Article from the 12/21/2017 Avalon Bay News

From March 10, 2014-March 16, 2017, when I was "Catalina's Official Greeter", through the Catalina Chamber Of Commerce, I answered 64,590 questions from the cruise ships' and cross channel boats' passengers.  That amounts to greeting approximately 650,000 visitors!  Here are some of the inquiries I had to address (additional ones,
"Here I am stuck in Avalon and I wanted to go to Catalina Island!"
"Is the sunrise the same time here as it is on the Mainland?"
Getting off the cruise ship and looking toward Avalon, "Is THIS all the town there is!?!"
Overhead this while watching our "Halloween Parade":  "This was really great, but from where did they import all of the kids?"
"Do you have any ants on the Island?"
1.  Pick up your own trash and at least one other's each day.  I saw a wonderful friend walking up to Hog's Back picking up trash in a plastic bag.  I know she doesn't want any credit for it, but her initials are K. O.
2.  Pick up your dog's poop and keep them leashed (not the poop, but the dogs) when outside.  IT IS THE LAW!
3.  Return your grocery carts to the front of Von's after you have loaded your stuff in your vehicles.  All of these carts along Metropole are making is look really trashy!
4.  Thank those who work to keep our town looking as good as it is.  IMAGINE IF THEY DIDN'T!  They deserve acknowledgement and praise from ALL of us!
5.  Offer to give a ride to those of us who are walking up hills with groceries and/or baggage, even if you don't know us!
6.  Invite locals who are having tough financial and/or personal issues to share dinner with you and your family.  NOT just for the holidays, but all year round.  Great way to get to know each other better.
7.  Support as many local programs as possible!  We are SO LUCKY to have dedicated Islanders who bring SO MUCH to us and we need to show our interest or THEY WILL STOP!
(other suggestions appreciated!
I am one of those who has A LOT OF TROUBLE getting through from Halloween to New Years and have found over the years that concentrating on others and NOT myself is one of the keys to the answer.  Here are some things that I have ENJOYED doing recently.
1.  Volunteered to help out with the "Christmas Bird Count For Kids" put on by the Conservancy.  There were 10 kids, 3-12; 12 parents; 4 volunteers; and 4 bird enthusiasts.  In all, approximately 90 birds and 30 species were observed.  GREAT FUN!  Something WONDERFUL came out of it.  I drove one of the vehicles and had 3 young boys and their mother with me.  When I brought them back to Avalon, the boys came up to me and THANKED ME FOR DRIVING THEM INTO THE INTERIOR!  Boy, THAT MADE MY DAY AND HOLIDAY!  THANKS!
2.  Worked with GREAT friends to help serve 100's of hot Christmas Dinners through the Community Church!  Don't know how many were served, but at least 60 were taken directly to those who are confined to their homes!  FELT SO MUCH THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS:  TO SERVE THOSE IN NEED!
3.  Even with my BAD VOICE, I can't wait to join old and new friends for the yearly "Community Christmas Sing Along" at the Catholic Church today!  SO MUCH FUN AND ENTHUSIASM!
4.  Still 10 days left until New Year's.  Any other suggestions?
Last week I shared my deep feelings for the ocean (this and other past columns, and how it sometimes proved to be my ONLY FRIEND!  I would like to share some more experiences I have had with this "basis for all life".
I have been "told" that I started swimming at around 18 months!  As our ocean on the leeward side is so calm, my folks would simply put me down near the water's edge and "let me do my thing".  That translated into just getting used to the feeling of the water and then adventuring out by crawling to the edge, getting splashed, crawling away, crawling back, over and over until I decided to venture into the aqua!  For some reason, I have ALWAYS enjoyed swimming more like a dolphin (my FAVORITE animal) UNDER the water, than above.  This served me well when I eventually decided to become a coin diver. My friend,  "Duke" Fishman, nick named me "Champ" for my swimming prowess and took credit for teaching me this art, as he had for countless others.  Unfortunately, for once, I will have to disagree with him as he really didn't have much to do with it, except encouragement which, I guess, is pretty significant in itself!
Two of my favorite ocean experiences occurred in 1979 and 2002.  This first encounter was when I went on a South Pacific Cruise with my father, Orval, just a short time before he passed away in March, 1981.  He had ALWAYS wanted to go on this adventure with me and my brother, but as my brother, Bill, had committed suicide in January, 1974, Dad thought he would NEVER be able to go, especially when he had suffered a major stroke and heart attack.  BUT GO WE WENT!  What totally AMAZED me, as we approached some of these remarkable islands (the BEST way to approach Islands in by sea, if you are able) was seeing waves breaking miles away from any land!  I was not familiar with "reefs", as we don't have them occurring very often around our Channel Islands.  These phenomenons of nature were majestic and so "out of place" that I would gaze at them longer than I want to admit.
The second amazing experience occurred when I went to Nome, Alaska, 2002, with two wonderful friends, Hal Franks, and Carolyn Bostrom Renton, to experience the world famous "Iditarod Dog Sled Race" (by the way, Carolyn turned 96 years young in August.  She always said that she was born old, "but youthing every year"!  To see her, I DON'T DISAGREE!).  While everyone else was standing around waiting for the magnificent dog teams to arrive at the finish line, I discovered that the Bering Sea had frozen over (it was March) and so I could experience literally "walking on the water!"  I was warned NOT to venture out alone, as the chances of falling through the snow 40 feet to the ocean below might occur and a need for backup to pull me out would be necessary.  As I couldn't find anyone crazy enough to go with me, I had to take my chances!  REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE, BUT DON'T DO IT ALONE!  A couple of times I sank to my waist, but was able to free myself.  WOULDN'T TRY IT AGAIN UNAIDED!  I would like to hear about your ocean experiences and would love to share them in this column, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..