Opening Day sunshine, Casey Tibbs and the Kentucky Derby

California sunshine arrived just in time for Opening Day and
what better way for the World Champion San Francisco Giants to
start than with a a tilt against the despised LA-LA Dodgers.
California sunshine arrived just in time for Opening Day and what better way for the World Champion San Francisco Giants to start than with a a tilt against the despised LA-LA Dodgers. It’s a great rivalry, certainly the fiercest on the West Coast in any sport. There are only two Dodger fans who get a pass in my book. One is Ron Ayala who taught our daughters in middle school and used the Giants-Dodgers rivalry for good-natured ribbing that cemented already solid relationships with his students. And now there’s Rich Perez, who runs the mailroom for the San Jose Sharks. He does too much for the community and he’s just too good a guy to simply wantonly toss into the dodgerfan bucket.

Somewhere I stepped in a nasty bug bucket, and have been under the weather for longer than I have patience for. But recovery is coming. For all you curious types, “under the weather” is of nautical origin. When a sailer was ill, he was went below the deck to keep him away from the weather. Now, we just hit the couch and the remote for a short stint and go back to work too soon …

But let me digress back to that day on the couch, where I found myself flicking through the channels only to discover Mr. Holland’s Opus, a 1995 classic flick starring Richard Dreyfuss as a high school music teacher who doubles as a drama instructor. After 30 years of inspiring instruction, he gets bounced out the door because of education cuts. Sound all too familiar? What I know is that school board members like Rhoda Bress and Tom Bundros, are in the midst of dealing with the terrible reality of having to cut $7 million from the school budget. What I also know is that in the education of our three daughters, arts has made a huge impact. Mariah, the youngest, just joined the Bella Voce choral group at Oregon State University. She wouldn’t have done that without her years in Phil Robb’s choir at Gilroy High School. It brings her great joy to sing, it encourages her to take a risk in performing and it leads to self confidence. Whether we hear Mariah singing softly in the kitchen while doing a chore or on stage, it brings joy to our family. I don’t have the budget answer, but it would be good if all the GUSD board members watched Mr. Holland’s Opus before making those tough final budget decisions. And I would hope that they remember that every dollar counts.

Can always count on father-in-law Lorens Midtgaard to find some interesting tidbit related to Gilroy. My in-laws are old school – they’re avid readers. So that’s how I know that there’s a new book out by Rusty Richards called “Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride.” Now, that’s a book they should stock at Garlic City Books downtown. Why? Well, Casey, as you’ll recall, is the rodeo rider who once proudly greeted all visitors to downtown Gilroy. He sat gloriously atop his bucking bronco with his hat flying in one hand above Hall’s Department Store. Casey galloped away under cover of darkness with the sale of the building, but I hope someday the nine-time world champion rodeo star who also starred in movies such as “Born to Buck” will return to downtown Gilroy. The iconic statue is a slice of Americana that someday will prompt happy visitors to describe our downtown as quaint, unique and an enjoyable place to visit.

Get ready to enjoy music piped into downtown Gilroy. Council approved $25,000 for speakers to be placed between Fourth and Sixth streets that will be operated by the Downtown Business Association. Not sure if DJ Eric Howard will pull from the old KFAT play list or send soothing elevator harmonies our way.

Am sure that Garlic Festival Queen contestant Megan Griffin’s Roaring ’20s-esque garlic bulb costume beats the heck out of anything Herbie the mascot or The Bulbous Crusader, aka Mr. Garlic Gerry Foisy, have ever worn. Kudos to whoever made the costume Ms. Griffin wore while performing her stinkin’ rose skit during the pageant. What about matching outfits for Queen Tiffani Petersen and her court for one of the romps through the G-Fest grounds. Now that would be a fun photo op.

Costumes will be the order of the day at grandson Jackson’s first birthday blast next weekend. Happy Birthday Buckaroo! … And, ahoy matey, I have to find my pirate eye patch. Buckaroo is a good nickname since it can cover being a cowboy or a pirate. Jackson’s swashbuckling up a storm lately. He’s tough to catch and quick on his feet.

Quick history lesson via Nashville, TN when Miss Jenny and I toured Belle Meade, a former southern plantation house with an absolutely fascinating history. Our guide, Tom, who looked, spoke and acted like one of those fabulous history teachers you hopefully had in school at least once, wove a wonderful tale and answered beaucoup questions.

This tidbit is directed to horseman and friend Mr. Ron Pray so he can test his daughter, Nicole, before Kentucky Derby Day, May 7. Nicole migrated from Gilroy to the south and “currently handles all risk coverage for several of central Kentucky’s largest thoroughbred operations.” The tidbit: The owner of Belle Meade, William Giles Harding, was the first great American horse breeder. He acquired a horse in 1872 named Bonnie Scotland and it came as no shock to learn that one of Bonnie Scotland’s blood descendants was Secretariat. But when Tom Tour Guide told us that every horse that has raced in the last seven Kentucky Derbys was a blood descendant of Bonnie Scotland, that was an amazing American fact.

A spirited American salute is always visible at the McDonald’s on First Street. Owners Steve and Jan Peat proudly fly the red, white and blue with a huge flag that’s kept in tip-top shape. It’s a sight to see when the breeze blows lightly. The patriotic and generous Peats are just another reason why Gilroy is Great. Have an enjoyable Gilroy weekend all.

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