fresno State.

Imagine that. The chair of the Madera Chamber of Commerce takes vacations in Amman, Jordan, and a candidate for sheriff works as a security consultant in Afghanistan, and they are talking to each other over Skype on the same night in the local VFW Hall.

And the VFW Hall wasn’t there a few years ago. It was over on 6th Street. But the old hall had to be torn down to make room for the new courthouse now under construction. And sitting in the audience in the new hall with the rest of us was Judge Charles A. Wieland, one of the foremost catalysts of that new courthouse whose leadership helped bring it to fruition.

Does all that constitute wonders? On the small scale in which we live, I think it does.


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