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Smith: One thing Ralph taught his son

Years ago, Ralph Harms just had to learn emergency lifesaving.

The conspicuously fit 77-year-old runner and former Green Beret taught YMCA fitness classes for decades, and he's mentored scores of kids in the Salvation Army's Double Punches boxing club. So year after year, the Santa Rosan was certified in CPR.

As he recalls, it was four years back that he asked his grown son, Joe, if he'd like to learn the technique for attempting to revive someone who's showing no signs of life. Joe did, so Ralph taught him.

Darned good thing. Earlier this summer they and a friend were playing the Sebastopol Golf Course and, wham, Ralph collapsed in full cardiac arrest.

Joe knelt and performed chest compressions on him until paramedics arrived. A triple bypass later, Ralph is much better. He soon as he was able, he told his son, “I wouldn't be here if not for you.”

Joe replied, “You know what, Dad? Right back at you.”

DUFFER'S CHRISTMAS: Santa Claus is real. I've met him and maybe you have, too.

He poses as Tim Oxford, a 6-foot-5 contractor from Windsor. For 20 Christmases, he's donned the red-and-white and presented gifts — last year alone, more than 1,300 of them — to special-needs kids, homeless moms, lonely seniors and myriad others.

“Santa Tim” and some helpers will host their first benefit golf tourney Oct. 11 at Windsor Golf Course. A couple of its nice touches:

• At one of the tees, players will place their golf balls atop snowballs.

• The entire event will be decked out in so much Christmas regalia that golfers will find themselves humming “Jingle Bells” and craving eggnog.

Oxford (tim@santatim.org) doesn't sleep much, but these days when he does he dreams of foursomes.

HE WAS HARMLESS, most likely. But it occurred to a mom named Emmy as she and her 8-year-old son waited in an alley at Montgomery Village for a restroom to free up that the man with a bike who stood close by did seem a bit sketchy.

Soon, a kid of 15 or 16 appeared on a skateboard, scooted past, then returned. “He stood in between the man and my son and me, and I assumed he was also waiting for the bathrooms,” Emmy said.

At once, the fellow with the bike took off. And the teen told Emmy, “That guy seemed a little creepy, and I didn't want you standing here by yourself.”

Then he left Emmy wishing she could meet the parents who are raising a young man such as he.

(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.)

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