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Bringing in 2018

Welcome to 2018. There were many explosions at midnight on Sunday. I’m hoping they were illegal bottle rockets and not gunshots. It is hard to tell. My first New Year’s Eve, when I was going with Fred, we invited one couple over to watch Don Kirshner “In Concert,” on television. By midnight, there were about two dozen motorcycles in the driveway and our house was filled to the brim. The next day there wasn’t a scrap of food in the house. It was a great party.


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In the spring of 1976, when I bought my first motorcycle, it really was the good old days, when you didn’t have to wear a helmet while riding. We were far to cool to wear skidlids or brain buckets. There are a few other slang terms for helmets but most contain profanity so I won’t list them here. It would take an entire column to articulate my feeling on the mandatory helmet laws enacted in 1994. I know the experts have their reasons for advocating the safety factor represented by the helmet law. The odds of surviving a head injury from a motorcycle accident are supposed to be greater if one is wearing a proper helmet.


What the safety advocates don’t address is the reduction in the rider’s ability to hear the other vehicles on the road and the loss of peripheral vision when one’s head is stuffed in a cranium casket. Our government should have no right to interfere with my right to splatter my brains all over State Route 99!


I once tried to make this argument over an adult beverage with former Madera County Counsel Doug Nelson. He pointed out to me that a person who ended up in a persistent vegetative state would become a burden on the healthcare system and by extension Medicaid, etc. I should know better than to argue with a lawyer! They are so much better at it than I am.


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I have always loved books. Trips to the library with my mother are some of my fondest childhood memories. Books could be borrowed for two weeks. My mom would check out half a dozen books and I could borrow three. I read my way through the Bobsey Twins, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. As I got older, I began a life-long love affair with Perry Mason and his creator, Erle Stanley Gardner. Occasionally I would figure out who-done-it before the final page.


“The Case of the Howling Dog” was written by Gardner at Bass Lake. My choir director, Lois Worthington, knew the people who rented Erle Stanley Gardner their cabin. Between 1933 and 1973, he wrote 82 Perry Mason novels with the last two published posthumously.


Before coming to the Tribune, I worked five years for attorney Lester J. Gendron. The actual practice of small town law isn’t much like a television episode of Perry Mason. There is a reason it is called a paper chase, too many trees have died in the pursuit of the legal profession. His birthday was Tuesday he would have been 93.


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Fred and I are having all sorts of fun this week moving from one rented house to another. As I write this, I look around my home office at all the books I still need to pack. At a time like this, I can’t decide if I own these books or if these books own me?


Have a great weekend!


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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing tamijonix@gmail.com or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.