Sifting through the voice mails and e-mails after a two-week vacation:
HOLDING PATTERN -- My Christmas Day column told of how Modesto resident Jennifer Doyle planned to give the gift of life and love -- a kidney -- to her husband, David, on Dec. 28.
The plan is still a go, but they've had to delay the surgery until David's lingering low-grade fever subsides.
"We went (to San Francisco), had a friend drop us off and went through the pre-op," Jennifer said.
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She got the news she wanted to hear -- that she is, indeed, the perfect match for her husband. That became extremely important when tests showed that her brother, who also volunteered to donate a kidney, was not.
But the medical staff wasn't about to risk the surgery that day, Jennifer said.
"A doctor came in and said, 'Tell us about these fevers,' " she said. "It was the right decision. He came down with a bad cold. We'll watch him for a week or two until he's OK, then we'll go back over."
YA, THEY'RE COMING -- A Swedish TV crew will be here later this week to visit with Nelson Hackett, a 96-year-old Modestan who rides his three-wheeled bike with his three-legged dog in the basket or running right behind him.
The Swedes are in the United States in search of the "most extraordinary American." By extraordinary, they mean someone who goes the extra mile, is likable and a bit on the offbeat side.
According to Debbie Southern, Hackett's daughter, the crew plans to visit with Hackett on Friday morning and follow him with their camera as he takes a bike ride with his 3-year-old Chihuahua mix, Lilly, in tow.
The show -- starring "two of Sweden's most beloved TV hosts," Filip Hammar and Fredrick Wikinsson -- will air in the spring in Sweden. Sorry, it won't be available on your local Comcast lineup or on satellite TV.
DULY NOTED -- In my Dec. 18 column, I suggested that any one of us could benefit from whatever words of wisdom Modesto entrepreneur Dan Costa mumbles in his sleep, because he has the innate ability to turn small businesses into huge moneymakers before selling them to big companies for millions upon millions of dollars. The note drew a response from reader Norman VanSpronsen:
What makes you think Dan Costa sleeps? Working, not sleeping, is how people make that kind of money. That's why you and I don't earn that much.
Years ago, when Mallard's Pasta first showed up in the cooler case at Raley's, we called in after a late dinner to complain that some error must have been made in the package we bought because it was waaaaaaaayyyyyy too spicy. With any other brand we would have overlooked it and just not purchased that item anymore, but we wanted our local business to succeed, so we called the 800 comment number listed on the package. At 10 p.m. Dan Costa was answering his own 800 number!
A few days later, VanSpronsen said, he received a box of pasta from Costa.
SLICE OF AMERICANA -- Every workday, I use country roads to get to Modesto and back. I frequently see sofas, chairs, appliances and televisions dumped alongside these roads. At first I thought it was merely the work of those too classless to take their discards to the dump. But after seeing a Christmas tree added to the mix on Bentley Road, east of Modesto, it's obvious someone is going for an entire outdoor holiday living room ensemble.
ILL WIND -- You see it many mornings this time of year: yard service workers and homeowners blowing leaves and debris into the streets. Not a great a idea with another storm due this week. Modesto's rock wells are inadequate enough when it comes to handling the runoff. But add a pile of leaves and what do you get? Drains that plug, turning streets into small lakes and road hazards for drivers who don't pay attention or lack the common sense to slow down before they hit the water.
Bill Dufresne, Modesto's forestry supervisor, said the city is winding down its major leaf collection and is gathering green trimmings, Christmas trees and the leaf "rake-out," the latter referring to what came down after the fall cleanup.
"If they'd rake the leaves into a pile about eight to 10 inches away from the curb, it would help," Dufresne said.
Better yet, bag them.
To comment, click on the link with this column at www.modbee.com. Jeff Jardine's column appears
Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2383.