Lorraine’s Lowdown: Near year’s Swede | TheUnion.com

Lorraine’s Lowdown: Near year’s Swede

Lorraine Jewett
Special to The Union
Four generations gathered to celebrate the 97th birthday of Oscar "Swede" Engstrom. Top row, from left: Tanner Quiggle, Colby Quiggle, Cali Smith, Jan Engstrom and Justin Quiggle. Bottom row, from left:  Nic Smith, Oscar "Swede" Engstrom and Heather Quiggle.
Submitted to The Union

Who Is Still Writing 2019 instead of 2020 on their checks? I’m guilty…

New Year’s Eve is a distant memory, and the new year is in full swing. Loyal reader Craig Steiger observes, “2020 glides onto the stage so dignified and urbane, especially after the impulsive, turbulent teen years.” Craig, a semi-retired handyman/poet who’s been wreaking havoc in this county for 30 years, also shares a rumor: “Did you hear the San Francisco 49ers are changing their name? Since they moved to Santa Clara a few years ago, and gold was actually discovered in 1848, their new name is ‘Santa Clara 48ers.’  Doesn’t have the same ring, does it…?”

Carrots First, sticks when necessary. “Quality of Life” projects are what GeeVee Police Chief Alex Gammelgard calls enforcement efforts that go above and beyond normal police work. Alex has created a small special team tasked with identifying active or abandoned homeless camps and illegal dumping sites. “We are cataloging and plotting on geo-spatial mapping anything that might pose an environmental risk or illegal camping activity,” says Alex. “We then work with property owners, partner with other agencies to mitigate sites, connect unsheltered people with services, and take appropriate law enforcement action…”

Ed Thomas set legal paperwork on the trunk of his wife’s car while he helped her with mundane garage tasks. When Barbara drove off, the important papers scattered in the wind. Ed leaped into action, at least as fast as an octogenarian can leap who is not one of the lords a-leaping. He was thrilled when he spotted one of the pages along Ridge Road, pulled to the side to retrieve it, and then … forgot the parking brake. Triumph turned to terror as Ed helplessly watched his car roll toward a steep embankment. Luckily the car slammed into a sturdy mailbox, successfully stopping the car’s suicide attempt. Homeowners refused to allow Ed to repair the super hero mailbox, so Ed discreetly dropped off a generous restaurant gift card. “Ten years ago,” Ed swears, “I could have caught that car…”

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The NevCity 49er Breakfast Rotary Club met its goal to raise $58,000 for the Filadelfia Centro Medico hospital and dental clinic in Baja, Tijuana. The club’s donations are matched with District 5190 and International Rotary Foundation Global Grant Funds. “The matching funds triple the value of our donation,” says Rotarian Dr. Dan Bibelheimer, “which makes it a great opportunity to help our neighbors.” The Tijuana clinic serves thousands of sick and indigent patients within the Mixtec community, who are excluded from government health plans and rejected from other hospitals for not speaking Spanish…

Wishing a Speedy Recovery to Miro, the K9 officer patrolling state parks in western NevCo. He’s been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease. He’s responding well to treatment but we won’t know for six to nine months whether he’ll make a full recovery and return to duty…

Dick Law has been a Realtor for 45 years, passionate homeless advocate for a decade, and a real “Ankle Biter” for several weeks. Dick addressed the NevCo Board of Supervisors with his insights about homelessness. Later, a group lobbied the board for its pet project. One supervisor suggested the group take the steady, persistent approach assumed by homeless advocates: “They are ankle biters!” Dick was taken aback, but then rationalized: “I was the only homeless advocate in the room, and at first I was offended. Then my ever-optimistic self realized that it was a term of endearment, praising me for being tenacious.” Dick signed his email, “The Ankle Biter…”

Happy Birthday to Oscar “Swede” Engstrom, 97 years young. He’s nicknamed after his father, who hailed from Sweden. “When I was ready to enter the world, they called the country doctor,” says Swede, who was born in Pine Valley, Oregon, Jan. 1, 1923. “The doc was mad because he had to leave a New Year’s Eve party and he was half-crocked. He held me up, swatted me on the butt, and they tell me I started yelling so loud they could hear me all across the valley…”

Swede Joined the U.S. Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor and served until discharged in 1945. “I was with a Navy fire squadron, and at Bunker Hill we were hit by two kamikazes and two bombs. I was one of the lucky ones and made it back. We lost most of our squadron with 390 killed…” Swede, who was Masonic Lodge president in the 1960s, adds, “I hold close to my heart the Masonic Lodge and its ceremony of signing the Declaration of Independence every Fourth of July…”

How Is Everyone Doing staying true to their New Year’s Resolutions? Comedian Jay Leno offers encouragement: “Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average. Which means you’ve met your New Year’s Resolution…”

Resolve to send your happy news of note to LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.

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