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From…thedesk of Dora DePaoli Staff writer: Of ‘yittle fish' and ‘yove'

July 13, 2001

June was a sweet month. I was able to spend most of it in cool San Diego visiting with my children and grandchildren.

Coming the greatest distance was my daughter, Debbie, and her brood. They arrived from South Carolina on a jumbo jet early one beautiful morning. Five-year-old Ben was on "gadget overload" in the plane. He was enthralled with the lunch tray, the radio headset with all the stations and the buttons to adjust the lights and air-flow. He managed to call a flight attendant twice before Debbie reined him in.

After picking them up, the first order of business was to visit Uncle Steve at work. Being the good uncle he is, he knew a short cut to the local Burger King where he fed us.

As I sat in the booth with 3-year-old Kendall, she wanted to compare scrapes and bruises. I was the champ with a partially healed patch of skin I recently ripped off my arm. She then challenged me to compare belly buttons, and immediately showed me hers. I caught her little hand as she started to raise my shirt and inspect mine.


To burn off some of the kids' excess energy we took them swimming at least once a day and on frequent walks in Tecolote Canyon. Bo, Ben and Kendall, along with their cousins Eric, Devon and Johnny, picked up colorful rocks and checked out wildflowers. I was always on the lookout for snakes. One day we spotted a rattler. We gave it a lot of room and thereafter found other places to walk.

It took Ben a little while to get off East Coast time. The first morning he was in San Diego he knocked on my door at 4:30 with a couple of books under his arm for me to read. I would often have two or three kids in my bed by the time I was ready to get up.

Kendall is a cheerful, feminine little girl. One of my favorite things about her is she will eat just about anything. As I was having one of my favorite snacks, Tiny Tots Sardines, she asked for a "yittle fish." She helped me finish the can and then looked in the pantry for more "yittle fish." At rare times during the day when we had a little quiet time she would tell me, "I yove you, and I yike you!" Probably next year she will be pronouncing her "L's" perfectly, and I'll miss it.

Most days we did our utmost to keep the children stimulated. We took them to museums, playgrounds, the beach and the zoo. Occasionally, when we were ready to drop, we succumbed to popping a video in the old VCR. Steve, who provided the ancient television and VCR, said any thieves thinking of burglarizing our place would probably feel sorry for us and leave a better pair.

Because we tried to show the kids lots of local attractions and kept them on the go, we regularly had to find bathrooms in a hurry. The kids all have some funny little habits. One of them totally strips when he uses the bathroom, even his shoes. He is also the one with the loudest voice who will announce in a crowded line exactly why he needs to use the facilities.

Although the kids enjoyed what San Diego had to offer, their favorite spot of all was Holtville. Seven-year-old Bo complained half the way back to San Diego when we left Imperial Valley to get out of the heat. The warm weather never bothered the kids. They liked being able to act wild and crazy in the country.

June also was the wedding month for my great-nephew Ryan Rothfleisch, and his bride, Nicole Reeves. Our family got to share the joy of their becoming husband and wife in the Volcan Mountain Preserve in Julian. What a delight it was to be in such a beautiful outdoor setting and sing the words to "Shout to the Lord" at the end of the ceremony:

"Shout to the Lord

All the earth let us sing

Power and majesty praise to the King

Mountains bow down and the seas will roar

At the sound of Your name

I sing for joy at the work of Your hands

Forever I'll love You forever I'll stand

Nothing compares to the promise

I have in you."

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