Time to honor our U.S. soldiers and honor the music

At the end of Patty Gutierrez’s every email, there is this:

If you can’t stand behind our troops, please feel free to stand
in front of them.

At the end of Patty Gutierrez’s every email, there is this:

“If you can’t stand behind our troops, please feel free to stand in front of them.”

– Author Unknown

In loving memory of my love, SSG David H. Gutierrez DoW (Died of Wounds) 12/25/09 Afghanistan

This Memorial Day, when our community joins the nation in honoring Americans who have served in the Armed Forces, let us remember the Gutierrez family and the family of Jeramy Ailes. Let’s remember, with reverence, all those who have served and, in that recollection, vow to take some related positive action. One Gilroyan, for example, has a perpetual gift card at a local coffee shop with standing orders to buy the drink of any military person who places an order. That kind of “thank you” speaks volumes, so look for an opportunity to let them know we appreciate their efforts on our beloved country’s behalf.

One of the country’s cultural icons, Oprah Winfrey, ended a 25-year TV show run and in the midst of all the hullabaloo, I realized I’ve never seen a single episode. Kind of a strange feeling, but not necessarily a bad one, when pop culture depravity collides with your life.

No lack of culture at the tequila tasting to benefit the Gilroy Foundation’s Latino Family Fund last Saturday on a most pleasant day in the garden at the beautifully restored historic Willey House downtown. Tamales, shrimp empanadas, ceviche and guacamole – homemade and donated from El 7 Mares Restaurant on north Monterey Street – blanketed tables greeting the 100 or so guests. Steve Peat, lord of our local McDonald’s empire and all around good fellow, brought a crowd of friends. Guests were treated to an education on the agave plant and the variations on tequila-making techniques. Quite fascinating, though only the designated drivers had a prayer to remember the lessons. Annie Tomasello snagged a lovely Mexican villa courtyard painting in the silent auction after ferociously guarding the bidding table for a half hour. It’s one of the most relaxed and enjoyable fund-raising events of the year. Prediction for next year: sellout.

Hard to sell out at the Gilroy Youth Commission’s free Teen Open Mic Night. Perform, play music, speak poetry … it’s all encouraged on Friday, June 3 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Fro Yo Delite in the shopping center where Target is located on Camino Arroyo. Teens ready to grab the mic need to pre-register via email to [email protected] with contact information and a performance description. Maybe the next American Idol’s from Gilroy and we can have one of those cool “Idol Comes Home” celebrations.

Idol chatter: Thought Lauren Alaina should have won the Idol crown Wednesday night over Scotty McCreery, but it was tough to root against either teen country style sensation. What I really liked about the Idol finale was a theme that resonated loud and clear during a recent visit to Nashville, TN that Miss Jenny and I took to visit daughter Cayla in college. For Cayla’s birthday we took her to the Grand Ole Opry, the legendary performance stage for country music. We had no idea what to expect. That night happened to include performances by Rodney Atkins and Carrie Underwood – that was cool – but there were all these “old timer” country performers like “Little Jimmy Dickens” who performed, too. And everyone enjoyed the music that was “now” and the music that had “come before.” That’s the essence of the pervasive “Honor the Music” theme that resonates throughout Nashville. Idol joined in Wednesday by having Third-place finisher Haley Reinhart sing a duet with 84-year-old Tony Bennett and fifth-place finisher Jacob Lusk sing with 66-year-old Gladys Knight. When that happens there’s a palpable and infectious positive energy that emanates from the stage.

That type of energy never seemed to quite permeate the San Jose Sharks in the series against Vancouver. In retrospect, after the hooting and hollering, the bouncing from the Stanley Cup playoffs seemed almost fait accompli. Sharkbit in Vancouver … the team’s incredibly valiant effort in the final game only to give up a goal with 13 ticks left on the clock, then suffer a final insult with a fluky flight of the puck hitting an edge on the glass and zeroing in onto the stick of a waiting Canuck. Bam. It’s over, cruelly and unusually, and complete with an off-season of mental anguish. The Sharks, at least, bowed out with dignity and grit.

Seems like there’s little dignity and perhaps less grit in the situation surrounding Jack Daley and his dismissal from his job as Gilroy High’s Athletic Director. And now that Calvin, the twin brother of fired track coach and former U.S. Olympian Alvin Harrison, has filed a claim against the school district, the story just keeps getting uglier … Brother Alvin, despite having a suspended driver’s license, illegally drives a van rented by the school district. He wrecks it, causes injury to a person in another car, and his twin brother, who’s a passenger in the rented van. And, of course, Brother Calvin files a claim – the precursor to a lawsuit – against the Gilroy Unified School District. Don’t forget folks, that’s our school district, the one we pay taxes to support. What’s wrong with that picture is what’s wrong with our society – it’s the lack-of-accountability syndrome. Brother Calvin should be suing dear Brother Alvin. And, meanwhile, Jack Daley is no longer the AD at Gilroy High. My wish list: GUSD fights Calvin tooth-and-nail despite the advice of their attorney, and Calvin gets zilch. Then, absent a miraculous compromise between Daley and the district, and since trustees and Superintendent Debbie Flores say they “can’t” talk about the facts that led to Daley’s dismissal, a lawsuit is filed. Then the facts become public record and the community can judge for itself who did what and if the punishment fit the crime.

Lately, it’s our weather pattern that’s been criminal. What in the gray drizzle is up? It’s time for blue sunny skies, temperatures in the 80s, and a slight breeze reminds us that the glorious Garlic Festival awaits just around the corner.

Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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