Life in Evergreen

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Sunday's Thistle Do – attacking the thistles at the lake

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

Since the completion of I-70 through Mount Vernon Canyon in the mid-sixties, Evergreen has grown into a year-round community from about 2700 residents to somewhere over 40,000 residents in the 80439 ZIP code. Without a city government (that’s what it means to be unincorporated, for those who don’t know), residents have had a strong tradition for coming together to do whatever’s necessary.

We have such a time now….

There is a critical situation at the lake and wetlands that needs volunteers to help Sunday, September 11th. The thistle and knapweed infestation is choking out the wetlands and taking over. A handful of us have organized a "Thistle Do" in honor of Sylvia Brockner, who fought to protect the wetlands for bird habitat when the Lake House was being built in the early 1990s. The 11th happens to be a National Day of Service and Remembrance, so the timing is appropriate to encourage volunteerism.

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Stepping forward to help

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

Watch what you say…. I may take you seriously.

With my husband’s recent mishap that left him with a broken neck, I’ve experienced an outpouring of expressions of concern and a number of offers to help. People like Diane Bradberry, who have been through such events, have offered advice that I should learn to take friends up on their desires to help. So I have.

I’ve learned to especially appreciate those who are specific with their offers … people like Don and Marty Unger … and Carol and Jim Hunsaker, who offered to do things around the house or visit with John, for example.

Luann Kaanta picked up a shower chair and went on a search for a suitable recliner.

Ruth Morehouse was attentive, recognizing I might need an opportunity to talk, so offers to walk and dine together were made convenient to my schedule while John was still in ICU.

Warren Rose was earnest; and he was at the ready when I explained we’d used up every day of the grace period for getting a car tested for emissions….

Greg Dobbs not only suggested the services of Mount Evans Home Health Care but took it upon himself to involve CEO Charley Shimanski, who went so far as to offer his cell phone number and freedom to call him in Telluride over the holiday weekend.

Our garage is just a bit too tight to open the passenger-side door when the other car is in place, and I needed to be able to unload John gingerly when he was discharged from the hospital on Friday. A post on the Nextdoor website brought a call from Sue Harvey-Dunn, who carved out space in her garage for storage of our second car for three months. Making room meant I needed to store her snowblower in our garage, a strange sight for a few who caught me wheeling it up the street on a sunny afternoon in May.

Thursdays are trash days, and I have to admit I’ve seldom been the one to set out the trash. The sound of Waste Management’s truck on our street caused me to glance down at my robe and slippers, wondering if I could sneak out without anyone’s seeing me. We’d missed the week before, and I didn’t want to miss another. I dashed out, stunned when, halfway down our short, steep driveway, my foot slid through the open-toed slipper, leaving me in what looked like a poorly executed split. There was about four feet between my feet, and I struggled to keep the trash bin from overpowering me from its uphill position. A young man walking his dog spotted me in my awkward position and came to my rescue (thank you, whoever you are).

Ken Carlson, Hans Homburg and Jack Wolfe offered to help move furniture and spend time with John if I needed to be gone.  

Anne Vickstrom simply announced she was delivering dinner, only giving me the option to say whether we objected to any of the ingredients of what resembled a Moroccan dish of marinated chicken in prunes, apricots and olives. Anne Skewes offered specific dates when she could deliver a meal. Lauren Gardiner made a general offer for a meal, and I took her up on it so fast that I was embarrassed, thinking later it might have just been a casual offer she didn't really mean. But she'd felt comfortable enough to call me one night when her husband died, asking for help writing his obituary.

On Sunday morning I heard someone raking in the yard, only to discover Mark Teter bagging up pine needles without ever being asked. Some people just do things, not waiting to be asked.

My stepson, Bob, showed up about noon with lunch and dinner, with plans to stay with his dad so I could make use of the Rockies tickets I’d received for Mother’s Day. He traded screens for windows on the storm doors and finished raking the pine needles.

While enduring a Rockies’ loss to the Giants, I thought I’d close my eyes and doze for a few minutes as those around me visited the concession stands. Who would notice? But during that short nap, I nearly made the Jumbotron and multiple reruns on the nightly news when a foul ball whizzed through the space where the person in front of me had been sitting, hitting the vacant seat next to me before bouncing in another direction. I awoke seeing it 24 inches in front of my nose.

Today, hearing I was out of my favorite Swiss process decaf that comes only from a Marshdale retailer, Barbara Fairchild and Pat Shepherd put their heads together to get me a supply.

Most of these names represent people who’ve never even been to our house before. We’re not best friends. They just stepped forward to help.  And these are just a sampling of those who've made offers.

That’s Evergreen, the Evergreen I know and love.

Thank you.

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There’s nothing like having a near-death experience to put things into perspective

Written by Linda Kirkpatrick on .

Hypothetically

Unable to find a creative writing class that fit my schedule and that of my friend Beth, we decided to take on our own writing project based on one Beth had been through 30+ years ago in college. In a class on death and dying, students were charged with writing a paper on the subject “If I only had six months to live.” Beth was curious how her perspective might have changed in the past three decades, and I thought it would be an interesting exercise.

Being the methodical person I am, I began with jotting down bullet points under five self-designated categories and learned many things at the end of two weeks.

I discovered I had no “bucket list” of things yet to see and experience. I’m fortunate to have seen and done lots of things/places around the world; and although I’ve not been everywhere, I really had no burning desire to have to travel somewhere I’d not yet been.

I concluded that expressing gratitude and making amends are two areas I tend to deal with along the way, generally not procrastinating nor taking for granted. But there are some people like spouses who always deserve more appreciation than already delivered. And there are some people who’ve not been responsive to attempts to build better relationships thus far, so I decided I wouldn’t devote any more energy to making that something to be achieved in my last six months. What would be would be.