My dad was cracking me up this morning. He does that a lot because he's a master joke teller with a folksy Midwestern wit. "So this guy walks into a bar," he says for starters. My dad opens most of his jokes this way, and they almost always end with some line about a lawyer or a chimp.

Lord knows -- I miss him. In fact, my dad passed away a year ago this week. But now, more than ever, he seems to be with me. On the long drive to Oregon last week, we talked politics and football. This morning, our topic was golf. "I shot a 59," he told me -- and I could picture his twinkling green eyes and Irish grin. Only in heaven can you shoot a 59 at 88.

AROUND TOWN: Look for increased security in the Village -- in the wake of an uptick in misdemeanor crimes. The Montclair Village Association has signed an agreement with Bay Alarm to increase patrols, cameras and alarms in the business district. The company will also provide security escorts for the 200-plus business people in the commercial core.

Live music comes to Montclair tomorrow evening as part of the Fine Arts and Crafts Fall Fest. Grille One Carvery hosts a quartet from the Athenian School in Danville while neighbors TOUCH Salon and Metro unveil work from Oakland artists Enrico Antiporda, Karen LeGault and Barbara Lee from 6-8 p.m.

Meanwhile, more Village merchants are adopting mosaic planters, handcrafted by Snapshot Mosaics. Following the Montclair Lions Club lead, US Bank, Farmstead and Montclair Sports have jumped onboard and the list is growing.

And welcome to the new women's nightie shop -- Two Figs. Deb and Chris Figge design and manufacture sleepwear for all sizes, but they specialize in "support for larger cups." They've moved into Tulip Grove's old space at 2078 Antioch with an initial three- month lease and Chris says he hopes the shop's "steep discounts and aggressive cross-promotion with other merchants can build some buzz."

ROAD WARRIOR: A Montclair teen is overcoming great obstacles to train for her second-half marathon. Chayla Fisher, 14, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at 10 months of age, but has fought through the pain and challenges her whole life. She's using a fitness training program called Team Challenge, which supports the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. If you'd like to support her or find out more, see http://www.active.com/donate/norcalsfLV12/chaylaf.

IN MEMORY: She was a four-legged fixture in the Village for years. Muffy Butz or "the uffster" -- as she was known to friends -- passed away peacefully on Oct. 1 after 17 years of life. Owner Richard Buijs says the floppy-eared dachshund/schnauzer with the "weenie body" will be remembered for her public service as Deputy Dawg of Montclair and for her full page photo in Reenie Raschke's My Town Montclair Village Book. "She will be missed by all creatures who knew her," he writes.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-723-2525, by email at ginnyprior@hotmail.com or on the web at www.ginnyprior.com.