By Fred Owens
We had the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast this Saturday in Alameda Park. We have it every year, for 65 years now, on the last day of the Santa Barbara Fiesta -- 3,000 people eating, each plate with three pancakes and two small sausages, plus syrup and butter. Then they could have orange juice, coffee or milk and sit down on one of fifty long folding tables and some hundreds of folding chairs -- or sit on the grass as many chose to do, while watching the flamenco fiesta dancers dancing in brilliant costumes.
All this for $7 a ticket, or $5 if you bought them ahead of time. I sold fifty $5 tickets in the days before the event and handed in the envelope to Anita who keeps the money, and I said, here's my $250.... she smiled.
It's a big job setting up for the event in the park, bringing in an entire kitchen under tents with 16 cast-iron pancake griddles, each weighing more than 100 pounds. The griddles have to be connected to the city gas supply with pipe constructed for the purpose. Then setting up the flash-hotwater heater on the gas line and the hoses that will pump the hot water to the three-sink dishwasher. Then cover the whole cooking show with ten popup tents and screens to keep the health department happy.
Personally, since we're only in the park for one day, I don't see how the flies will find us and so we don't need the tents and screens, but it's the health department law, so that is that.
It is a thrill and warm feeling to serve a fresh, hot breakfast to 3,000 friendly people. For a small moment it's one big happy family in Santa Barbara with everybody enjoying the fresh air and good food.
All the politicians come to eat pancakes. Congresswoman Lois Capps was there and I spoke a few words with her. She's retiring this year and the two rivals for her seat were also at the breakfast to work the crowd.
So that's what we did over the weekend -- set all that up on Friday, then cook and serve all the people on Saturday morning, then take it all down again and put it back in the trailer until next year.
The Kiwanis Club has been serving pancakes in the park for 65 years, as a part of the Fiesta. But there will be no pancake breakfast next year. The members decided it was too much work, for too little gain as a fundraiser, and the health department was driving us batty.
So this year when we took down all the tents and tables and grills, we sold most of the equipment and hauled the rest of it off to the dump and that made if official -- it was goodbye to old men cooking pancakes in the park.
A sad moment for the club, but a hopeful moment as well. I said to my fellow members -- we still have all the friendship and energy, we're just going to do it some other way. After 65 years of pancakes, we put that away, and now we face the challenge of the future. Onward!
Election Forecast. Good people are spending their time at the beach in August. The obsessive political maniacs are out campaigning and taking polls, but the intelligent folks are resting their minds, as we do or should do every August. It is time for baseball and the Olympics, time for long paperback novels in back yard hammocks.
The disturbing thing about both these candidates -- both! -- is that they are so consumed with ambition. They have no hobbies, they take no pleasure, they have no time for friendship. They never take a day off. Clinton and Trump are burning enemies. And they are doing this country a disservice.
I urge Mrs. Clinton, because she is my candidate, to grab a book and a towel and head for the hot sands of Cape Cod or Montauk Point. Do something normal. Give yourself a break.
The August polls show Trump in a nosedive. But August polls are not accurate because the good people are at the beach and scarcely paying attention. My forecast still stands -- it will be a tight race until the finish and Mrs. Clinton will win by a nose.
Keep Watering Those Trees. This bonsai tree has lived for 390 years and what that means to me as a gardener is a history of constant care. This tree has been continuously tended for 390 years. They never forgot to water! This pine tree was never neglected! Always kept in mind for 390 years!
Jim Bertolino writes good short stories on the Internet. The key to writing a good short story on the Internet is to keep it short. You start at the beginning, you work through the middle, and then you come to the end -- in less than 500 words. Anybody can write a long story. it takes a master like Bertolino to keep it short.