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My column, politics and contraception

Tonight 6 to 11 p.m. in Hatfield Hall the Madera Community Hospital Foundation is hosting its annual fundraising dinner. This year’s theme is “Harvest Hoedown.” A barbecue dinner, dancing to the sound of Cadillac Cowboys, live and silent auctions, dessert auction and a country store will help fund the work of the MCH Foundation. As of press time a limited number of $65 tickets were still available. For information, call Sherry Bakke at 675-5502 or email.


Today is a rather auspicious day for this column. The very first weekly, (weakly?) column ran on this day in 2006. We had just lost a regular columnist, the hilarious Cal Tatum. The loss of his weekly column “(I was) looking for a bar (when I found this job)” created a hole in our pages. I asked the “Great and Powerful Doud” if I could take a crack at being a columnist.

Prior to this I had written a few columns under the banner “Gravy by the Slice.” The name came from a failed attempt to make sausage gravy to go with a breakfast I was cooking for my husband and me. Most women learn to cook growing up at the side of their mothers.

That didn’t happen for me because cooking wasn’t something QuoVada (my mom) enjoyed. Organizing events for the Democrat party was where her interests lie. Under the tutelage of the late Lucille Desmond and Georgia Baker my mom rubbed elbows with the local Dems. One of my earliest memories involves going house to house during the Kennedy campaign raising “Dollars for Democrats.”

My older brother Brian would play “Shoo fly don’t bother me,” on the song flute and I would sing with the last refrain being “Shoo fly don’t bother me coz I’m gonna’ vote for Kennedy.” I turned 5 the month before JFK was elected.

The events in Dallas on Nov. 22 1963, were personal in our house. JFK came through Madera during his presidential campaign on a train on Sept. 9, 1960. We were there to see him, he became our president.

After I gave up on making that breakfast gravy all those years ago, the muck I ended up with could almost be served with a sharp knife. I asked my husband if he wanted a slice of it. He laughed and said “Gravy by the Slice” sounds like a newspaper column.

I have always enjoyed telling happy stories on the pages of The Madera Tribune. The idea being that we needed somebody to make Madera look as good as possible on the pages of the town’s only newspaper. As one of the few Madera natives employed by the company, it became my mission.

News stories are all well and good but more often than not it is bad news. Any time one of my colleagues would call me a reporter I would tell them, “You know you’re not allowed to speak to me that way!” I smiled when I said it; it’s adorable.

Mr. Doud has never refused to publish one of my rants. I did have a managing editor, the late June Woods, tell me I had to redo a column. The subject matter was the drain on the public service system by women who have surprise pregnancies, especially the ones that are underage. If I had my way, girls would be given a Norplant injection on their 12th birthday.

If television commercials can be believed, many parents are against vaccinating their sons and daughters for the human papillomavirus. The vaccine can prevent cancer. Imagine the ruckus my idea would generate.

I see where the Darin M. Camarena Health Center is building a clinic on Madera South High School. When I was in school it took an act of congress and special parental permission to get the school nurse to give a kid an aspirin. If they let me be in charge, the county health department would distribute condoms and other contraception devices like they were party favors.

In the 1970s before I was old enough to drive, my mom and I took quite a few of my girlfriends to the county health department for birth control pills. I am proud to say none of my friends got pregnant while in high school. After I got my driver’s license I carted many young girls to the health department, too. Being embarrassed was better than getting pregnant.

Have a great weekend.


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