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NEIGHBORS / SHORT TAKES : Adventures in Love : In a Valentine's Day ropes course, a few couples get lessons in trust and communication.


How did you and your significant other spend Valentine's Day? A romantic dinner? A twilight stroll on the beach? A sip of wine by the fireplace?


A certain Camarillo couple did Valentine's Day the right way--in Malibu Creek State Park, walking on planks and swinging from trees. Now that's togetherness.

Laurel Hunter and Alan Sailer joined four other couples in a seven-hour-plus "Adventure Ropes Course" run by the Wilderness Institute of Agoura Hills. The purpose of the day's adventure was to increase trust and communication between men and women as they worked together to survive the outdoors.

Hunter explained one of the expeditions, down a path strewn with rocks and branches: "One partner leads the other partner, blindfolded, over the path. It's very frustrating to be deprived of one's sense and to have to be dependent. Your partner has to be aware of your environment as well as his."

In the end, Hunter said, the results were well worth the effort.

"Mastery of this type of experience requires self-awareness and commitment of both parties to surmount obstacles," she said. "At the end of the day, we found that we had verbal tools--ways of expressing what we needed--that we hadn't used before."


On Monday, 250 professional and amateur golfers will flock to the Ojai Valley Inn & Country Club for the Senior Professional Golf Assn. Tour's GTE West Classic.

Sure, there will be some big-name golfers on hand. But the highlight of the weeklong tournament may well be the appearance by Tom and Jerry.

We're not talking the cartoon characters. We mean Tommy and Jerry Barber, the father-and-son duo scheduled to compete together on the Seniors Tour. Tommy, the son, was born in 1942. Jerry, not the son, was born in 1916.


It will be the smile that I remember you by

It will be your laughter, my friend

I could not forget the gentle song you left behind

It will play until we meet again.

That's the chorus of "It Will Be the Smile," the latest song by Camarillo music therapist Paula Jones. She began recording it last week.

"It's for anybody going through a transition--anybody dying or graduating or leaving a friendship," said Jones, who has sung the tune at a number of funerals. Jones said the song was originally written for a memorial service for a terminally ill client.

This isn't Jones' first experience with emotionally charged music. Her piece "Brother of Mine" is about the thoughts and feelings a person has while visiting the Vietnam Memorial wall and seeing the name of a deceased brother.

The song is part of a Vietnam Memorial recording called "Songs of the Wall."

Interestingly, it was Jones' friend, not Jones, who had a brother killed in Vietnam. She and her friend visited the wall together in late 1991 and shared the emotions.

"The person I was with was really unable to experience her own grief," said Jones. "(The grief) was really going through me. I was the conduit."

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