Amid his sorrow over the loss of two women he holds dear, Jay Hufford appeared at the candlelight vigil that the Mark West Schools family put on for his late wife, Sue, the music teacher.

He brought a letter he had written and asked Superintendent Ron Calloway to read it to students, staff and parents. It was remarkable.

The letter by the man who lost both his wife, Sue, and mother, Sharon, in a senseless crash on Highway 12 offered comfort to the Mark West community.

"It's going to take us all time to adjust to the loss of Mrs. Hufford in our lives," Jay wrote. "But in time, the pain will lessen, and we will all continue with our lives. I think she would hope for us to simply treat each other with kindness."

He continued, "Students, please know that you brought joy to Mrs. Hufford." He encouraged the children to keep on with their music — and, "please, treasure the time you had with her."

THAT TYPHOON that ravaged the Philippines is old news for most of us but not for the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos whose lives were blown apart.

Sunday in Sebastopol, there's a chance to feast on "Pasta King" Art Ibleto's food and to help purchase new boats for fishermen and women who lost their boats, and also to restore homes, schools and agriculture in remote villages beyond the reach of most aid.

Filipino Americans and Japanese Americans in Sonoma County are working together on Sunday's benefit, which happens from 3 to 6 p.m. at Enmanji Temple on Gravenstein Highway South.

There's no charge, but donations will be accepted. Musicians will perform traditional Philippine music and there will be arts and crafts from the terribly wounded island nation for sale.

If you can't go but would like to contribute, you can write a check to Mindanao Lilang-Lilang and mail it to the Center for Babaylan Studies, 282 Beech Ave., Santa Rosa 95409.

ONE DESK PER YEAR: Sunday's a big day, too, for Santa Rosa High School.

It will celebrate its 140th birthday with an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. at is classic campus next door to SRJC.

The young city of Santa Rosa founded the lair of the Panthers in 1874.

There will be plenty to see and do at Sunday's celebration and though there's no charge, the STP — Student-Teacher-Parent organization — will accept donations for some new student desks.

The STP would like to purchase 140 desks, one for each year of the school's distinguished run. Though imbedded with history and treated with utmost care and respect, a desk at Santa Rosa High last nowhere near 140 years.

(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and