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Friday, January 14, 2011

Goodbye John Merritt and Other Friends

I attended the graveside service today for John Merritt, age 74, a attorney, pipe smoker and good man.  I always liked John and even though we were not real close, I respected him a lot.

About 60 people came to Hooper Weaver to say goodbye and many of us went on to the gathering at the Nevada City Elks.  We all talked and told stories about John and it was obvious that he will be missed by many people.  I saw many mutual friends and had a nice time catching up.  Judge Al Dover, Ray Shine, George and Christine Foster, Mike Hughes, Linda Marchus, Mike and Diane Sherman and many other friends were there to say their farewells.  John did a lot of real estate law so I saw some old friends and even some people I had built houses for many years ago,  Some were Realtors and many were clients of John.

It is getting more evident that now that I am 60, I am losing friends I have known for a long time.  Greg Seghezzi passed and I have known him and his family for a long time.  His father was my Planning Commissioner for eight years, and Amos and Bev threw some fund-raising party's when I was running.  Bev and my mom are  friends too.  I have lost some other people too over the last few years from accidents too.  Maggie McNamee fell and passed away at 63 in a home accident.  She was a Englishwoman married to an American serviceman she met in England, Bill.  She was on the NCRCC with me and was a feisty, intelligent woman.  I still miss her. Same with Peter Hughes, my partner on my radio show, also from England who passed away at 62  a few years ago.  I stop by and say hi to him at the little cemetery at Indian Springs Road and Spenceville when I am down that way.  What a smart man, and boy was he outspoken against socialism.  He had lived under it and hated it.

I usually get misty when I attend funerals because it puts life into perspective for me.  We aren't here very long and it is the friends and family that are the most important.  Money, status and all the rest of the desires pale in comparison to family and friends.  It was nice to see a lot of my old friends and it reminds me that their warm reception and handshakes, the hugs and stories are what counts.

I always think of my Pop too.  He only made it to 62 and he has been gone for 28 years now.  He was a well liked man.  A respected builder here and to this day people will approach me and tell me how they still miss him.  He was a WW2 veteran of the Navy and fought in the Pacific.  I have done my best to live up to his standards.  So, I say goodbye to John, he is with the Lord now, I am sure of that. And to Pop, I miss you a lot.


  1. Thank you Todd for the tribute to John Jay Merritt. He was a fine example of a big-hearted Christian conservative who held beliefs that even some on the left could appreciate. He had many friends from many different walks of life, and that is what makes for a full life in my book. I was blessed to have known the man that well.

  2. I did not know Merritt, but I did know a lot of other good people who left us in the last year. We are at that point in life where there are fewer days ahead than behind. The Nevada County we've known for most of our lives is going too. Steve Cottrell and I spoke of this before he left the area. It's not ours anymore. New faces and notions have come along and uprooted us. I don't begrudge them, because I remember how it was when our generation did the same thing to the old timers in Nevada City. Life goes on.

    You and I have had some course words between us on these blogs over the last few months. I don't do it because you are conservative. I have many friends on both sides of the political tracks and I value them all. It's just your style that rubs me the wrong way. You are better than that. You and I come from the same place, went to the same schools, have the same fond memories of what our county was like in the good ol' days. It urks me to listen to some newcomers call us old fashioned out of touch hicks, but I won't go down to that level. Debate them on the issues, leave the nastiness to the small minds and big egos.

    It's real easy to make enemies, much harder to make good friends. Life's too short for grudges.

    RL Crabb

  3. Bob, debate has many forms. I have debated the left all my political life which started in 1978. I have been warm and fuzzy and I have been hard and course. I started off warm and fuzzy but over time it became clear the left was disingenuous and untruthful and they were mean spirited. So, I guess I am no Gandhi and I really don't care any more. I have a set of beliefs based on the reality of the world and I am proud that I have developed hundred of friends all over the place. I don't apologize for my views. We all have beliefs and we all have reasons for taking the time to let others see and read them. You consider yourself a guy in the middle because for whatever reason, probably business wise, it suits you best. I developed my views based on my life's experiences and I decided in this era of my life I am not going to let the lies and the slandering of my country and my beliefs go unchallenged. You think your cartoons are making fun of all sides but when you talk to the left you probably are told you are a partisan from the right. I think your stuff is great. I use self deprecating humor a lot. I don't think you'll see that from the left. So, yes we grew up in the same place about the same time but we are different. These people like Pelline call you a rube and a hillbilly and you take it. I don't. So, actually, for the most part I think our county is a better place now because we do have some diversity in culture and a lot of interesting people. The problems I see stem from the arrogant ones who are trying to change our county into their vision. Sort of like Obama and the country. So, Bob, I read your cartoons and your input on some blogs and even though we don't always agree I still respect your talents and your smarts.

  4. Todd wrote about Bob: "You consider yourself a guy in the middle because for whatever reason, probably business wise, it suits you best."

    Bob and I have been friends for just a short while, but I have been following his antics for years through the eyes of a mutual friend who recently passed. I assure you that his observation has absolutely nothing to do with business.

    You should really take Bob's observation to heart, Todd, your style sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. If you are trying to convince people of the excellence of your viewpoint, the reductionist labels you often rely upon do not serve that goal.

    I understand that you are what you are, and you don't really feel like changing. That's fine. But you need to understand the consequences.

    I have no doubt that you were treated unfairly by people in the past. Unfortunately, it comes with any job in the public eye involving public service. It goes with the territory. I have come to learn that people are very complex beings, and they pretty much know the score about people, places and events.

    Honey or vinegar, that is your dilemma Todd, and also your legacy. I wish you the best.

  5. Style? What's style got to do with the point trying to be made on both sides of the isle? Mr. Kristi, your statement to Todd - "I understand that you are what you are, and you don't really feel like changing. That's fine. But you need to understand the consequences..." is a warning sign that if you don't believe in something, you'll fall for anything. I can respect a man for measuring his position and perhaps make an adjustment, but based only on fact. I respect Todd's ability to hold on to his "feelings" when he understands that the change advocated by so many is, in the end, destructive to America. Feelings are a funny thing, they can change from within. I enjoyed Crabb and Juvinall's exchange, it showed a little class in my my book....on both sides. How refreshing.

  6. Thanks fo the kind words Mike. I really don't know who this Michael is but one thing is clear. The person missed the whole point of my post and the response by Bob and me. It appears the person can pluck a comment out of the large post and expand on it negatively and miss what Bob and I mean. Maybe it is our writing style.

    When I mentioned Bob's business it was because someone must be careful about their political views in our area so if you want to be successful in business you must portray yourself as a middle. I have seen to many lefty's exclaim they will not be shopping at a business because the owners spoke out in some conservative way.

    Also, I pretty well explained myself in my comment but Michael had to find a way to mock me, but I don't care really. I think it must give people that do that a feeling of superiority or something? It is OK because we all have shortcomings and I have found when people only criticize others, especially their mental makeup, the person criticizing is the one with the problem. So, I don't expect everyone to "get it" so that is just the way it is.

    I can't remember the engraved statement on John's tombstone Mike, could you post it?

  7. Todd and Mike, I re-read my post and I truly can't see the mocking that you describe. And the consequences that I am speaking of are merely that some people won't take your ideas seriously, Todd, if you resort to simple labeling.

    The main reason I posted was to counter your claim that Bob is politically "in the middle" for business reasons. It's just not true.

  8. My politics don't have much to do with any business considerations. In fact, I'd probably make more being a shill for one side or the other. My views come from a lifetime of experience, where I have worked with and for conservatives and liberals and seen their strengths and weaknesses first hand. And far from "believing in nothing and falling for anything" my centrist politics are based on the belief that you can have social justice and government programs, but you have to be able to pay for them, and you can't expect the rich to take the hit every time you want to start or expand those programs. That comes from having to pay my own bills.

    So some people would call me a commie and others would call me a right wing crazy. I'm with the growing percentage of voters who refuse to call themselves Democrat or Republican. These days, we're the only group that shows any significant growth.

    RL Crabb

  9. My point on the business comment is proven by someone skewering both sides and claiming to be a MOTR person. If you were only posting one side or the other the side taking the hit may be unable to hire you or shop at your store. The only ones boycotting in the local bogs have been the left. That is my simple point.

    As far as Michael saying I resort to simple labeling, well yeah, how do you expect people to know? Not everyone can manipulate the English language as well as you and call people a name without them knowing you called them a name. That is not possible for me to accomplish.

  10. Mr. Crabb - Good response.

    Mr. Juvinall - John Merritt's head stone is now posted on the tribute to him at Thank you for the suggestion.

  11. Todd wrote: "Not everyone can manipulate the English language as well as you and call people a name without them knowing you called them a name. That is not possible for me to accomplish."

    That was not a response I expected and helps me understand the bigger picture. I'm glad you have this blog and I hope you have great success with it.

    Two-way online media is a recent experiment and the results aren't in yet. I admire your courage, Todd, in throwing your voice into the fray the way you have. Keep on bloggin', brutha.

  12. How we all got on this road under this post is a good example of why I love the blogs. We can talk about everything anytime.


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