Today I have the honor and privilege of paying tribute to one of our sweetest and most dear residents: Celestine Lucille `Sally’ Paternain.

Coming out of COVID, now is a great time to be alive on our ridge of this vast, fruitful valley. Our combination of heat, heart, and hope is hard to beat.

We’ve been strutting ourselves pretty darn good lately, what with the parade and the May Day Fair and all. It has been a while since we have had the opportunity to shine, and we all deserve our time in the sun.

Sadly, though, we’ve also have had too little time to honor our own who have moved on up to the ultimate green pasture

Sally Paternain called Los Banos home since her birth on October 7, 1920. On April 23, 2022, she traveled back to her heavenly home 101 years later, stopping by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church May 4 on the way to her final resting place at Los Banos Cemetery.

While there are endless stories and anecdotes that others might share of a deeper value, I have a few private chuckles to share.

Sally began her habit of calling me on HER birthday about 30 years ago. With her happy sing-song voice, she would say: “Now Diana, you know today is my birthday. I am 74 years young, can you believe that? Just don’t figure.”

As the years went by and the number got bigger, she would call, still in amazement, saying: “…84 can you believe it! Just don’t figure.” I learned to look forward to those annual updates, and life will be sadder without them.

Sally loved surprises. She felt the loss of her beloved husband deeply, and she often told me about some of the sweet surprises he had done for her over the years.

I hatched my own surprise plan for Sally. Each year I would begin picking out small gifts and clever containers and, using my limited imagination, tried to decorate her “surprise” aimed to delight, leaving it on her porch every Christmas Eve.

Oh, how I enjoyed getting her calls about her holiday surprise gift and listening to her speculations. I don’t know which one of us enjoyed it more. Sally loved sparkly jewelry.

We often would find each other at the same funerals, and I would joke to Sally that we must know an awful lot of the same people. She would smile and say “Maybe, or maybe I just like the lunches!” I would chuckle, not knowing which was true.

I’d often notice she was wearing only one beautiful earring. I would ask her if she had lost one, so I could begin to look for it.  She would laugh, and say: “Oh no, I don’t wear them both at the same time. What would I do if I lost one?”

At Sally’s service, in her honor, I wore only one really pretty earring. I am sure she got a chuckle out of that.