George Swan was back in the Sebastopol, bearing gifts.
He's worked as a hospital administrator all around the world since he left that post at Palm Drive Hospital about 40 years ago.
George was in town to visit longtime friend Muriel Kingsbury, who'd worked back then as his administrative secretary. Having downsized recently in Denver, George brought Muriel a couple of pieces of Sonoma County art he no longer has room for.
Muriel gasped at one of them. It's a nice reproduction of a watercolor of the Frizelle Enos feed store.
The painter was Lenore Carrion, who lives right around the block from Muriel. And Lenore's husband, Al, preceded George as administrator of Palm Drive.
Muriel asked George if he knew Frizelle Enos burned down in July. He had no idea.
Muriel loves her new piece of art, a charming small-town shopping scene. She's eager to compare it to the store that rises from the ashes.
IT'S A BEAUTY, but the great, redwood canoe crafted in a Santa Rosa yard by a team of Native Americans early this summer wasn't among the hand-hewn craft that completed the annual 100-mile "Paddle to Quinault" on coast of Washington State.
L. Frank Manriquez and the other members of the crew decided at the outset that their canoe was up to journey but that they themselves were not sufficiently experienced to safely take on the rough ocean conditions.
Still, Manriquez, a member of the Tongva tribe, and her fellows found value in creating the 18-foot, 400-pound craft and meeting up with the Native Americans who made scores of canoes for the gathering and mass paddle.
"We came from different tribes but we all came from the same experience," she said. "This was another step toward finding out who we are. Well, living who we are."
Manriquez, 61, and the co-creators of the canoe will take it to Doran Park to train with it and prepare for one day paddling it in the journey of discovery off Washington.
As for this year, Manriquez said, "The thing for us was to get it there, and we did."
HER CAR DIED in the middle of Santa Rosa's Davis Street and it was after dark, so Gloria Russell was desperate for a friendly push.
A man on the sidewalk glanced her way but kept on walking. "Then," Gloria recounts, "a tiny girl, maybe 20, offered to help."
Though she was dolled up, the woman pushed Gloria's car to the curb — while the man looked on.
Whatever it was that Gloria once said about giving up on young people these days, she takes it back.
MANY FINE ANSWERS flowed from the first-day-of-school survey that a Windsor High algebra teacher asked students to complete.
One question in particular got the students to tapping their chins. It wasn't one they'd expect to encounter in algebra: "What is one thing about yourself or your life that you are grateful for?"
Wouldn't you like to meet the kid who answered, "For waking up in the morning."