Life in Our Mountain Town: Locals reflect on the attack on America | SierraSun.com
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Life in Our Mountain Town: Locals reflect on the attack on America

Katie Shaffer, Sierra Sun Columnist

Words seem to fail me this week – an ironic circumstance considering I get paid to use words well, or at least, to choose my words carefully.

I have ideas for future columns, but somehow, this week, nothing seems appropriate to write about in light of the events that have taken place in our country.

The best thing I can think to offer are random notes on how some locals have been affected by the terrorist attacks on our country.

A friend of mine went out to dinner downtown after the one Back-to-School Night last week that was not canceled. Sitting at the restaurant near her were a group of men who had intended to be on an annual golf trip to Banff, but instead, they had ended up in Truckee. Since they were suddenly unable to fly to Canada, they had decided to drive to Truckee and enjoy all our community has to offer, including they told her, our serenity and beauty.

Another note about what our town has to offer came to me one day later, on Friday. I worried out loud to a realtor friend of mine, who I ran into at Gateway Deli. Our house is on the market for sale, and showings have been slow and understandably this past week, nonexistent. Even though my husband and I really need to have things fall into place by selling our current house, worrying about our personal economic situation seems petty and misplaced. Our focus should be about caring for others who have been so stricken. I found myself saying to her, “If the economy tanks, it’s completely out of my control, and we’ll deal with it.”

Anyway, this realtor friend of mine told me that she believes that still more people will consider moving to places like Truckee which are out of the mainstream urban experience, smaller communities where you feel safe. That may not be good news for locals who oppose more development. Her prediction struck me as a strange mixture of fear-based optimism.

My piano teacher’s husband was on a fishing trip in Alaska a week ago Tuesday, and he was having a heck of a time trying to get a flight home as of this writing. My daughter’s teacher’s husband was in Minnesota, and he too, ended up not being able to get home for days beyond his expected return.

Another friend of mine really needed her mom to be able to get on a plane and fly safely home. My friend has a broken foot, and her mother flew out from Wisconsin to help with the children, one being a toddler who needs more care than a mom on crutches can provide. Since arriving, a series of mishaps have occurred including a fire in their neighborhood in Alpine Meadows and a subsequent evacuation, and a fall on a slippery kitchen floor.

I, like so many others not only here but apparently across our nation, have found solace at church. I was grateful to find open doors and prayer services planned, where we could read psalms of comfort, and ask for strength and guidance and peace, and to take up special collections to be sent where money is needed.

Nine people from my hometown in suburban New Jersey are missing. My friend’s brother’s best friend is missing. My cousin’s neighbor is missing. Friends that I grew up with and went to college with worked in the World Trade Center buildings. As far as I know, they are all OK. My e-mail correspondence has been voluminous.

This past weekend I spent a lot of time with my younger daughter, as the rest of our family was not home. On Friday night she and I sat on the couch together and watched a little bit of television.

As a network broadcast showed continuing coverage of “ground zero” in New York City in the pouring rain, my 10-year old turned to me and said, very quickly and with assurance, “Of course it’s raining there, God’s crying for us.”

Her comment took me by surprise, and then I realized how much I love those precious moments when you are jolted out of your adult perspective by a child’s simple explanation.

Katie Shaffer has lived in Truckee since 1981.


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