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Sonoma County Gazette
Forestville - The Good Life by Lucy Hardcastle

Many Blessings to Count

Oct 23, 2017
by Lucy Hardcastle


When I think of Thanksgiving this year, I know I’m not waiting until the end of the month to count my blessings. You may be feeling that same way, especially since Forestville escaped the monster firestorm that devoured neighborhoods to our east. Yes, we are lucky the wind shifted, but we also recognize our good luck was someone else’s misfortune. Big Time. In the face of that, many of us jumped right in to see how, where and what we could do to help those who didn’t escape the flames and its aftermath.

For example, if you had walked by Backyard Restaurant any given day after the fire you would have seen a flurry of activity. Dozens of volunteers were chopping, stirring, grilling, cooking, packing, sorting, making thousands of sandwiches, doing what they could under the guiding eye of Chef Daniel Kedan, or his indomitable partner Marianna. She had come home from San Francisco that fateful early Monday, and her first words to Daniel were “fire up the grill.” They didn’t stop for days, providing 8,000 meals to first responders, shelters, churches housing the displaced, campgrounds at the coast filled with people getting as far away as they could, fleeing the inferno that destroyed their homes. They even took dog food.

Marianna in turn was grateful for the 100 or so volunteers who showed up, including Andy Forrister on loan from Russian River Vineyards to handle the logistics of getting things where they were needed. Marianna said restaurants as far away as San Francisco were sending up food. Folks came out of the woodwork, including Crop Mobsters and home gardeners sharing what they could to feed those in need. While I was standing there in awe of the organizational structure they put together in a heartbeat, a woman came in with boxes of plastic utensils and paper plates to go along with the trays of food being delivered. She had done her own fundraiser to purchase those items. Sheila Vidrine found a niche and filled it

I suspect many of us took in evacuees that first week. Let’s not forget however, as the ensuing months come and go, our generosity and compassion will be needed still. Check out websites that can connect those who are willing to share an extra room, a granny unit, a house or apartment with those who are desperate for a roof over their head. Is this something you can do?Lynda Hopkins, our 5th District Supervisor can direct you.

And as the shock wears off I think most of us are feeling a stronger need to connect. Jennifer Hagenbart,Principal from Forestville Elementary, likes the idea of inviting a displaced family for Thanksgiving dinner. Barbara St. Louis from theMethodist Church reminds us there is a gathering for “Tea and Classics” Sunday, November 12 starting at 3 pm. Bring family, neighbors and friends to a wonderful program of music, poetry and readings of the Classics with a repast of fine teas, sandwiches and sweets in the “Team Room” Wiebe Hall. Don’t forget the Hollydale Club has their renown “Last Sunday Breakfasts” where community comes together over great big plates of food. Their cooks choose a different brunch menu each time, so bring a guest from outside the area so they can see what hospitality looks like Forestville style. Next one is Sunday, November 26 from 9-noon at the Hollydale Club off Scenic Drive. Table tennis continues the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7 pm.

Shop local, be kind, share what you can, and count your blessings. I’m doing so every day.


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