Hello dear readers! This column is going to be a little bit of this and a little bit of that.Posted March 14, 2014

Ruby, Staci and Cody Schnieder wearing special shirts Staci made for a fund-raiser for her sister-in-law, Myra Fisher.
Ruby, Staci and Cody Schnieder wearing special shirts Staci made for a fund-raiser for her sister-in-law, Myra Fisher.


By Mae Wagner

Hello dear readers! This column is going to be a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Today, it was 80 degrees or more here. It is ironic—other places had too much winter this year—and we had virtually none. Although we had a good rain a couple of weeks ago, the amount of rain has been negligible for yet another year. Consequently, here in California, we are supposed to be in a terrible drought.

While I don’t doubt that we are in serious drought conditions, it is difficult to take it seriously when major water-consuming projects continue to be approved by various government agencies. If they expect to be taken seriously, governments must “put their money where their mouth is”.

One of the most disturbing reminders of the drought occurred one evening while I was watching the news. It featured a story about a long-time cattle rancher in central California who did not have enough water for his cows. He said many of them were sick and had to be put down. He already had to sell off much of his remaining herd and, unless he is able to obtain water, his ranching days may soon end.

Then, the sports news came on. Golfing was one of the top stories that day. In sharp contrast to the scenes with the farmer and a few of his cows, a lush, green, rolling landscape filled the screen. It was at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.

I have nothing against golf but I sure wonder about our priorities when we have enough water to maintain not only the spectacular Riviera Golf Course but many other green, green golf courses all throughout Southern California. This is, after all, a desert.

And, besides the ranchers, water has also been drastically reduced for many California farmers. I have to ask. Don’t people ever worry about where their food is coming from?

Now, on to a very different topic.

As one who loves words, every so often, I hear a definition that I really like. I was listening to NPR radio yesterday as I was driving and they gave a definition for noise: an unwanted sound. Isn’t that the truth? What is music to one person’s ears is just so much racket to another’s. For example, I love old country music—but not new country. Others can’t stand the old stuff. Rap music is just a bunch of objectionable noise to me—and I’m sure my country classic music would be just as objectionable to a fan of rap. (Too bad someone recently got killed over this issue—and the person who shot him is in jail for a very long time. A double tragedy.)

Another definition I have always liked is the one for weed—a plant out of place. Isn’t that the truth? Of course, weed also means something else these days and has a few of its own definitions; for example, some of my students liked to write about “Mary Jane”. I guess they thought they could put one over on me—but, of course, they didn’t. Admittedly, it is tough to keep up with all of the disguising definitions for various substances that kids come up with—but I knew who Mary Jane was.

And finally, if you are a regular reader, you will be familiar with this last topic!

Were you confused by the recent multiple columns on Traditions? Perhaps you thought, boy, Mae must really, REALLY want to convince everyone of the importance of establishing traditions! Although I want you to do that, of course, let me explain what happened.

First of all, sometimes it takes up to two weeks for me to receive my paper so I’m not sure until then how my column came out. When the paper with the first column finally arrived and I began to read, I thought, “oh, no!” . A whole section was missing so it didn’t make much sense. When I called, Tanya immediately said she would re-print it. (The ladies at the ACR are great about working with me!) By that time, the second column was printed and everything seemed to be fine; however, they very graciously printed a third column—with both of the previous columns in it. Now you know why you got such a heavy dose of my thoughts on traditions!

And, I have another correction of sorts. Admittedly, I was never very good in math and my Traditions columns proved it. I said the tradition between Staci and me had endured for twenty years. It is at least thirty years!

Sometimes, my columns are kinda’ long and that doesn’t leave space for accompanying pictures. So, this week, I’m going to try to make this a bit shorter and hope there will be enough room for one.

And, on another note about Staci, I mentioned that she also raised funds for her husband’s sister, Myra Fisher. In one of those small world, six-degrees-of-separation coincidences, it turns out Staci had another connection to Myra.

Now, I don’t want to confuse you but this is how it goes. Penny Dodge is my brother, Stan’s (HHS 1955) daughter. Penny is the mother of identical twin daughters, Katy and Lynn. They live in Spring Creek, near Elko, Nevada, where they were extremely active in FFA, including holding high offices in the organization.

Imagine Katy and Lynn’s surprise when they realized Myra Fisher, their adviser, was related to Staci. To clarify, Penny is a niece to me, my sister, Betty, and my surviving brother, Paul (HHS 1957). Remember, too, that Staci lives in Washington state while Penny and the twins live in Nevada. It makes the coincidence even more amazing!

And, of course, Penny is not the only one in the family with identical twin daughters. As I have often mentioned, my daughter, Gabrielle has five-year old identical twins, Lily and Ivy. (The lights of my life.) The twins in the family don’t stop there. My grandma, Anje Norton (a Lodgepole homesteader) had twins and my uncle on my dad’s side was father to twins as well. Both of these sets of twins are fraternal.

You are invited to tune in to my next column for more of this and that.

As always, thank you for sharing this time with me. As you may be able to tell by the way I express myself in some of my columns, I view you, my readers, as friends. After all, we’ve been sharing this space for more than six years.