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2 | Avila Beach Life — November 2021

Making Communities Better Through Print™


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CONTRIBUTORS Barbie Butz Betty Hartig Dr. Cindy Maynard John Salisbury Kathy Mastako Mary Foppiano Rick Cohen Contact Us 805.466.2585

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s we look back over the last 20 months, as hard as it has been, there is so much to be grateful for. Many lessons may have been missed had it not been for the pandemic stopping us in our tracks and the universe asking us to take a moment and pause. A focus on good health is essential in our lives; daily exercise, organic foods, water, and meditation heal the soul and spirit, allowing us to hear the needs within. Living on the Central Coast, we have no shortage of places we can go to rejuvenate, with long walks on the beach and multiple hiking and biking trails. This time of year, we take time to reflect on all we have to be grateful for. In November, we honor the sacrifice of so many local men and women who have served our country. We extend a deep appreciation to all Veterans for their service and are so grateful for their dedicated commitment to fighting

for our freedom. Our beloved Avila Community Members continue to share community stories, non-profits, and people living and thriving throughout this month’s issue. Mary Fappiano shares the success of the first Avila Beach Children’s Business Fair. Betty Hartig and Rick Cohen give us some history of Thanksgiving, and Dr. Cindy Maynard explains how “A Grateful Brain Makes You Happy.” As 2021 comes to an end, we are deeply grateful for the local businesses who continue to advertise, as well as all our community members who read and share our publications. Be sure to tell these locally owned businesses that you saw them in Avila Beach Life and thank them for bringing you all the community’s stories. Our company is growing, and for that, we are truly grateful. This month we added a

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new local publication to our media family, the Central Coast Journal. Tom and Julie Meinhold stewarded the iconic magazine, and we are honored to carry on the over 25-year-old legacy. We could not do any of this without our incredible team of professionals and look forward to what comes next. From all of us here at 13 Stars Media, we wish you a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Please stay safe, share love, and be a good human. We hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Avila Beach Life. Much love, Hayley & N ic

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November 2021 — Avila Beach Life | 3 FOUNDATION NEWS & VIEWS

A Thanksgiving to be Thankful For Rick Cohen AVILA BEACH FOUNDATION


reetings, fellow Avilones. Now that October is behind us, and the “kiddies” are loaded up with candy from Halloween, we shift our lives in preparation for the November Thanksgiving festivities. This means lavish turkey meals with all the fixings for many of us, and perhaps ham or family favorites for others. Out of curiosity, I visited the internet to acquire some history about the origins of Thanksgiving and found endless online representations. But for the sake of brevity, I copied the following description from the History Channel website, which informs us that “Thanksgiving became an annual custom throughout New England in the 17th century, and in 1777 the Continental Congress declared the first national American Thanksgiving following the Patriot victory at Saratoga. In 1789, President George Washington became the first president to proclaim a Thanksgiving holiday when, at the request of Congress, he proclaimed Nov. 26, a Thursday, as a day of national

Thanksgiving for the U.S. Constitution. However, it was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to officially fall on the last Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated nationally.” There is soooo much more online on this topic, but I leave that for you to research. Let’s face it. Nearly two full years into the Pandemic, it is not always easy to think of the things we are thankful for, but mental health professionals tell us that doing so is one of the best ways to deal with the “funk” looming over the lives of many. While our freedoms have been re-defined, at least temporarily, we are again able to enjoy a lot of the things we took for granted in the past, though with a tweak here and there. Perhaps we never fully appreciated those things until they were taken away from us. One day this health crisis will be behind us, and I hope we will have learned some valuable lessons that can be filed away for future benefit. Turning to something more uplifting, have you stopped by for a visit to the Central Coast Aquarium lately? In addition to other exciting things going on there, a new occupant arrived and set up home in the Octopus tank. According to the newsletter I received from the Aquarium, “Octopuses are highly intelligent invertebrates, and we are lucky enough to have a very special Pacific Red Octo-

pus (Octopus rubescens) named Ruby, right here at CCA! Small octopuses, like Ruby, are believed to have the intelligence level of a house cat while others, like the Giant Pacific Octopus, can be even more intelligent!” This tank was vacant for quite a while, even though the Avila Beach Community Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to the Aquarium in 2019 to complete the habitat. Unforeseen circumstances – including the Pandemic – caused a delay in acquiring a new resident, but no longer. Stop by and meet “Ruby.” Do you know how many tentacles “Ruby” has? In case you are wondering about the latest news regarding progress on the Avila Community Plan, SLO

County Planning Manager Arlin Singelwald recently sent a communication. We are told that due to the many comments, questions, and concerns about the Avila Plan draft, since it was released in May 2021, the matter is being put on pause until the County can conduct another round of in-person workshops. The recommendation to take this action will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 16. So, the clock continues to run while this long-awaited project plods forward. The reason for the delay is not necessarily a bad thing, but it would be nice to see more forward progress. With the December holidays fast approaching, I once again invite you

to consider a special gift for one or more of your Avila Beach family members or friends. Yes, this is an unabashed “commercial moment,” but worth your attention. Acquire this limited-edition License Plate Holder when you make a contribution in any amount to the “Avila Beach Public Art Development & Preservation Fund.” Send your check to: Avila Beach Community Foundation P.O. Box 297, Avila Beach, CA 93424 Be sure to include your contact information so we can arrange the delivery of your frame(s). That’s it for now, fellow Avilones. I wish you an enjoyable Thanksgiving celebration. See you at the beach!

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4 | Avila Beach Life — November 2021 A VIEW FROM THE BEACH

The Avila Beach Children’s Business Fair

Mary Foppiano

Avila Beach Civic Association


i All — Typically, my November column is dedicated to thanking all of the wonderful people who generously donate to the Avila Beach Civic Association to enable us to operate and maintain the Community Center. However, this month I want to tell you about the Avila Beach Children’s Business Fair that was put on by Kristen McKiernan and her family, friends, and many sponsors. The Avila Beach Children’s Business Fair took place on Saturday, Oct. 16, in the Healing Garden of the Avila Beach Community Center. The event featured children of ages 5-17 years old showcasing and selling products to the public that they made themselves. The goal of the event was to spark the spirit of young entrepreneurship and join together as a community to support our local youth and families in their dreams for the future. As part of the application process, the kids

had to come up with a product, brand, and marketing strategy for a one-day marketplace in which they were to keep all of the proceeds from their sales. There were over 37 booths representing kids from 23 different schools in our area, from Cayucos to Vandenburg… and the quality of the products and displays at each booth was nothing short of astounding! The kids sold everything from handmade jewelry, custom-planted succulents, homemade birdhouses, dog and cat toys and treats, hand-painted canvases, cookies and cupcakes, candles, crocheted crafts in all sorts of designs, and so much more! The event was free and open to the public, and the marketplace was packed with excited and impressed shoppers for the entire event. Shoppers engaged with the children asking questions about their products which made their faces light up with smiles, and their voices beam with pride as they explained their motivations behind their businesses and the pride in the products they were selling. Each participant received a signed certificate from all five of the SLO County Board of Supervisors. The booths were judged by Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg, Rick Cohen, Executive Director of the Avila Beach Community Foundation, and Mary Matakovich, Board Member of the Avila Beach Civic Association. Sixteen booths were chosen to win $50 each and a trophy. In addition, they were selected on the most original, highest busi-

ness potential, and best presentation. The four age groups were 5-7 years old, 8-10 years old, 11-13 years old, and 14-17 years old. Now the only question that is being asked is…will it happen again? Event organizer Kristen McKiernan stated, “The response to this event and the support of our community exceeded my expectation beyond measure. It was overwhelming, in a good way! This was the first time hosting an event like this in our community, but I am certain it won’t be our last. To join the mailing list to be notified of future fairs or events in our community, visit A special thanks to all of the event sponsors. This event could not have happened without them and the countless volunteers from parents, fellow students, community members, neighbors, and more. There is such power in the community!” SANTA’S DOGGIE PARADE

Santa’s Doggie Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 11 a.m. on the Avila Beach Promenade. There will be a costume contest with the categories that include: Best Costume, Best Dog/Owner Look-Alike, Best Holiday Look, Funniest Costume, and Best in Show. Participants must register and be checked in on the Promenade prior to the beginning of the parade, where they will each receive a yummy goodie bag from Petco—Avila Beach. For more information,


Bill and Marcia Ziegler

By MARY FOPPIANO For Avila Beach Life


ill Ziegler and his wife Marcia have grandchildren in San Luis Obispo, whom they visited regularly. When their son-in-law told them about beautiful Avila Beach…they investigated and were hooked, and they migrated from Madison, WI, as soon as they retired from their teaching jobs in Wisconsin. Bill taught physics and chemistry for almost forty years in the Madison area. Marcia was a reading specialist and, in that role, was instrumental in helping children who struggled in that all-important part of their education. In Bill’s opinion, he knows that her contribution to the education of children was exemplary. Bill and Marcia have three married daughters and ten grandchildren. They live near Annapolis, MD;

Albuquerque, NM; and San Luis Obispo. They have lived in Avila Beach for sixteen years and formed deep friendships with folks who care for each other. They have watched people come and go and realized that the only thing constant about being here is change. Bill has always enjoyed music and currently feels he has the privilege to play for folks at the beach and in our neighborhood. He plays every night from his deck to the enjoyment of all. He has also played at several of our events, including our Holiday Potluck and other events. He has said that it brightens his day to observe the impact that music has on our lives. Bill said that he spent time at our neighborhood pool. The moon and the beautiful planet Venus were visible in the evening sky, which reminded him of the many reasons he enjoys being here…the ample quiet time for reflection and thankfulness…and we are thankful for his generous spirit and melodies; he shares with all of us!



is our Pet of the Month! By MARY FOPPIANO


very dog is special, and we each have a favorite type of dog. Suzanne Treacher has always loved Longhair Dachshunds since she was a little girl. She had four prior to adopting Nabi, a sweet and very energetic 7-month-old Longhair Dachshund, whom she has had since she was 4-weeks old. Suzanne said that she got excited when she met a close relative of Nabi’s named Gus in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, she had to wait over a year before she could adopt her own Longhair Dachshund, but the wait was totally worthwhile!

Prior to moving to Avila Beach three years ago, Suzanne moved to San Luis Obispo from Southern California to be near her son and his family. Suzanne and Nabi are both very friendly and enjoy meeting new people and dogs, of course, on their long walks. Not that she has lots of free time for those walks because she is a pediatric physical therapist at the Central Coast Early Interventions and the Associates in Early Intervention. She is also volunteering at the Showers of Hope and their Fall Harvest to collect new undergarments, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, and toothbrushes.

NEXT MONTH’S ‘PET OF THE MONTH’ Please send me your pictures and a short paragraph about your pet to Thanks, and introduce us to your furry friend next month!

November 2021 — Avila Beach Life | 5 POINT SAN LUIS LIGHTSTATION

Point San Luis Keeper William Smith Commended and Reprimanded

hen Henry Young, Point San Luis’ first head Keeper, transferred to the Alcatraz light in 1905, William Smith replaced him. It was a promotion for Smith, who had spent the previous 11 years—except for a short stint at the Farallon Island lighthouse—as an assistant keeper at Point Arena. Smith’s service at Point San Luis was marked by loss, commendations, and criticism. He lost a wife, a daughter, and his health. He received recognition for how well he managed the light station but also a reprimand for harshly treating his two assistants. Smith was born in 1861. His family lived on a farm in Wisconsin until 1872 when they migrated to Chehalis County, Washington Territory. There, on 120 acres near the town of

Smith was transferred to the Farallons and promoted to first assistant in January 1901. Ten months later, he was transferred back to Point Arena. In November 1905, Smith was transferred again, assigned to Point San Luis, and promoted to Keeper. Six months after his transfer, Nannie died. The care of their offspring now fell solely to the Keeper, although no doubt Elsie, 22 years old when her mother passed away, helped keep house. It must have been a difficult time. Three years later, Smith remarried. The courtship was short. In August 1909, a local paper reported Mrs. Julia Gardner was visiting “El Pizmo” from Illinois. On September 5, she visited the lighthouse. On October 1, Smith married Mrs. Gardner, a “popular lady,” according to the local press, with “many friends in San Luis Obispo.” Smith’s children were popular, too, it seems, with the local papers often noting their comings and goings. Bessie, Edna, and Ralph attended San Luis High. Bessie and Edna graduated in 1908, then attended the State Normal School in San Jose to obtain their teaching credentials. Ralph graduated from San Luis High in 1911, then went to UC-Berkeley to study dentistry. By 1911, Edna had finished her studies and was teaching in Rucker, near Gilroy. By 1912, Bessie, too, had graduated and was teaching in Cayucos.

Undated photo of Nancy “Nannie” Lane Smith.

Undated photo of (left to right) Elsie, Edna, and Bessie Smith.

Undated photo of William Smith. Photos courtesy of Marjorie Fox, his great-granddaughter

Satsop, Smith’s father farmed raised livestock, and operated a dairy. In 1883, Smith married Nancy “Nannie” Lane in Chehalis. How and where they met is unknown. The Smiths had four children: Elsie, Bessie, Edna, and Ralph, born between 1884 and 1890. They must have moved around a bit. Elsie was born in Oregon; the rest of the children were born in California—Bessie, and Edna in Mendocino, Ralph in Fresno. In August 1894, district inspector Henry Nichols nominated Smith for a lightkeeper post; history does not record why. Smith’s own words do not help to explain. Asked about his qualifications, Smith wrote that he was “qualified by the habit of attending strictly to whatever duties I may have on hand, leading a temperate life.” He was assigned to Point Arena as third assistant keeper; promoted to second assistant in 1896.

In 1912, to promote “efficiency and friendly rivalry among lighthouse keepers,” the Bureau of Lighthouses introduced a system of efficiency stars and pennants as rewards for good lighthouse management: Keepers who have been commended for efficiency at each quarterly inspection during the year are entitled to wear the inspector’s star for the next year…The efficiency pennant, being the regular lighthouse pennant, is awarded to the station in each district, showing the highest efficiency for a year and may be flown during the succeeding year. Smith was commended for efficiency at each quarterly inspection that year and so was awarded the inspector’s star. Smith’s daughter Elsie married Alfred Howard in August 1913. That same month Smith was awarded the efficiency pennant. Sharing in that distinction were the two

month leave. In a June 9, 1920, letter to Smith, Rhodes approved his request and directed him to turn the station and all government property over to Silva, who was put in charge during Smith’s absence. Unfortunately, Smith’s health did not improve. During his leave, he submitted his resignation. This time he did not change his mind. George Watters arrived in July 1920 to take over the Keeper post. Smith’s lighthouse service career was over. Smith’s service at Point San Luis is left to the reader to judge. Did Smith deserve his commendations, or did they come at the expense of harshly treating his assistants? Did Silva and Greene give fair testimony, or did his two assistants turn against him for reasons we will never know? A version of this story appeared in the November–December 2017 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine.

Kathy Mastako

Board of Directors, Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers


assistant keepers, Antonio Silva and Bernard Linne. The district inspector, now Harry Willet Rhodes, wrote: The inspector takes pleasure in notifying you that your station has been awarded the efficiency pennant of this district, based on the marks for general efficiency given during fiscal year 1913 and that you are entitled to fly this pennant in the manner described by the regulations during fiscal year 1914. Rhodes also wrote: As you have been entitled to commendation for efficiency at each inspection of your station during the past year, you are authorized to retain the efficiency star awarded to you at the close of fiscal year 1912. In re-awarding you the efficiency star, the inspector again commends you for the efficient and conscientious manner in which you have discharged your duties during the year. Even though the girls no longer lived at the light station, they still came to visit. Elsie Smith Howard and her young son visited the lighthouse from her home in Lakeport in August 1915, along with Edna, who was still teaching in Gilroy, and Bessie, now teaching in Avila. That same year, Bessie developed heart trouble. However, the paper noted in October 1915 that she was improving and planned to visit her sisters Edna in San Jose and Elsie in Lakeport

as soon as she was able. In November 1915, Smith traveled to San Francisco to take temporary charge of the lighthouse exhibit at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Bessie accompanied her father as far as San Jose so she could stay with Edna to recuperate. In March 1916, Smith took a trip to San Jose to visit the still-ailing Bessie. When he returned, he reported she was much improved but would continue to stay up north. Bessie Smith did not get better, contrary to her father’s belief when he saw her in March. She was moved from her sister’s home to San Jose’s Garden City Sanitarium, where she died on September 4, 1916. She was thirty years old. At some point in 1917, if not earlier, Smith’s two assistant keepers appear to have turned against him. Things came to a head early the following year. In a letter dated January 2, 1918, former second assistant Wheeler Greene filed

charges against Smith. While the specific allegations Greene made are unknown, a report made by Silva gave evidence that Smith had, on numerous occasions, oppressed the assistant keepers by enforcing petty rules and regulations and, Rhodes wrote, “by actions which placed your own personal wishes and convenience ahead of the interests of the Government in the conduct of your station.” Silva told Rhodes that on December 31, 1917, when he was going on watch, Smith spoke to him as if he were “not a human being,” said he would not be friends with Silva, that he had gotten rid of one man (presumably Greene) and intended to “finish it up.” In a letter written January 10, 1918, Rhodes gave Smith a stern warning, hinting at dismissal if the Keeper failed to stop treating his assistants the way he had been and calling his attention to lighthouse service instructions that “superiors of every grade are forbidden to oppress those under them by tyrannical conduct or by abusive language.” In response, on January 12, Smith submitted his resignation to take effect, he wrote, March 31, 1918. Then, on February 2, having had second thoughts, Smith requested his resignation be withdrawn. The lighthouse service agreed. By 1920, Smith’s health was declining. In May, due to poor health, he applied for a three-

6 | Avila Beach Life — November 2021 A VIEW FROM THE BEACH

Turkey Time, Gobble Gobble

Female (left) and male (right) turkey can be seen all along the Bob Jones Trail scratching the leaf litter looking for acorns and small stones to aid in digestions. Contributed photos

By BETTY HARTIG For Avila Beach Life


t is November, turkey time! There are plenty of wild turkeys roaming around the wooded areas of Avila. You can hear their comical sounding gobble, gobble, and even spot them trekking the Bob Jones Pathway. These turkeys, however, are not the kind to roast for your Thanksgiving dinner, but it is especially enjoyable to see them during November, the famed Thanksgiving month. California’s wild turkey population, which is about a quarter-million or more, can be found just about everywhere in the state, but they favor the woodland areas such as those located along the outskirts of Avila, including the Bob Jones Trail. Present-day wild turkeys are not native to California. They are a subspecies from the southwest introduced to California by the California Fish and Game Commission from 1959 through 1999. The turkeys easily acclimated to the state due to their curious appetite. Wild turkeys are omnivores and therefore have a wide-ranging appetite. Seeds, berries, roots, insects, and even small reptiles are meal choices. In the fall and winter, turkeys scratch

the forest ground looking for acorns to nibble. Like most birds, they swallow little stones and grit to help digest food. It is interesting to note that wild turkeys now occupy about 18 percent of our state. That is a lot of turkeys! They can live almost anywhere: agricultural fields, orchards, golf courses, state parks, and even university campuses. Wild turkeys live in 49 of the 50 states. Alaska is the only wild turkey-free zone. Wild turkeys roam a mile or two in one day, depending on the water and food sources. The annual home range of wild turkeys varies from 370 to 1,360 acres. That range contains a mixture of trees and grasses. Turkey flocks, called a rafter, usually will stay in the same general areas. Turkeys spend most of the day on the ground, but at night they sleep in trees. Sleeping in trees provides protection from predators. They fly up to roost at dusk and fly down at dawn. Are you wondering why they do not fall while sleeping in the trees? They squat down, which makes their toes wrap around the roosting branch. The birds will not fall out of the tree nor be pushed down by a strong wind. Turkeys that live in the wild weigh from five to twenty pounds. Domestic turkeys, which are specially bred, can weigh twice as much. There

are approximately 5,500 feathers on an adult wild turkey, including 18 tail feathers that make up the male’s fan. Most of their plumage has an iridescent sheen. A wild turkey’s head and facial wattle can change color in seconds with emotion or excitement. It can be red, pink, white or blue. The snood, which is the flap of skin that hangs down over a turkey’s bill, can change color too. Additionally, the snood can change its size and shape depending upon activities or mood. It is best to keep a safe distance from wild turkeys during the spring breeding season. Males can become aggressive and occasionally even charge at people. Be sure to give them plenty of room while hiking. Wild turkeys have powerful legs and can run up to 25 miles per hour. Surprisingly, wild turkeys can fly, but only for short distances. That skill allows them to move through open spaces more easily. They also fly when threatened. Often, they will cruise low through the forest canopy or fly up to perch for the night. Males display their feathered fans to attract females. Courting males also sway a potential mate by gobbling. That sound works as a warning for competing males too. However, that is not the only sound they make; turkeys cluck and purr too. A fascinating tidbit, turkey

droppings tell a bird’s sex and age. Male droppings are j-shaped; female droppings are spiralshaped. The larger the diameter, the older the bird. Nature certainly is amazing! It is interesting to note that hens lay one egg a day until 10 to 12 eggs have been laid. The incubation time averages 28 days. The eggs hatch in late May or early June. Only 10 to 40 percent of eggs successfully hatch. Despite being born with feathers, baby turkeys, called poults, are unable to fly during the first four weeks of life and must rely on their mother for protection. Like most wildlife, many young are born, but the survival rate is low. Wild turkey eggs and poults are threatened by several predators such as raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, owls, and mountain lions, all of which are abundant in Avila’s forestry areas. Twenty-five percent of poults make it past their first month. Avila’s ample turkey population adds to the intriguing bird habitat that surrounds the area. Although they are not exactly what you expect to see in a beach town, they are amusing to view. Take time to enjoy all the wildlife that resides in Avila Beach. It is a wonder that turkeys do not comb the beach ingesting sand for their digestive needs.


A Grateful Brain Makes You Happier

Dr. Cindy Maynard contributor


efore diving into the Thanksgiving turkey and trimmings this year, many of us will go round the table and share what we are grateful for. And in that moment of sharing, we will receive a multitude of blessings. Gratitude, derived from the Latin word gratia, means thankfulness. The science of positive psychology shows that practicing gratitude literally rewires the neural structures in our brain. The region of the brain that lights up when we practice gratitude is the prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with the reward or pleasure centers or areas that control stress, emotional regulation, and pain relief. Psychologically, gratitude improves our overall mental health and, as a result, our relationship with others. Physically, it strengthens our immune

system, improves our sleep patterns, and allows habitual. Tell them what a great job they us to feel more optimistic and joyful. Gratitude are doing. I’ll never forget the story of a is a natural antidepressant. therapist friend who stated she was in the It’s easy to be grateful when things are going hospital last year for back surgery. As she our way. But how do we stay grateful in all was recovering and walking the hallways times and circumstances? Especially stressful with her IV stand, she literally stopped and ones like this past year that our world expethanked each person at the nursing station rienced with Covid, or when we’re depressed for taking care of her, how much a positive or anxious? Cultivating a continual sense of difference it made in her recovery, and how gratitude takes time and practice. It’s similar to she appreciated them putting their lives on strengthening our muscles when we go to the the line working during the challenging, gym or exercise. Typically, our brain defaults to stressful time of Covid. She stated one of the negative. Happy people don’t label a setback the nurses literally broke down and cried, as “bad.” Rather, they say, “There’s something saying she has never in her career had a better for me out there.” patient be so grateful for her services. If we do this, our attitude changes. This 2. Write an email or letter of gratitude to happens because we are retraining our brains someone who had a profound impact on to think in a different way. your life or someone who is never propJay Shetty, bestselling author of Think Like a erly thanked for their service or behavior. Monk, states that when he was in the ashram, 3. Keep a gratitude journal. At the end of the monks begin their day by flipping over their the day, make a list of all the things that sleeping mats and paying respects to the earth, went “right” that day or, if you prefer, what appreciating all the gifts it continues to give us, happened that week that made you gratefor the sun and light, the ground we walk on, ful. Remind yourself of the gifts, benefits, and the air we breathe. Here are some other and grace of the good things you enjoy. fairly simple ways to harness the lasting beneThis guards against the brain adapting and fits of gratitude: taking our comforts for granted. 1. Say thank you. Say thank you to your serv- 4. Share your gratitude with others. Start ers, counter people, healthcare personnel, business meetings with “What went well” or people who wait on you until it becomes this week? I teach a Stress Management

online for seniors, and one of our classes is about gratitude. Each person goes around the zoom room and shares what they are grateful for. And as you can imagine, they don’t express gratitude for how many hours they worked or how much money they have. The next time you make a phone call to a friend or family member, ask them what they are most grateful for. You’ll be amazed at their answers! This is especially important on days when you find your mood is not exactly stellar or you find gratitude difficult. 5. Share your gratitude on social media— a nice change from a platform which can oftentimes be negative. The Gratitude Journal app literally prompts you to think about feeling grateful and finding gratitude for new things each day. We deserve to be happy. The benefits of gratitude can last a lifetime. Building our capacity for gratitude isn’t difficult. But it takes practice. Just don’t wait until Thanksgiving to talk about what you’re grateful for. There’s no moment like right now to give thanks. Cindy Maynard, Ph.D., RD, is a health psychologist, registered dietitian, and health and fitness writer. She is passionate about fitness, wellness and motivating people towards better health. You can contact her at

November 2021 — Avila Beach Life | 7

Local Businesses Make Army Armor OCS/Vietnam Reunion a Huge Success

John Salisbury contributor


his month’s column, I want to extend my utmost appreciation to several local businesses that made our Army Armor OCS/Vietnam Reunion so successful the third week in October. Maridel and I hosted a dozen classmates, plus wives, to a week in our beautiful Avila Valley. We especially appreciated the many discounts and perks all these fine businesses gave to the group. Once I mentioned Vietnam Veterans, it was like I said a magic word, and they all went out of their way to honor our service in a challenging time. They include the San Luis Bay Inn for lodging, followed by the last night at Courtyard by Marriott, “Meet and Greet” at Mr. Ricks, private Lighthouse tour, winery tour, and box lunch at Kelsey’s

See Canyon Winery catered by Trish Jacobs of Paso Catering, Apple Barn visit, a Pacific Coast Sunset Santa Maria Style BBQ at Spyglass Inn with great comps as well at Novo the next night. Because our Tanya Tucker performance was canceled as well a play at the San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre and nothing else available, we rented the Rep for our own show and lined up Brynn Albanese, a local Violinist, for a fantastic hour show, and the use of the stage for each of us to speak about what we did in the service after graduation and in life interspersed with singalongs ending with “God Bless the USA” – naturally. Then a private tour of the Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles, over to the San Simeon Pier for a box lunch, elephant seals, Morro Bay walkabout at the scenic fishing fleet, cocktail party at our home, followed by the SLO Thursday Night Market. We finished throwing axes into the targets at Battle Ax – that was hilarious watching a bunch of 80-year-olds, after a few adult beverages, trying to stick axes. The latent warrior mentality came out for sure! Vietnam Era Vets did not get a warm welcome home, nor have our Afghanistan comrades, it appears,

so it was heartwarming that these fine establishments went a long way to help soothe that wound. All of us were married, college graduates, and into our business careers which we thought in 1966 would put us low on the list for the draft. Instead, we found out it put us near the top of the list because they were drafting so many kids, the Army desperately needed young mature Army officers to take control of the training companies for Basic Training (Boot Camp), Advanced Individual Training (AIT), and Officer Candidate School (OCS). Many of us had two years of ROTC training that was required at the UC and State Universities at the time, so another reason to induct us. Most of us stayed stateside as company commanders and instructors, and of the ones that did go over, we had one casualty and several severely wounded, especially the helicopter pilots. We started with 120 in our class and ended up with ninety-one graduating, and since then, we have lost twenty-two with several in declining health. The group coming to the Reunion three months ago was thirty-five, but doctors nixed participation for a dozen because of compromising health problems

and not to risk flying in from all over the country because of Covid. The big incentive to graduate was that anyone that flunked out, because of our familiarity and understanding of machine guns, especially the famous .50 caliber still in use today, found themselves over a rice paddy staring out an open helicopter door behind one within the month. That job was rated as one of the worst places to be in the war. Most of us had not seen each other for 55 years, but as the war stories of our ten months of hell started flowing, it was like it was just yesterday. There really is a “Band of Brothers” bonding that happens in the service. I cannot remember when I laughed and hooted so much in a long time. Personally, I stayed stateside at Ft. Knox the whole time in the service. In Basic Training, as a farm boy who grew up with rifles, pistols, and shotguns, I took “Top Gun” in the M-1 qualification out of 213 recruits that happened literally in a snowstorm – I missed a couple of targets because I could not see the darn silhouettes! For my effort, I got an unheard-of weekend pass in the middle of Boot Camp! That effort pegged me for staying at the Armor School in the Weapons Department running

tank firing ranges and classroom instruction to OCS candidates and other ranks on all types of tank weapons, ammunition, firing techniques, and writing Training Manuals. The one manual that kept me from going to Vietnam because I was scheduled to go as soon as I got my 1st Lieutenant bar was for a new Top-Secret tank that fired a round with no shell casing. Everything went out the barrel, and it also could interchangeably fire a TOW missile. A captain, West Point graduate, and I were the only ones at Ft. Knox allowed to fire the darn thing which could not hit the broad side of the barn. When in the middle of testing and writing the manual, he got orders back to Vietnam, leaving me to finish up, which took an extra month. That left me less than 11 months to my discharge and too short for the 12-month tour of duty to take the trip overseas. They made a couple of hundred of the light tanks, M551, that saw little combat time, and not much later, the tank was discontinued being manufactured. For me, it was a fantastic, life-changing time to become more grounded, better well rounded, disciplined to an extent possible, and proud to this day to be an American Soldier.


Cheers to Food, Family and Friends This Thanksgiving dishes and three different vegetable dishes because she just wanted to try the recipes. It was a Thanksgiving buffet to remember, and none of us complained! I have located the following recipes for you to consider adding to your menu this year. If you prefer, From the Kitchen of a mix of young, tender salad greens can be used in place of watercress, and Bosc pears can stand in for Bartletts in the salad. Be sure to t’s November, a beautiful purchase the pears several days month in this part of our ahead and let them ripen a bit county. The deciduous trees on your kitchen counter or near a drop their colorful leaves, and the kitchen window. Mild Gorgonzola mighty Oaks drop their acorns, can replace the goat cheese. The often hitting my car like a bullet salad can be plated individually or as I drive through the country. served from a large bowl. Toss with After we gather and give the vinaigrette just before serving. thanks for our many blessings on Thanksgiving Day, it’s all about WATERCRESS, PEAR, AND GOAT CHEESE food, family, and friends. When SALAD WITH SHERRY VINAIGRETTE it comes to the food, I’ve always Ingredients: noticed that the turkey or the ham • 3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears is usually traditionally the same, juice from ½ medium lemon but the “sides” vary, depending on • 2 or 3 bunches watercress, long the cook. stems removed (about 8 cups) Magazines at the check-out • ½ cup dried pitted sweet chercounter of the grocery store vie for ries your attention with new recipes for For the Vinaigrette: those sides. • 6 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil I remember a Thanksgiving • 2 Tbs sherry wine vinegar when our daughter-in-law, Shan- • ½ tsp salt non, served three different potato • Ground pepper to taste


Barbie Butz

• 5 oz. semi-firm mild-aged goat cheese, cut into small pieces Directions: Peel, halve, and core pears. Cut each half into 4 wedges. As pears are cut, place in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Add watercress and cherries. To make vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper until blended— drizzle vinaigrette over watercress mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Divide salad evenly among 6 individual plates. Add goat cheese to salads, distributing evenly. Serve immediately. Note: An easy way to core a pear is to cut it in half and use a rounded metal measuring teaspoon or melon baller to scoop out the core. BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH PISTACHIOS AND LIME

Ingredients: • 2 lbs small brussels sprouts, trimmed • 3 Tbs vegetable oil • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper • 3 Tbs unsalted butter • 3 Tbs raw pistachios • 2 Tbs date molasses or honey • 1 tsp honey • Zest of ½ lime

• 2 Tbs fresh lime juice • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes • Lime wedges for serving (optional) Directions: Place oven rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450 degrees. Toss brussels sprouts and oil in large bowl to coat; season with salt and pepper. Toast brussels sprouts on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes, then shake baking sheet to loosen them. Continue to roast until deeply browned all over, 5-10 minutes longer. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and roast another 10 minutes. Shake baking sheet again, then roast brussels sprouts until the tip of a small knife easily slides through, 5-10 minutes longer. Cook-time will be 35-45 minutes. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. When butter starts to foam, add pistachios and pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often until nuts are golden brown and butter solids are browned about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer nuts to paper towels to cool. Coarsely chop and set aside. Bring date molasses, honey, and lime juice to a simmer in same skillet over medium heat, swirling

pan to emulsify. Add 1 tablespoon water and swirl to emulsify, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add brussels sprouts; toss to coat. Transfer brussels sprouts to a platter. Toss nuts, lime zest, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl to combine; scatter over brussels sprouts. Serve with lime wedges if desired. Note: Rather than al dente brussels sprouts, this recipe asks that they be well-cooked. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Remember that no matter what you serve, whether it’s hamburgers or turkey, it’s being together with those you love that really counts. A pumpkin pie can’t hurt, though! Cheers!

8 | Avila Beach Life — November 2021

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