Twelve years of Gravy

My favorite month, October, is finally here. The activities that make up fall, such as the Madera Fair, Old Timers Day and the final car show of the year have come and gone. At these activities, I enjoyed seeing many of my longtime friends and acquaintances.

On Sept. 11 we remembered the horrors of the terrorist attacks from 2001.

One of my girlfriends, Alexis Howe, mentioned to me that her late father, Calvin C. Gatz, DVM, would have celebrated his 98th birthday. We had this conversation at the fair.

Gatz volunteered his veterinary services at the livestock barns for many, many years. The young members of the 4-H and FFA now adults remember how kind and helpful her dad was with their animals. People still reminisce with her and her sisters, Malcolm Gatz and Charlton Dove, about how much their dad meant to them.

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Last Sunday an anniversary date surprised me when it popped-up on the calendar of my phone. On Sept. 30, 2006, The Madera Tribune published my first weekly Gravy by the Slice. I replaced a column written by a former employee, Cal Tatum, when he moved to Wyoming.

During these 12 years, I’ve written columns about local events and the people who stage them. My favorite rants tend to be about misbehaving children and their parents who have very little control. I am a fan of corporal punishment and don’t understand why it has been banned.

As a child, one of the things my parents drilled into my behavior pattern was when in a store we were to look with our eyes, not our fingers. Parents today don’t seem to exercise any control over this behavior. If anything would turn me into a person that did all their shopping online it would be the thought that no grubby little hands have fondled the merchandise that is delivered.

Last weekend I got to visit with my favorite aunt, Nada Kirk, formerly of Madera and now of Thompson Station, a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. When I was a kid, she probably spanked me more often than any of the other adults in my life. She didn’t spank me near as often as I deserved it. She used a device we called the red paddle.

It started its life as a popular childhood toy many may remember. A wooden paddle, with a rubber ball attached to a long elastic band. The idea was to bounce the ball off the paddle. The cheaply made toy rarely lasted long, as the rubber band broke easily. It then became the ideal tool for threatening and smacking disobedient children. The threats were administered more often than spankings. They weren’t idle threats and we knew it.

The reason my aunt and her daughter Lori (Kirk) Woody visited Madera was for my cousin’s 40th high school reunion of the Madera High School class of 1978. The weekend before my MHS class of 1973 had its 45th reunion.

Gathering with one’s playmates all these many years later was great fun. We had classmates come from as far away as Michigan and South Carolina.

The perplexing aspect is some people travel from far away and yet classmates that live in Madera or Fresno didn’t attend.

High school wasn’t all fun and games, but parts of it were terrific.

A special thank you goes out to Yvonne (Soto) Alonzo, Kathy (Stapleton) Row and the other members of the reunion committee for the work they did to insure everyone had a good time.

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Long days and pleasant nights, have a great weekend.

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Readers, may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.