music in the park san jose

We have a visitor in Gilroy this week from Wales.
We have a visitor in Gilroy this week from Wales. Last summer, our Gilroy team of twelve volunteers worked at the Amelia Trust Farm (a school for underprivileged children) in Wales, and got to know some of the staff at the award-winning Trust complex. So this Christmas, Welshman Chris Jeynes decided to come and see America for the first time, starting with Gilroy. Last Saturday evening, a welcoming party was held in his honor. We ate far too much as usual during the holiday season. It was a Mexican Holiday Meal, complete with chicken fajitas, chips and salsa, Mexican wedding cake, and pastries such as Elephant Ears, Kisses, and Snow Shoes. Starting in the spring, people like Chris who are employed at the Trust will bring some of their students to the U.S. to do volunteer work of their own in an informal exchange program with our team from Gilroy.

This week I was in court in San Martin with one of the youth I work with, and to my surprise the judge seemed to be filled with holiday cheer. The Honorable Edward F. Lee was presiding, and someone in court said, “I’m going to need a probation officer,” to which the judge replied, “I think all of us really need a probation officer.” As he tried to decipher another judge’s handwriting in the file before him, he said, “There’s a note. It’s Judge Cunningham’s note, which means by definition it’s virtually unreadable. I feel like I should have been an Egyptologist!” he quipped. I’d like to know how the Spanish language interpreter handled the judge’s phrase, “The DMV can be persnickity,” but my Spanish wasn’t good enough for me to follow her translation. As he went down the files, he was like a train conductor, “Next stop, Line 10,” he would call out. “Next Stop, Line 18.” Someone gave an unlikely sounding excuse for being late to court. “Well,” the judge replied, “A better excuse would have been the traffic on 101.”

I was honored to be the guest of a Home Depot employee at this year’s party. Everyone should experience the Home Depot Christmas party at least once. I wondered what to wear to such a soiree, and my friend really wasn’t sure. I admit I probably overdressed, but I’m a glitzy holiday person; I can’t resist anything with sequins or silver metallic thread. When we arrived at Home Depot, we were given raffle tickets and seated at tables taken from the garden department and arranged strategically down the aisles of the lumber department. Festive tablecloths had been thrown over them, and they were decorated with balloons, holiday confetti, and poinsettias from the garden department. The after-hours Home Depot had been transformed into a holiday wonderland. Table after table was heavily laden with platters of cold cuts (beef, turkey, ham), veggies, meatballs and gravy, sausages, sushi, shrimp, and a dazzling array of dessert cakes from which to choose.

There were many great gifts given out in the holiday drawing: Albertson’s and Target gift certificates, cameras, CD players, gas-powered BBQs, and Play Stations. Everyone received a $25 gift certificate (to Home Depot, of course), and their very own Home Depot mug. Most people were dressed casually, much the way you’d expect an employee there to be dressed for work. But the lack of pretension was actually very refreshing. It is rare for me to be in the company of so many down-to-earth people. All too frequently, I find myself in situations where people are trying a little too hard to impress each other. The first thing they want to know is “What do you do?” If they like your answer, they stay to chat, but if it’s not impressive enough, they move on. It was great to go out and not have a single person ask who I was or what I do. We just talked about things like what’s going on in Gilroy and the new stores that are being built. Everyone treated everyone equally. I wish we had more of that in our society.

It is heart-warming to hear from board member Patti Hale of the great success of Bonfante’s Christmas celebration. If 8,000 people can find their way to Bonfante in a four-hour window of time on a Sunday afternoon from 4:00 to 8:00, there’s definitely great hope for Bonfante’s future. It just goes to show that you don’t have to have Great America thrill rides to bring people out to enjoy the beauty of an alternative park either – the Park handled the needs of and entertained 8,000 people without ANY restaurants being open or rides running. Now the season passes for next year are selling like hotcakes. In spite of all the problems you’ve heard about, this can work! Don’t give up on Bonfante–get your season pass now at a great rate and support another unique treasure that puts Gilroy on the map! This magical garden will become a Gilroy treasure for many years to come, and we’ll look back on these challenges as ancient history. Get your 2003 Season Passes online now for only $49 if purchased by Dec. 31.

Kat Teraji’s column is published every Thursday in The Dispatch. You can reach her at [email protected].

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