November 19

CAN'T HELP BUT WONDER how the big flock of wild turkeys that has adopted Sunol feels about Thanksgiving. They should read the poem displayed in Sunol Glen's kindergarten class - it's about five fat turkeys who think their goose is cooked (!) but end up joining the feast as guests rather than entrees. Actually, our turkeys wouldn't be the least bit surprised, since most people here look out for them as if they were visiting dignitaries.

Our school is always an uplifting place to visit around the holidays. The teachers put their imaginations to work, inspire the kids, and delightful seasonal projects result. Kindergarten teacher Becky Radulovich's class "boarded" the Mayflower last week for a simulation of the ship's voyage to Plymouth Rock. Using yarn, Mrs. Rad (as we all know and love her) marked off a space for the ship one-fifth the size of the original, recreating the cramped conditions shared by the 100 pilgrims for her 20 students.

Crackers stood in for hardtack, and beef jerky for salt horse. There was a bit of cheese and drinking water was rationed. "They were crowded and uncomfortable," Becky reported, but things brightened when the class "landed" at Plymouth Rock on Thursday, which they enacted by moving their handmade ship puppets through a paper sea. The students have been busy since then with preparations for the Thanksgiving feast they will share on Wednesday. The children signed up to bring everything from turkey to fry bread, and will make their own butter to slather on potatoes and corn. Now, there's a holiday classroom project to be thankful for!

PRE-HOLIDAY TICKET SALE: Sunol Valley Golf Club is hosting the 18th Annual Taste of the Valley food and wine event on Sunday, March 3, 2002, and tickets are available now at a pre-Christmas discount price. The event benefits the Volunteer Center of Alameda County, so giving these tickets as holiday gifts is really two gifts in one. There will be two tasting sessions, 1 to 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 - 7 p.m. Tickets are $55 per person or two for $100 until December 25, after which tickets will be $65 each and two for $120, and you can get yours by phone at 925-462-3570 or visit www.volunteeronline.org.

THE GIFT THAT GIVES BACK: Speaking of the county Volunteer Center, the agency has many opportunities for you to share the holiday spirit with others. Among the volunteer options this year is the Help from the Heart program, through which individuals, families and community groups can adopt a family, volunteer time, or make donations for local service agencies.

The Tri-Valley Help from the Heart program serves Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton and Sunol, where adopters are needed for 75 families, including very low-income seniors. Contact Chris Smiley in the Volunteer Center's Tri-Valley Office at 925-462-3570. There are many volunteer and donation programs all over the valley, so don't hesitate to call park departments and senior centers throughout the county for information on how you can help.

CASTING CALL: The Sunol Repertory Theatre will be holding auditions for its annual melodrama on December 4 at 7 p.m. in the Sunol Glen School auditorium. This year's offering, "Caught in the Villain's Gaze, or…Your Mother Was Right about Those Theatre People," is an original play by SRT founder Tom Harland, who will also direct the show. The story involves a traveling troop of players that arrives in Sunol - uh, oh! - announcing they are auditioning for a Shakespearean play. Their real motive, of course, is to swindle the locals, and lots of thrilling and hilarious mayhem ensues.

Rehearsals begin January 8, 2002, with performances Friday and Saturday evenings March 1 through March 23. Folks are also needed for crew positions, such as stage manager, set builders, lighting and sound crew, and painters, to name a few. If you have friends, family, colleagues or neighbors with talent, time and a good sense of humor, please bring them along.

SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR: It's good to be back on the Around Sunol beat, where there's always something interesting going on. I am ever thankful for the natural beauty and special community here, for my dear family and friends, and for every minute of our precious days. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


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