HORSE’S MOUTH: Memories of Heart Mountain

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

Needless to say, a lot of folks were stunned to learn that the U.S. Postal Service announced that it will cease Saturday delivery of mail beginning in August.

Two people sent me emails about the announcement. One, of course, was Rafu’s English Editor Gwen Muranaka and the other Iku Kiriyama, who frequently contributes her writing to the publication.

If the Postal Service does indeed shut down Saturday delivery, it will have a huge effect on The Rafu because it means that the newspaper will have to change its Saturday publication date or cancel that date.

If that happens, I will have to consider what I can do since one of my two weekly columns appears in the Saturday edition. Perhaps I might consider hanging ’em up, as I have said frequently in recent years.

Well, I have until August to decide on my future with The Rafu. I will discuss this issue with Publisher Mike Komai and Editor Gwen.

I will be adding another year in July, so in August, I will be way beyond my “retirement age.”

Readers of my column know that I did “retire” back in 1990 when The Kashu Mainichi, where I was employed, shut down and sold the publication, making my retirement announcement rather easy.

At that time, The Rafu invited me to join their staff, which I agreed to do.

So now, over 20 years later, I will have to make a decision on my future with this publication.

Well, let me get on with today’s column since I’ll have a lot of time to make the decision.

Gee, would you believe it that it’s been almost four months since my last visit to my favorite city? Yeah, I’m talking about Las Vegas and the California Hotel.

I was reminded of this when I contacted The Cal and was asked, “Where have you been?”

One of the reasons, I guess, was because everyone was celebrating Christmas and New Year’s over the past few months.

Well, the streak will be broken in two weeks since I’ll be leaving on Feb. 24 and return on Feb. 27. That is, if I don’t go broke before my scheduled departure.

Yes, the reason I’m going is because my sister from Northern California is coming to Vegas and it’s a lot easier to meet her in Sin City than driving all the way to Mountain View.

I don’t usually run what I call “laughers” so early in my column, but a reader who signs his email with “Retired Mas” sent me the following, which begins with “The Japanese Elbow,” so I thought I would toss it in a bit early. It goes:

“A Japanese grandmother is giving directions to her grown grandson who is coming to visit with his wife.

“You come to the front door of the apartment. I am in apartment 301. There is a big panel at the front door. With your elbow, push button 301. I will buzz you in. Come inside. The elevator is on the right. Get in and with your elbow hit my doorbell.”

“Grandma, that sounds easy, but why am I hitting all these buttons with my elbow?”

“What, you’re coming empty-handed?”

My old friend Supervisor Mike Antonovich emailed me a bit of information that the reading audience might find to be useful. Here is what Mike sent me:

“Cell phones will be going public this week.

“All cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start receiving cell calls. To prevent these calls using your cell phone, call 888-382-1222. It’s a national do-not-call number. It will take only a moment of your time and will block your number for five years. You must use your cell phone to block your number. You cannot use a call from another number to block your cell phone.”

I called this service and my cell phone doesn’t ring except for those I have on my phone list.

I want to thank Mike for giving me this information.

Since I’m having so many problems with my computer and the serviceman said he can’t come over to solve my problems until the end of the week, you’ll have to excuse me until next Tuesday for tossing in a lot of junk that I hope will entertain you until I get back on track.

So here is a blonde joke to help me move along:

Carol, a nice blonde, buys a new automatic Jaguar sports car. She drives the car perfectly well during the day. But at night, the car just won’t move at all.

After trying to drive the car at night for a week without any luck, she furiously calls the Jaguar dealer, who sends out a technician.

The technician examines the car and finds nothing wrong with it. So he turns to the blonde and asks, “Ma’am, are you sure you are using the right gears?”

Full of anger, the blonde replies, “How on earth can you ask such a question? I’m not stupid, you know. Of course I’m using the right gears. I use ‘D’ during the day and ‘N’ at night.”

Heh, heh.

For the older Nisei who spent time in a relocation center, memories of those days pop into mind when we come across articles that were written then.

I come across a lot of these, including some who wrote poetry about our memories.

I don’t know if one composed by Miyuki Aoyama was ever published by me, but I’ll toss it in because of my computer problems. It is entitled “Memories.”

When you are old, and you have lived your life,
and all your work is done and you are free to dream old dreams
and slumber by the fire, what are the images that you shall see?
Will you remember this: once long ago
You lived and went to school where everyone
was your race; and everywhere you looked
You saw black hair, brown eyes and had begun
to feel that it was too monotonous
And secretly rebelled and staunchly planned
To just as soon as school was through — escape
To seek your niche somewhere beyond that strand
of narrowed earth — Heart Mountain, it was called
And, short time after you’d received
your graduation slip, you fled the camp
You went with joy, and left your parents grieved
They could not understand your restless heart,
And you could not express your born desire.
To live your life as you saw fit, to be at liberty
to come and go; to fire your old ambition
into a brighter flame;
This you could not, closed in by a fence and so you left
Goodbyes ran in your ear,
and you bid your friends farewell with just a sense
of sense of swift remorse, but firmly made it veiled
underneath your smile. And thus you left the now
familiar world behind
When you are old and lived your life
and all your work is done, and you are free
to dream old dreams — will you be satisfied
with what your still remembering heart shall see?

Another funny story that was sent to me:

It happened at a New York airport. This is hilarious. I wish I had the guts of this girl.

An award should go to the United Airlines gate agent in New York for being smart and funny, while making her point, when confronted with a passenger who probably deserved to fly as cargo. For all you out there who have had to deal with an irate customer, this one is for you.

A crowded United Airlines flight was canceled. A single agent was rebooking a long line of inconvenienced travelers.

Suddenly, an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket on the counter and said, “I HAVE to be on this flight and it has to be FIRST CLASS.”

The agent replied, “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll be happy to try to help you, but I’ve got to help these folks first; and then I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out.”

The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly so that the passengers behind him could hear, “Do you have any idea who I am?”

Without hesitating, the agent smiled and grabbed her public address microphone. “May I have your attention, please?” she began, her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal.  “We have a passenger here at Gate 14 who does not know who he is. If anyone can help him with his identity, please come to Gate 14.”

With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the agent, gritted his teeth and said, “F*** you!”

Without flinching, she smiled and said, “I’m sorry, sir, you’ll have to get in line for that, too.”

Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via e-mail at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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1 Comment

  1. Cell Phones WILL NOT be going public this week. Does this column do any fact checking at all? Or do you publish all spam that your friends email you? A simple Google search reveals deadline publications of cell phones have been flooding people’s inboxes since 2004. Rather than continue spreading this tripe, why not inform the public more on the actual FCC regulations and what people can do if they continue to receive illegal telemarketing calls from criminals or bots? Sadly, not much except report the number to the FCC via their website.
    Luckily, that is the true number for the Fed’s Do Not Call List. What if your “friend” had sent you spam with a different number that charged people for that call?

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