About the Colony

Thinking happy thoughts

I mentioned to a friend of mine that the Christmas holidays were not particularly kind to me; I usually find myself depressed and unhappy. He suggested I think about times that were especially good ones to get me through my holiday funk.

Thomas Wolfe said it best: You can’t go home again. Whenever I’ve tried, it just never worked out. But thinking about good times in my life does.

Here are three memories that come immediately to mind and improve my mood.

In September 1962, I was a cadet at the Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I.

I got permission to attend a special concert in the drill hall that featured “The King of Swing” Benny Goodman and his orchestra. I had been listening to Goodman’s music all through high school and college (ignoring rock ’n’ roll), and to encounter his group of great musicians in a live concert was an unexpected but joyous occasion.

Months later, I was aboard a Navy ship somewhere between Hawaii and San Diego.

I was on the bridge with a number of fellow junior officers. It was a beautiful day, and the water was very, very blue. When I looked over the side, there were a number of dolphins swimming in the bow wake; it was something this little country bumpkin had never seen before. What a wonderful memory.

Jump forward three decades.

I remember a memorable event that involved the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles. My wife, Eileen, and I were sitting at a small performance venue beneath the stars and enjoying the tranquil sound of the Sons of the Pioneers. I still have that signed photograph of the group that once included Roy Rogers as its lead singer.

Beyond those three, I have an especially fond memory of when I was about 10 years old.

My dad bought a piece of property that included a big barn.

When I went out to explore what was in the barn, I encountered a World War II jeep. It was the neatest thing I ever saw. I sat in the seat, wishing I were old enough to drive it around the property.

One day, I came home from school to find the jeep was gone. My dad had sold it to someone who really wanted it.

It took me almost 65 years to get a jeep of my own, now painted a dull navy gray which includes the name of my ship stenciled on the front bumper.Wow, this really works. I’m not depressed anymore.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly four decades. His column appears on the Local page every Tuesday. He can be reached at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.