Thanksgiving by Gabriel A. Fraire ~ For the Purrfect cup of Coffee...Go to Coffee Catz in Sebastopol!

8 • November 2017 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC. Wildfire Relief Fund

Healdsburg, CA. ~ One Thanksgiving we went East to be with family. I come from a huge family and my daughters only know a few of them because most live in the Chicago area.

Before leaving on our trip we worked on how to meet and greet new family. I told the girls, if someone puts out a hand, shake it, firmly. If no

hand held out just look them in the eye, and say, “It is a pleasure to meet you.” I have one aunt who ter- rorized all my cousins when we were children, Tia Bruja (aunt witch). She had a sour face, always wore black, and moved slowly. She had one tiny hair coming out from her chin. When she spoke, it was more like a bark.

When the girls met Tia Bru- ja, my daughter said, “It is a pleasure to meet you.” Tia Bruja barked, “That is an as- sumption. You don’t know anything about me.” My daugh- ter looked at her and said, “I know you are my aunt so you must love me.” Tia Bruja tried to hold back a

smile but it cracked the cor- ner of her face. We had a lot of people there and seating was not in any order, people sitting where they could. I noticed that Tia Bruja sat with my daughters and a few other children. They were all very animated and Tia Bruja just kept smiling. On Thanksgiving I often

think of that day and Tia Bru- ja and how being surrounded by little children opened her heart.

I give thanks

for how wonder- ful children are. They

are inno-

cence and hon- est and unbiased. They give me hope.

Every Thanks- giving I give thanks for all the children and the

goodness they bring. Happy Thanksgiving.

Gabriel A. Fraire has been a

writer more than 45

years. He has written fic- tion and non-fiction books, plays, poems, music lyrics, and news articles. But, he writes about his children exclusively for the Upbeat Times.


Santa Rosa, CA. ~ United Way of the Wine Country has opened a Wildfire Relief Appli- cation for those who have been affected by the fires in Sonoma County. We are partnering with Redwood Credit Union, The Press Democrat, and Senator Mike McGuire to provide di- rect monetary aid to families and individuals who have suf- fered loss as a result of the fires. Residents of Sonoma County experiencing any of the follow- ing as a direct result of the 2017 wildfires are eligible to apply: 1) displaced from home, 2) suf- fered loss of home or personal property, or 3) experienced fire- related financial hardship (i.e. loss of income/employment). Applications for assistance available

are in English and

Spanish online at unitedway- or at the Unit- ed Way of the Wine Country office at 975 Corporate Cen- ter Parkway, Suite 160, Santa Rosa, CA 95407. All applications must include proof of address. Only one ap- plication per household is per- mitted. The deadline to apply will be four (4) weeks after the fires are listed as 100% con- tained by CalFire.


Please return completed ap- to

uwwc.general@ or to the United Way of the Wine Country office at 975 Corporate Center Pkwy., Ste. 160, Santa Rosa, CA 95407.


Questions? Please contact at

nicollette.weinz- veg@unitedwaywinecountry.

org or (707) 528-4485 ext. 141. If you would like to donate to the UWWC Fire Relief Fund and help those in need, please visit org.


Serving Sonoma County Since 1987 8 • November 2017 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC.

2700 Yulupa Ave. ~ Santa Rosa, CA 95405 707-523-1333 “Love is the absence of judgment.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you

want to make.” Jane Goodall

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