Union Democrat staff

Tip the driver

To the editor:

Tip the tow truck driver. Not too many people realize that these men work on commission. They are polite and loyal. These guys work in lots of hazardous conditions. Our roadways are curvy and dangerous. They come out in any weather at any hour of the night or day.

When they have gotten you headed in the right direction or towed you to a safe spot, Whew! It's usually a relief. A little token of appreciation might buy them lunch that day.

Give a tip. What goes around comes around.

Becky Easley


Not appropriate

To the editor:

It's finally here, the holiday season! In my mind, it's finally appropriate to see Christmas merchandise in the stores, to see houses with Christmas lights dripping from them, to hear the sounds of Christmas songs in the shopping centers.

It's been a tradition in my family on the day after Thanksgiving to string up our Christmas lights. That's just what my father and I did this year. We also have a tradition of driving around Sonora and other spots in the county to look at the houses with all their holiday lights. I grew up here and now I'm living here again and that's what we do. It's appropriate.

What is not appropriate, however, is kids, and-or adults, vandalizing our Christmas lights, walking around our neighborhoods "shorting" out strings of lights or breaking or unscrewing bulbs. It's not the cost. It's just not appropriate. In the past three days, I've replaced 24 bulbs and two fuses and re-plugged two strands of lights.

Living in Tuolumne County (or any for that matter) comes with a price and that is teaching our children to respect others property and not to mess with your neighbor's Christmas lights. Let's be diligent and respectful this year and enjoy the holiday season. After all, it's a time when middle-aged adults can feel like kids again.

William E. Freeze


Remember the children

To the editor:

When a child dies in your family, the world changes; and you will never again be the same person. The loss of a child, no matter the age or circumstances, is truly one of life's harshest blows.

Compassionate Friends, a self-help bereavement organization, created the Worldwide Candle Lighting. It is always held on the second Sunday in December, which this year is Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. Each person lights a candle that burns for one hour. Candles are first lit just west of the International Date Line and an hour later in the next time zone, eventually creating a 24-hour wave of light to remember all children who had died.

Roger and I invited our readers to light a candle Sunday in remembrance of all the children and on a personal note, our daughter, Kristi Dawn (Kerry McCluskey's identical twin sister). Please add your flame to the wave of light around the world.

Kathy Francis


Give family activities

To the editor:

With the holidays fast approaching and families struggling to make ends meet, the Parent Advisory Council of Tuolumne County and Shared Leadership Network has some suggestions for giving this holiday season.

Our community is always so generous this time of year and families appreciate the support. If you would like to help a family, instead of buying toys for the children, maybe it would be more helpful to support family-oriented activities. Consider giving gift certificates for a family outing such as bowling, ice or roller skating or a family movie night. This would help support the local economy and give families the opportunity to enjoy time together, something that children really long for these days.

How about a food basket so the whole family can eat together and buy it from a local grocer? Maybe sponsor a child in an activity such as: baseball, soccer, football, hockey, martial arts, dance or performing arts. This would help families that are truly in need of some assistance and the local economy would benefit also. Toys are nice, but a whole family would benefit from gifts with family activities in mind. Thank you and wishing you a happy, healthy holiday season.

Parent Advisory Council/Shared Leadership Network of Tuolumne County members: Robin Perkins, parent, Twain Harte; Tina Walts, parent, Jamestown; Sandy Domanski, parent, Sonora; Trix Copps, grandparent, Sonora; Dana Reel, parent, Soulsbyville; Erin Pollen, program manager, Infant-Children Enrichment Services//Raising Healthy Families; Tracy Sundstrand, differential response specialist, Joint Family Resource Center; Ginger Martin, program manager, District Attorney/Victim Witness; Irene Taylor, Lilliput Children's Services. Contact Erin Pollen at ICES: 533-0377 for more information.

Erin Pollen