SOUND OFF: Is there too much ‘fuss’ over first responders? – The Bakersfield Californian

Reader: Why all the fuss? If you don't want to run into a burning building, don't become a fireman. If you don't like high-speed chases, don't train to be a police officer. If you don't want to be exposed to possible contagious germs, don't become a health care professional.

My point is if you train and are compensated well financially and with ample benefits, then that should be enough. I tire of the constant barrage of accolades, free food, free gas, free car washes, etc., etc., etc., for so-called first responders!

Am I thankful for these above-mentioned people? Absolutely, but enough is enough. Once we start praising and rewarding with "goodies" certain professions, we leave out so many other well-deserving individuals and groups.

So again I ask, "Why all the fuss?"

Peterson: You could ask 1,000 people this question, and collect 1,000 different answers. I saw a similar sentiment in comments on our Facebook post asking people to honor heroes first responders and other front-line workers. That reader wrote that these individuals are not heroes, just people doing their jobs.

But I'll share how I see it, Robert, with thanks for taking my call Friday (We had a nice brief chat about how many handwritten letters we still receive at the newspaper; on average, about two a day come in by mail).

One, kindness. I think and see from the news and feature story ideas that come our way and our reporters dig up, that people simply want to show kindness to others during this pandemic.

Two, I think people want to help, and what form can that take during stay-at-home orders that many people have lived under for nearly two months? They may not have the proper training and authority to run into a burning building, and they may not have the education and licensing to save the life of a mother dying from the coronavirus, but they can sure help how they are able. And that may be in the form of offering free food or a service they are able to provide.

Does that mean other well-deserving individuals and groups may be left out, as Robert asks? Well sure. Maybe those kindnesses come in smaller but more direct ways, like the hefty tips I've given to the Shipt shoppers who've delivered my Target groceries (finding great substitutes when necessary, but yep, no toilet paper!), and the hearty verbal thank-yous I've given to two veterinarians and their staffs who have helped me in the last month.

A little kindness to some still seems like worthy kindness to me.

At a boardinghouse, all diners sit down at the same time at long table(s) and eat what is being served at that meal. You don't order off a menu, you share the food served in platters/bowls with the diners closest to you whether they are in your party or not. Your party is not separated from another party by any space.

The Nevada Basque restaurants mentioned in Mr. Lang's submission do not serve boardinghouse style. I am very familiar with these restaurants as well as all the Basque restaurants along the I-80 corridor between Reno and Elko, Nev. I've been eating at them for 30 years. I've made the trip along that corridor at least 18 times in the last 20 years and have eaten at each of the mentioned restaurants within the last year.

I've co-authored two articles for Nevada Magazine (August 1998 and November 2017) on those very restaurants. None of them serve boardinghouse style, they serve "family" style. Does "family" style sound familiar?

It should; it's how meals are served at the remaining excellent traditional Basque restaurants in Bakersfield such as Wool Growers and Benji's. The last semblances of Basque boardinghouse service that I know of are the "boarder's table" at Santa Fe Basque Restaurant in Fresno, and the one at Centro Basco Restaurant in Chino, both of which also have regular service.

In short, if you want to take a journey to Nevada and sample some Basque restaurants, it's a nice trip and some pretty good restaurants. But if you're going in search of a boardinghouse-style Basque restaurant, forget about it. The last one in North America, and probably the world, that served strictly boardinghouse style just closed.

Larry Errea, former director and president, Kern County Basque Club

Peterson: Thank you, Larry, for taking the time to write and share your expertise on boardinghouse and family dining, and Basque traditions. What rich history!

Reader: The word trump there are quite a few that mean the same for that sentence. Not needed for your byline.

Oh, well Kern County will be fooled twice come fall so shame on you. Until people start calling out Trump to his face (all on camera) every name in the book he wont stop his (expletive) show.

You want four more years of him?

Notice that headline has a lowercase "trump," and it is used as a verb.

Webster's New World College Dictionary, the one we use along with the Associated Press Stylebook, defines it in this case as to surpass or outdo. Regardless of your politics, trump, lowercase, was a perfectly fine word to use in this context.

Peterson: A reader wrote to point out and I think complain that my Sound Off columns aren't as long as my predecessor's and unless I am working more than 100 hours a week, I need to do better.

Sorry to disappoint, Mr. Reader who did not want his name used. I guess I'm failing in his eyes. The length of Sound Off largely depends on what I receive. Send some good comments and questions and I'll try to answer them here. Full first and last names are preferred.

Executive Editor Christine L. Peterson answers your questions and takes your complaints about our news coverage in this weekly feedback forum. Questions may be edited for space and clarity. To offer your input by phone, call 661-395-7649 and leave your comments in a voicemail message or email us at Include your name and phone number; your contact information wont be published.


SOUND OFF: Is there too much 'fuss' over first responders? - The Bakersfield Californian

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