It took a couple years, after we moved here, before I made it out to the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors. It should have been one of the first places I visited – it’s certainly one of the most meaningful sites in the Yuba-Sutter area. In my mind, it’s one of the more significant reference points for the whole region.

There must be more than a thousand human stories curated at the Linda museum – all of them connected to the military and war. When you walk around that museum and look at all the personal items that military men and women touched and that help tell their stories ... well, it’s stunning.

And all that is there because of Dann Spear, who died Thursday. 

I talked to him just a few times. He helped me each time with information for a story or by lining up newsroom staff members with Vietnam veterans. 

There are good people on this earth who are true experts at listening and visiting. Some of them take on other people’s stories – not stealing them, and not just listening to them and shaking their heads and patting them on the back, but really taking in the stories and somehow providing some sort of relief to the teller. It’s not everyone you can trust with the stories about your insides; he seems to have been one of them. Everyone I’ve heard talking about Dann Spear describes how he was good to talk to, how he listened, how he was trusted.

I think he did a lot of good for a lot of people. We’re sorry he’s gone from us.

Please, if you’ve not been to the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors, you should do it. You can’t truly know this community unless you do. It’s not fancy; it’s not a million-dollar, high tech, artistically designed museum. It’s a place where every nook and cranny is crammed with real stuff. It reminds you how much our service men and women have done for us. It really means something.

Visit the website, www.museumoftheforgottenwarriors.org for information about the museum, links to videos and other information, open hours and etc.

Thanks for everything, Dann Spear. You will be missed.

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Thumbs Up: The Bok Kai is approaching – it’s just a couple weeks away now (here’s hoping that the weather is a little less wet, windy and cool this year).

Members of the Chinese Community and other boosters are trying to get everyone into the game and have scheduled some events for kids for this coming week. There will be a tour for kids in grades two and up at 10 a.m. March 3, starting at the Chinese School House on the 200 block of First Street, followed by a walk around Chinatown. Then there is a recitation of a classic Chinese folk tale, “Why Dogs Hate Cats” and children can make a mask for the Year of the Dog. (Space is limited, so call 742-6508.)

There is also a free story and mask workshop at 10 am. March 10 at the Chinese School House. 

Participants of both events will then be invited to wear their masks while riding on the Royal Dog House float March 17 during the annual Bok Kai Parade.

Can’t wait to see what the mask makers come up with.

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Another Thumbs Up: Tomorrow (Sunday) from 10 a.m. to noon there will be a ceremony blessing the Kulu Fishing Village. 

That’s the cultural center being built up by the Tsi Akim Maidu tribe over the last few years on a parcel of ground at the Sycamore Ranch Park east of Marysville (5390 Highway 20).

Included will be a blessing by Tibetan Monks of Gaden Shartse Monastery (a group of those monks were present when Yuba County formally transferred the bit of land over to the tribe).

Since then, tribal members and supporters have been busy. The site now boasts eight bark houses, one large bark house, a sweat lodge, a dance grounds, an outdoor kitchen and more.

Chairman Don Ryberg says the developments will help preserve and teach their culture and heritage. They want to create an education center where people can learn about the land, water, animals and plants, he said. It’s a place, they hope, that school students will be able to visit frequently.

We appreciate that county supervisors arranged for the Maidu to have that parcel. And we have appreciated the annual Indigenous People’s Day ceremonies the Maidu have hosted there the last few years. We’ve learned a lot about their culture, our culture, others’ cultures. It’s made us think about our relationship to the land and our past in some basic ways that are hardly ever thought of these days.

We’re much richer for having this happening in our county.

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Ugh: My wife and I were taking a walk and all of a sudden she just stopped and said, “You weren’t even listening were you?” And I thought, “That’s a pretty weird way to start a conversation.”

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