From the e-mails and voice-mails:
ROCK-ER STARS When you think of all the little things we take for granted in everyday life, add the gentle sway of a rocking chair to the list.
Little Tanner Woods of Turlock was born with his heart on the right side of his body, meaning it's on the wrong side. To further complicate matters, the right side of his heart didn't develop, and the problems affect other organs, as well.
Consequently, the 20-month-old boy has had two open-heart surgeries and one on his intestines, with more including a heart transplant in his future.
Parents Jim and Monica Woods make frequent trips to the UC San Francisco children's hospital, and those trips wear on the little guy.
But sit with him in a rocking chair and the world suddenly seems like a nicer place.
"It really helps in getting him to sleep," Monica Woods said. "For the longest time, because of the problems, we couldn't hold him. Now he's to the point where we can, and he really enjoys (the rocking)."
It comforts him, as it does other young children. However, there is only one rocker for all of the rooms in UCSF's intensive-care unit, and it's available on a first-come, first-rock basis and leaves other parents to wait to calm down their children.
So Mike Summerlot, Tanner's grandfather, contacted longtime friend Rick Walker to see how much it would cost to buy some chairs and donate them to the hospital.
Walker and wife Kerry own Al's Furniture in north Modesto. The Walkers are giving more than price quotes. They invited Tanner and his parents to test-sit some rocker models last month. The Woods family preferred a cushioned, glider-style rocker. So Walker contacted executives at Best Home Furnishings of Ferdinand, Ind. The manufacturer offered to donate four chairs, and Walker is buying four more. His cost? $1,900.
The glider model Tanner's parents selected costs $475 apiece. Consequently, all of the chairs, due to be delivered to the hospital next month, will be donated.
HELPING HANDS Kudos to employees of the Stanislaus County district attorney's office. After reading my Aug. 9 column about the young boy and mom who lost everything when they were burned out of their rental home Aug. 6, the district attorney staff pitched in $350 and bought them a Target gift card.
DUPED Scammers never cease to amaze me not because they keep trying with some pretty ridiculous plots, but because they succeed every so often. They recently took a 62-year-old Ripon woman for $8,000, claiming they represented the Food and Drug Administration and that she was under investigation by federal court officials in the Dominican Republic. They prey on older people who order prescription drugs over the Internet or the phone, telling them it is illegal. Using official-looking fake documents, they conned the Ripon resident into sending $2,000 to make the issue go away, then demanded more. She kept sending.
A call to local police, the FBI office in Modesto or the FDA before sending the money to the crooks would have debunked the fraud. Google it and you'll find that the FDA has been warning people about variations on the scam coming out of the Dominican Republic since 2009.
And if you aren't skilled on a computer, the staff at public libraries will help you research such scams.
WAITING GAME In May, I wrote about Jessica and David Bromley's quest to adopt a Ugandan baby, and how the Modesto couple set about to raise at least some of the estimated $23,000 cost. They held a yard sale that generated about $6,400. Then they had another, though it didn't net nearly as much. A reader e-mailed, wanting an update on their progress in the adoption progress, which can take many months even years because of another nation's adoption rules, regulations and red tape.
"Right now, we are still waiting for a referral," according to David Bromley. "We aren't sure when that will happen, but we are praying it happens soon."
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @jeffjardine57 on Twitter or at (209) 578-2383.