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Of cats, tough sweet girls, 13-year-old insight & uses of panic alarms
riley lt
A cat seen with her legs across Riley Simmons arm as she sleeps at home shows concern while the Ripon 9-year-old was home from the hospital for the holidays following her brain surgery early in December. - photo by Photo Contributed

A demonstration of animal love and concern was paramount at the Simmons’ home in Ripon when 9-year-old daughter Riley was able to come home from a Bay Area hospital over the holidays. The picture a family member snapped tells it all as the family cat snuggled up next to the young Ripon girl who had brain cancer surgery early in December.

Riley’s cat seems to sense a problem as it snuggles in between the pillows and her shoulder, placing a protective leg across her arm that is going to keep her from future harm.

Riley had to go back to the hospital on Monday for a radiation treatment, according to her grandmother Sandy Hodges. She was home again for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Riley returns to UCSF for more radiation through Friday of this week – and then its back to the Bay Area again for all five work days next week and beyond.

“She is an amazing, incredible little girl who has been an inspiration to many,” her grandmother stressed, noting that her walking, speech and eyesight have been improving measurably since the surgery.

Supporters from Ripon and surrounding communities filled Ripon’s Canal Street Grill last month donating beyond expectations to a fundraiser to help the Simmons family through their lengthy recuperation process. Many expressed their heartfelt feelings and prayers for Riley.

Surprising 13-year-old grandson

Grandchildren are full of surprises – fortunately, they never seem to end. I came across a Facebook posting from my 13-year-old grandson that really caught my attention. Since he doesn’t live in this community and doesn’t share our last name, it’s probably OK for me to share his piece entitled “Life.”

“You know, come to think of it, Life is a complex puzzle of happiness, struggles, overjoyed feelings and brutal reality.

“There will be dark times in Life and light times. Times where you feel you’re at the top of the world and times when you value yourself as nothing but an outcast – someone who has been forgotten, abandoned or blown off.

“And I ask of you to never doubt yourself. You were born for a reason and you must follow that reason. I feel myself as a lucky guy with a great family, friends that are brothers to me, and a home with many heartwarming commodities. Yet, there were always bumps in my new and still young life. Those bumps are related to sports, girls, values and even why I’m here right now.

“I’ve given up on some sports, blown off the prospect of being “more than friends” with girls right now and fathomed when my time will come. Fortunately, I realized my time will come, but not here and now. It’s the same for many people just like me. And, I ask of you to always, and I mean always, be yourself!

“Lord knows you might like history, video games, make-up, nature, sports or just where you’re at or where you’re placed in Life right now. So please don’t waste your gift, because I’ve seen mine. Everyone has value, but it’s hard for some to see that gift and use it to their advantage. Like I said, there will be times when it’s dark, very dark. But I ask of every human being to keep walking toward the light – the light of treasure, happiness, peace and prosperity.

“I understand you see me as not some high ranking official or some well-respected preacher. I feel this is nothing but the honest truth and I ask for everyone to love who they are and become what they want to be. So far, I’m just a guy who has finally found out the meaning of the game of life.”

Everybody’s home alarm system

Longtime Nile Garden Elementary School principal Bill Whiteside – now retired and for years a fellow Rotarian - sent me a tip on guarding the family car as well as the home.

It’s all about making use of the “panic” button on the car key remote. Whiteside says to always put them on the nightstand at night next to your bed. When suspecting someone is breaking into a car in front of the house, in the garage, or a violation of home security by a burglar that set of keys can be invaluable, he says.

He noted that the “panic” alarm can be activated from anywhere in the house and will usually discourage a would-be burglar knowing that he is being watched from the homeowners or the neighbors next door or across the street – all with cell phones that can be used to alert the police.

Thanks Bill. That can be a very effective tip for all of us for the New Year.