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May 21, 2022

Worthy to Print Column | Happy Birthday, Jack

Everyone can put away their fur coats, wax your skis and polish up their convertibles. It appears that we may have beat away the cold mornings and the pitiful amount of rain this year. I get up and get dressed by simply putting on a T-shirt. I love the spring and can live in the summer, but I sure don’t like the mornings so cold that Lorraine and I have to play “Paper, Rock, Scissors” to see who is going to get out of bed to turn on the heater.

You might remember that I said I would like to honor a great guy on his 100th birthday, that day is today. Jack Ferrasci turns 100 as I write this. I didn’t know Jack well when I started getting requests asking if I might point out that today’s birthday salutations are sent to beloved Jack. 

Even though I had only met Jack a few times, it was his phylogeny that called and left me messages asking to recognize that Jack was moving into the next century. I stopped by his house one late morning to get to know him a little and see what I might learn about him. I was happy to do this because some time ago Jack had called my wife simply to report that we had a wonderful son. Kind, respectful and professional were words thrown around. To be honest, it was a great feeling to know that someone that didn’t know Reed very well felt the same way we did. That was just such a little thing, but it was so meaningful to me.

When I sat down at the table with him, he started telling me about himself. A true local boy, Jack was born in Soledad. After high school, Jack joined the Army Air Corps. He wasn’t crazy about the military, but Jack is a serious person who followed orders. He did well.

He had met Nettie, his wife, as a child, as their mothers were dear friends. When he was in the military, they began writing letters to each other, and when he returned they started dating. He had opened a nursery that didn’t fulfill his quest for greatness, so he sold it. Jack is a serious Christian and didn’t like to water the plants on Sunday, and married Nettie. It should be noted that as Jack commented, “It was Swiss marrying Swiss.” 

I am sure you’ll agree with me that it was also a good match, as he and Nettie have been married for 70 years. They have two children, Annette and Kenneth, and seven grandkids. Seeing me observe his Rosary, Jack said he prays the Rosary three times a day. That is a dedication this writer wishes he could emulate.

Jack says that he has led a privileged life, and life has continued to smile upon him. He has a saying that I tried to copy down as he says it because I truly thought it was pretty enough for me to learn. “The misgivings of yesterday are stepping stones to a more reverent way to Serve God.”

When a man has led such a rich life as Jack has, I could go on and on. I don’t think that is what his ladies wanted me to do. I can only say that I don’t often write about folks in my column. Oh of course there are exceptions, but there was no hesitation when I was called by Candie, one of his caregivers. She asked that I might give credit to Jack and his life, as he had given so much to others.

Jack turns 100 with the love of his family near, and hopefully you will have a chance to tell him “Happy Birthday.” It might be a little late, but the wish by this writer is that Jack has a birthday like none other. God Bless you, Jack, and I hope for sunny days forever.

Last week I wrote about why I love living in Gonzales. I also wanted to point out the main reason is family. I know I often write about Gonzales, but it should be said that the families of the Salinas Valley are what I notice everyday. The folks that live in Gonzales are full of love for their families and each other. You can see it everywhere you go in our town or any of the local towns, but Gonzales is where family is paramount.

This writing about Jack is another sample of family, and his presence in our Valley proves once again that love is the answer. 

At last week’s car show, I sat and watched the fathers lead their sons around and they would both “ooh” and “aah” when they saw how beautiful the cars were. There were mothers holding the hand of their children and laughing and smiling at their husbands. I can’t wait until next year. 

The car show was a complete success. Everyone, and I mean everyone, thinks it was a smash. I don’t know if you are aware, but it was held to celebrate the 75th year of the founding of our town. I don’t know how many cars the committee thought they would get, but there were over 140 cars on display. I spoke with a lot of the families that brought a car for us to salivate over and most that participated said it was one of the best shows they had attended.

Our town turned out with our families and neighbors to help celebrate 75 years of incorporation.

My bride got an email yesterday that has us a little concerned. If it isn’t printed somewhere by the time we print another paper, I’ll tell you all about it, but for now just realize we will have choices soon, and the choice will be difficult, but if we all come out with the love of our family, we’ll be OK.

God Bless.

George Worthy
Gonzales Columnist

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