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Celebrating Eccentric Mentors

He has had a couple books published and is in the final stages of writing another book this time reflecting on the mentors of his life who never realized how important they were to Bill's evolution.



Bill Cane

A visitor turns onto a dirt driveway surrounded by tall trees and native plants of all species. He has to drive slowly as he can't see very far in front of him as the road winds around. He suddenly enters into a clearing where he parks his car. The only way up from here is a steep hill which he navigates by foot. Looking around he sees an old wooden shelter where goats used to live and hand formed rails that border the hill he is climbing. At last he gets to the top and sees a beautiful redwood home. Stairs! More Climbing! The bottom floor used to house a stain glass studio, now houses a guest. The next level is the main floor which includes a spacious great room used for meetings, workshops, fund raising gourmet dinners of up to 12 courses and just comfortable living. What used to serve as the master bedroom is now the main office and then there's the kitchen. A kitchen designed for serious cooking. large windows which gives a Panoramic view of Lake Freedom open up onto the deck which surrounds this entire floor. If a visitor is lucky enough to be there in the daytime, he can watch birds and other local fowl feeding on the lake.

As the visitor leaves the Great room and enters the courtyard, he sees more stairs that lead to an even better view of Lake Freedom. He approaches another guest room and more stairs up the hill leading to rest areas nestled among trees, shrubs and plants. If he feels like taking a dip, a solar heated pool is ready. After all that climbing, it sounds like a good idea!

Many years ago, Bill started a Gourmet Dinner Club as a fund raiser for IF. Interest in these dinners have continued to spread by word of mouth with people coming from all over the state and further to show their support. Funds are raised to help the people of Chiapas; to provide houses for poor families in Guatemala, or supporting soup kitchens in Peru; for supporting low income housing and a living wage initiative and human rights locally. Sometimes it's for training immigrants for citizenship or giving a voice to grassroots leaders who speak for the poor of the world. For sure it is always supporting networks of ecology, justice and peace.

Bill Cane is the Executive Director of IF, a nonprofit foundation that is involved in all of the above issues and more. He is also the Editor of Integrities, a quarterly magazine that publishes stories of truth, history and as Bill writes, "Our purpose is simple. We wish to further the sense of Integrities which is taking shape in our time, and we wish to communicate the stories of people who are struggling to live their lives in an integral fashion."

Bill, a former Catholic priest draws people to him who remain his friends for life. His home, where he leads workshops and seminars on various spiritual and personal enrichment themes was mostly built by friends and neighbors who contributed their time and/or materials. When it was time to dig a well, Bill asked his neighbor who he recommended. "I'll get Manuel Semas, the Portuguese water witcher!" (this excerpt from Bill's new book) . . . in his left hand, he held a wooden cane. In his right, he clutched a wire that looked like a car antenna. "It's bad luck to witch on Sunday," he
chuckled. His gold tooth glistened. Manuel took off down our road, the wire in his right hand pointing straight ahead . . . Suddenly, the wire in Manuel's hand began to twitch up and down. 'Here's water," Manuel exclaimed with satisfaction. He never charged to find water for family or friends.

There are so many other charming stories about Bill's house. His former wife, Patricia was a stain glass artist who created a green house with beautiful stain glass walls. Over the years, the green house started to deteriorate, but the beautiful stain glass windows have been salvaged and can be found throughout the six acres mounted and framed by wood posts ready to surprise the guest as he turns a corner and sees the sun shining through this lovely art.

I personally met Bill in 1972 when we worked together at St. Benedicts Center for the Deaf. He had hired me as the Youth Activities Director. St. Benedicts, under Bill's leadership and charisma, became not only a wonderful place to celebrate life and spirituality, but also served as a teaching tool to the community on compassion and peace. St. Benedicts housed many refugees in sanctuary as well as opened it's doors to farmworker issues, solidarity and empowered the deaf community to draw on their own strength to demand changes.

Bill, an avid athlete can still be found on the tennis court or running with his dog Gaia on a local beach. He has had a couple books published and is in the final stages of writing another book this time reflecting on the mentors of his life who never realized how important they were to Bill's evolution. MMPublishing is publishing his newest book and it will be available for purchase on the web in a few months. The title of his book, "Passing on the Spirit, Celebrating Eccentric Mentors." END

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