by irene bean

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A Solid Foundation



Not Trying to be Corny

This Little Light of Mine

We Were Once Young

Veni, Vedi, Vinca

U Tube Has a New Star

Packing a 3-Iron

Getting Personal

Welcome Again

Well... Come on in

Christmas Shopping

There's no Substitute

Dressed for Success

Cancun Can-Can

Holy Guacamole

Life can be Crazy

The New Dog

Hurricane Reenie

He Delivers

No Spilt Milk

Naked Fingers


Have Ya Heard the One About?

The Great Caper


Barney's P***S

My New Security System

Arnold Hano & Baseball

My friend Arnold Hano is wonderfully wise and witty. I know this firsthand because we were once neighbors in Laguna Beach where he still resides.

Last Sunday there was an article in the L.A. Times Magazine, which featured Arnold and his passion for baseball. My husband and I reminisced the years we lived beside Arnold and his wife, Bonnie.

Shortly after we moved in we were invited to their home for cocktails and conversation. While Arnold served the wine in juice glasses, Bonnie rolled open a tin of sardines. She also put out a small dish of olives and another of nuts. This description may make them sound bereft of sophistication, but we soon discovered we were sitting amidst a rarefied couple of great intelligence, passions, and humor. Not one molecule of pretension resided within their golden hearts. The house was lined with shelves full of books. Their art was chosen with care. We learned that after heady careers in NYC, they had moved to Laguna Beach in the early 60s – when Laguna Beach was still a quaint beach town.

This couple's passion for liberal politics is renowned in Laguna Beach. It's a misnomer to think Laguna Beach is inherently liberal because of its art and gay colonies. Laguna is a very wealthy town, hence it is far more conservative than people realize. But because of Arnold and Bonnie's efforts, a lot of land will never be developed - they're vigilant, maniacal, and God bless them, to this very day they continue to make City Hall accountable. Their home is always alive with people - meeting to devise peaceful means of saving our troubled planet.

During our first evening together, Arnold shared that when we were with our realtor looking inside our new home, he'd sneaked over to the driveway to inspect our car's bumper stickers, which were Amnesty International and another beseeching racial tolerance. Arnold confided that upon seeing the stickers, he approved of having us as neighbors. Much like book collections tell a lot about people, so do bumper stickers. They're a good litmus test - and we passed. I thought how differently he would have reacted if my NASCAR, redneck husband had been driving that day.

I adore everything about Arnold and Bonnie. They walk their talk, never retreat from a noble cause, yet they are remarkably generous, kind, and gentle. Arnold is a veritable master of quips -never corny, always 100% clever.

I admire that while in their 60s they joined the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. They enjoyed it so much, they built a home there. During our tenure as neighbors, they split each year between the two locales. I missed them something fierce whenever they left town.

One night we invited them for dinner. My young David got along splendidly with them - engaging in lively political conversation. Arnold's eyes and words never stopped sparkling. Brian shook up a batch of martinis while I prepared dinner - he boasted to being able to concoct the finest martini around. Arnold reminisced about his NYC days - the era of martini lunches etc. The conversation was so good (as were the martinis), Brian shook up a second round, with Arnold declaring that Brian's martinis were, indeed, the finest.

We haven't seen Bonnie and Arnold in a long while. David and I bumped into them at the Newport Beach Library about four years ago. They were exiting a spanking brand new car. I quipped, "Looking kinda Republican these days." We all laughed heartily. On occasion I also bump into them at a favorite cafe in Laguna. There's no way to describe these encounters - the exchange of gratitude for knowing each other, and the joyful challenge to match Arnold's wit. The wit battle is one I dependably and gladly lose.

I plan to drive to Laguna when the new edition of Arnold's book arrives. I'm not much of a baseball fan, but I'm one of Arnold's biggest fans. Not only do I want a signed copy of his book, I ache to be in his orbit again, if for only a precious and privileged moment.

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