There was a king with a large jaw …

…and a queen with a plain face at
It’s time for this loco cowboy to put on his spurs and kick-start the year’s round-up, cuz 2002 is soon to be a memory. What stands out most for this here pardner is that the last year was the utmost strangest I have ever encountered and more perturbing than a calf caught in a hailstorm with its mouth open. Now I ain’t no rocket scientist, but seems to me that Chico has been rocking back and forth on its heels since 9/11. We’re kind of like one of those Bozo punching bags that were so fun to hit when we were kids. We weeble but we don’t fall down. In other words, our world has changed, and everyone I know is scrambling to make sense of it all.

I lost both my parents when I was in my 20s, and theirs were not easy exits. Now I don’t how others of you have dealt with significant loss, but for me it took years to reckon that the folks were not around anymore. Like a phantom limb, there were times I would pick up the phone to call back east and then realize that nobody was going to answer. And then, when I was in my 30s, my middle brother died. I cremated the body by myself and took the ashes to New Jersey, where what was left of our family finalized the ceremony.

I tell you all this because the point is that we all lost something great in the last 16 months. The homeland that we thought was under some sort of providence showed its truly vulnerable nature, and there haven’t been any successful attempts at explaining its meaning to us. When a girl brings a gun to school, counselors and professionals who seek to work with the emotions of the youngsters and parents besiege the entire academic populace. But in the case of our entire country being attacked, we are left to our own resources to draw conclusions. I for one have had a hard time dealing with it all.

In the order of things of importance to us as Chicoans, Americans and, more succinctly, human beings, community should rank highest. And within that broad concept comes a commitment to understand the people around us. So next time a friend or a stranger acts weird, remember that they are dealing with the same issues that are driving us all a little kooky and try to bring them into our community. Have a great New Year, and don’t drink and drive!