Local Lifestyle

Tuesday, Jan 29 2013 01:09 PM

HERB BENHAM: Feeling a little sheepish about my speed

By The Bakersfield Californian

Now that I have fast-car fever, I got an email from Tony Lopez with Omega Motorsports. Omega is hosting an event in March where they are renting Minter Field's Airport runway for "some automotive tomfoolery."

"We will be doing side-by-side roll racing down the strip," Lopez wrote. "No lights and sirens, no cross traffic ... just speed. From the roadway to the runway! It's what everyone does on a weekend on the freeway anyway. Get a chance to line up next to someone and just run."

He sent me photos of cars I might be impressed by: Porsches, Lamborghinis and BMWs.

Tony, if I drive my 1991 Honda Accord with the sheepskin seats, is there anyone I can beat?

"I could have one of the Ferrari guys race u on foot," he wrote.

Funny. Lopez is limiting the field to 100 cars. If you'd like a piece of something like a 1991 Honda with real sheepskins, call Lopez at 301-4688.

 

Friend Bart, who introduced me to Hoshigaki, or the Japanese art of drying persimmons, came by a few days ago and handed me two dried persimmons tied together with a two-foot piece of string.

"We'd like you to have these persimmons," he said. "Maybe you could finish the drying process."

Bart knew I was flailing. I had lost 15 persimmons, which plopped to the ground after hanging from an old bannister in the garage.

Most of the remaining persimmons were covered in mold. Too bad it wasn't science fair time because I had a science project on my hands.

Bart's dried persimmons were perfect, perhaps a month away from drying perfection.

His gift was generous and not unlike a fishing guide on a deep-sea boat who has hooked a marlin, fought him for hours, brought him next to the boat and then hands the rod to a paying customer.

Bart's persimmons may be the only fish this boy lands, which brings me to a book I have been reading (recommended by Battalion Chief Garth Milam of the Bakersfield Fire Department), called "One Man's Meat," a collection of essays by E.B. White, author of "Charlotte's Web."

White, who wrote for the New Yorker, moved his family from New York City to Maine in the late '30s, where he became a gentleman farmer. He raised chickens, sheep and cows. Over time, White realized that the crops -- eggs and milk -- were only a part of it.

"If he allows his agriculture to degenerate into mere profit-making, he is a man foredoomed. My goal is no longer a three-hundred-egg hen but to find peace through conversion of my table scraps into humus."

There is similar peace in my persimmon mold. What is required may be patience and perhaps acceptance.

 

Barbara Bedell had a good suggestion for trying to raise money to replace the turf at Memorial Stadium with artificial grass as well as putting in a new track. If the effort is successful, BC could host MLS soccer games, CIF championships and concerts, which would bring money into our community in the form of hotel reservations and restaurant meals.

"Ask every BC alumni to chip in $10," Bedell wrote.

What a great idea. I didn't even go there, but I'm throwing in $10. How about you?

 

Talk about healthy, positive and fun: Recently I -- and 499 others like me -- watched the second annual NorCal vs. SoCal State Cyclocross Championships cross race at Hart Park, organized by Sam Ames and featuring more than 200 riders. Most of the race takes place in the dirt. Dirt is relaxed and more playful than asphalt or concrete.

Dirt says, "I'm a kid. Let's have fun. Let's ride our bikes until we drop and then let's ride them again."

 

Gene Patterson died recently. He was an award-winning columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and later an editor for The Washington Post. His most famous column was called "A Flower for the Graves." Google it and read it.

These are Herb Benham's opinions and not necessarily those of The Californian. Email him at hbenham@bakersfield.com.

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