Jeff Jardine: Modesto makes list of worst places to retire

jjardine@modbee.comJanuary 6, 2014 

  • MY BUDDIES AND ME 1945

    WE LAY AT REST IN A SANDY KNOLL,

    ON AN OCEAN CRADELED, PACAFIC ISLE.

    OUR WORK IS DONE, OUR SPIRIT’S FREE,

    PLEASE MOVE US NOT FROM WHERE WE WISH TO BE.

    WE WERE BORN IN A COUNTRY WHERE FREEDOM BELLS TOLL,

    WE WERE RAISED IN THE SHADOW OF OLD GLORY.

    DO YOU THINK IT’S STRANGE THAT WE’D RATHER STAY,

    IN A FIELD OF FRANCE, OR BY NAPLE’S CALM BAY?

    LISTEN MY PEOPLE, AND UNDERSTAND

    WE DIED TO FREE THIS VERY LAND.

    TO MAKE IT LIKE OURS IN EVERY WAY,

    WHERE MEN COULD LIVE IN PEACE, WE PRAY.

    THROUGH MUCK AND MIRE AND TROPICAL HEAT,

    THROUGH RAIN AND SLEET AND SNOW,

    WE LIVED TOGETHER AND FOUGHT TOGETHER,

    AGAINST SOMETHING WE KNEW MUST GO.D NOW DEAR FRIENDS,

    WE STORMED THE BEACHES AND WADED THE PONDS,

    WE CRAWLED THROUGH THE VALLEYS TO THE MOUNTAINS BEYOND

    MY BUDDIES AND I, WE TOOK IT IN STRIDE,

    ALWAYS TOGETHER, SIDE BY SIDE.

    AND WHEN IN THE END OUR NUMBER WAS CALLED

    OUR WORK ON EARTH WAS OVER

    ARM IN ARM WE STROLLED UP THAT PATH

    TO WHERE PEACE AND FELLOWSHIP WILL FOREVER LAST.

    AND NOW DEAR FRIENDS, DO YOU UNDERSTAND,

    WHY WE’D RATHER STAY IN THIS FAR AWAY LAND,

    WE WERE TOGETHER IN LIFE, NOW IN DEATH WE DO LIE,

    PLEASE DON’T TAKE US APART, MY BUDDIES AND I.

    Wm. D, Goodridge QM2

    PCE 873 (Patrol Craft Escort)

From the emails and voice mails:

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER LIST – This time, it’s grandparents.com’s Seven Worst Places to Retire, as reported on huffingtonpost.com. The group listed Modesto third, behind St. Louis, Mo., and Las Vegas, and followed by Atlanta, Houston, Miami and Little Rock.

Here’s how it justified Modesto’s inclusion:

“With access to beaches, mountains and some of the best wineries in the country, the Golden State might seem like an appealing place to retire. Unfortunately, not all California cities are made equal. With one of the highest foreclosure rates in the U.S., Modesto’s proximity to Yosemite National Park isn’t enough to make up for its failing economy and high air pollution rate – it’s ranked sixth most-polluted city in the country, according to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air.”

The surveyors didn’t appear to take the Valley’s lower cost of living into consideration.

Virtually all of the cities on the list have high crime, high foreclosure or dwelling vacancy rates, etc. Las Vegas also was dinged for having poor access to doctors, according to the survey.

SCAM, ACTUALLY – Reader Bob Moore received a monthly “bill,” purportedly from Atmos Energy for natural gas. It didn’t seem right, and unless you actually are an Atmos customer with an actual account and actually live east of the Rockies or west of the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia, it isn’t. PG&E provides natural gas service throughout Central California and most of Northern California.

The actual Atmos company addressed the bogus billing on its website. “Atmos Energy is warning the public of a scam targeting our natural gas utility customers, as well as people we do not serve in several states. The fraudulent emails are coming from an email address not affiliated with Atmos Energy. The fraudulent billing message references a fake account number and contains links to spam. If the account number displayed in the email does not match your Atmos Energy account number or the email appears suspicious, please do not click on any hyperlinks. Instead, visit www.atmosenergy.com and log into your account to review your statements.”

So if you receive gas bills from Atmos – and actually pay them – you’re getting scammed or you live really far from here.

VERSES LEFT BEHIND – Flora Goodridge of Modesto recently sent me a couple of poems written by her late husband, Bill Goodridge, a quartermaster in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War.

“He was very prolific with his poetry, but it was mostly for his own enjoyment and for those to whom he wrote the poems,” she said in an email.

In one, titled “My Buddies and Me 1945,” he argues that buddies killed on foreign soil should remain there rather than being brought home.

“Do you think it’s strange that we’d rather stay / In a field of France, or by Naples’ calm bay? / Listen my people and understand / We died to free this very land / To make it like ours in every way / Where men could live in peace, we pray.”

And in “Give Thanks This Thanksgiving Day” (1951), he wrote, “The ones we love, so far away / Aren’t dodging bombs this Thanksgiving Day / They may not be rich, but they are far from poor / And they need not fear that knock on the door.”

You can read the poems in their entirety at modbee.com.

Goodridge died July 30 at 88. His wife and other family members will meet in Hawaii this spring for a celebration of his life and to spread his ashes.

IN MEMORY – After 9-year-old Mariah Izzo of Manteca died Christmas Eve from injuries suffered in a car accident two days earlier, five other children benefited from her organs. Now, Health Donor is hoping to raise money to help the Izzo family pay expenses. Visit healthdonor.com and click on “Keep on Living” to see a video about Mariah, along with information on how to contribute. As of Monday afternoon, the site had generated $2,860 toward its $10,000 goal.

Bee columnist Jeff Jardine can be reached at jjardine@modbee.com or (209) 578-2383. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJardine57.

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