Take Five:

When the world seemed to come down on my head, I would take five — my way of counting to 10.

Sometimes it was five minutes of thinking things through; or I took a short walk. But it was a mental time out — putting my feet up on a table to relax, restart, resurge.

Taking quick personal time is valuable. We all need a little space from the noisy din of what we are required to do daily.

Beginning Thursday, Jan. 27, then every other week thereafter, this column will offer my version of Take Five that's relevant to La Cañada, the foothills and to you, the residents of our unique community.

I am not a reporter pursuing instant events. The Valley Sun has excellent field reporters skilled in showing and telling and composing the articles that are produced in this award-winning newspaper. I write commentaries.

I have written all my life, starting with the forced thank-you notes my mother insisted I write — which seemed to get amusing reactions from my relatives. I started in Salt Lake City, Utah and attended Stanford University. Immediately after graduation, I served in Asia as a Marine Infantry Officer. Whether my mother saved the letters I had written about my experiences because of a sentimentality or because they were actually interesting reading, I can't answer.

I worked in commercial real estate and wrote a business column for a local newspaper. I also was involved in turning around and restructuring failing companies. I wrote a book about my experience as a turnaround consultant.

My wife, Marilyn and I have lived in La Cañada Flintridge for 25 years. We are proud to be part of a city where the residents take special care of their community. We have three married children and six grandchildren (three boys and three girls, a mix we thought was well-planned, but no one asked us).

I am a jazz and big-band aficionado. You might see a column about my love for this old-style music. I am opinionated, but not outrageously. I will try not to let that seep (too much) into my writing. You can let me know. In fact I encourage you to write or call with praise or rants. I can handle both. I look forward to conversing with you several times a month.

GENE PEPPER can be reached at gep@aol.com or at (818) 790-1990.

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