December 2, 2002

TONIGHT WE LIGHT THE CANDLE for the fourth night of Hanukkah. It is always so special to take out our menorahs and light the candles. A picture of our daughter, Allie, now 18, shows her smiling a 9-month-old's enchantment with the dance of the candle flames on her first Hanukkah. Since moving back to California when Allie was 3, we have celebrated the Miracle of Lights with my sister Casi and her family - we're blessed to have them so nearby in Alamo. When Allie was 10, she and I learned the Hebrew prayer of blessing for the candle-lighting ceremony and every year since, we have sung it together each night of Hanukkah.

This year is the first that we are planning holidays around Allie's college schedule. Hanukkah comes early this year - it started the night after Thanksgiving - so we were able to enjoy both holidays with our family while she was home for the long weekend. Thus, I was spared the major bout of "empty nest" which would surely have befallen me if I'd had to sing that blessing without my girl, though it may indeed strike tonight!

A FRIEND NEEDS OUR PRAYERS: Forgive me for indulging in this personal reverie, but I have some difficult news to share and wanted to put it in the perspective of counting our blessings and remembering what is truly important in our lives. Last month, the Little Brown Church of Sunol confirmed Ron Hunt to return as its minister. He and his wife Lisa have been living near Ron's family in Minnesota since leaving the Bay Area and LBC a few years ago. When Pastor Tom Thresher moved to Washington a few months ago, Ron and Lisa decided to come back to Sunol, and it was happy news for all.

The week after his confirmation, Ron was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. He has been hospitalized and undergoing aggressive treatment since Nov. 2. He just finished his first course of chemotherapy and his "stats" are improving. Ron is a strong man, remarkably tough for one so tender, and we are confident he can beat this. LBC is planning to wait however long it takes for his return to health to welcome him back as Pastor.

I thought those of you who hadn't heard would want to know, and I also wanted to share that LBC, in the person of John Robertson, has put a link at their web site to CaringBridge, a site that provides an update and message service for people at Fairview Medical Center. Lisa updates the page regularly with news of Ron's progress, and you can write them a message of support. You can access Ron's page at www.caringbridge.org/mn/ronhunt. Cards and letters can be sent to: Ron Hunt, Room 7-513, PCU 7D, Fairview Medical Center, 420 Delaware St. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455. Lisa says, "Thank you, thank you for your prayers." We'll keep 'em coming, too.

BULLETIN BOARD BLUES: The other piece of news I want to address is unpleasant indeed, but it needs an airing. Sunol Glen School has been in the news recently because of a conflict our district is having with the charter school it sponsors. There have been a few heated board meetings, and there are complex issues to resolve, but we have faith in our school board and our superintendent to work through this.

Unfortunately, someone has posted numerous unsigned notes on our community bulletin board, filled with name-calling, insults and accusations against the leaders of our school district. In the name of educating children, the "author" is setting our youth a dreadful example. Why not make a call, schedule an appointment, and address your concerns in a respectful and mature manner? It saddens us when things like this happen, and it is an insult to the Sunol Business Guild to put their generous gift of the bulletin board kiosk to such a scurrilous use.

Perhaps Sunolians can keep an eye peeled for such notices and take them down immediately - don't wait for someone else to do it. And should your children see them, or neighbors remark about them, please remind them that these are the actions of one unhappy individual, and not a reflection of our wonderful citizenry.

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