LIFEIN OUR MOUNTAIN TOWN: Getting thankful |


About five years ago, I went to a funeral held at the community center for a woman I had known who had given me hand-me-down clothes for one of my kids. I also knew her because I had worked with her in a local woman’s organization; she was president and I was newsletter editor the same year. Originally we had met during the days when we had both worked at Northstar-at-Tahoe, and my fondest memories of her were of summer days out at West End Beach where you couldn’t miss her as she strolled up and down the beach visiting with all she knew.

Being at that memorial service, I remember realizing that so many of us in Truckee cross each other’s path and we know each other through many different means. It’s an intrinsic part of living in a small town, and it’s what gives our lives meaning.

This morning as I reached in my kitchen cabinet for a coffee mug, it occurred to me that I repeatedly reach for the same cup with the word LOVE imprinted on it. This simple cup, a gift from my children’s preschool teacher, has been my daily cup of choice for years now because it holds so much more meaning than any other cup in the cupboard.

There are many others in our community who have touched my life. I have a feeling that I am not alone in my experiences.

There is a doctor in town who delivered both of my children. I try to be careful to not put health care providers up on a pedestal. After all, they are human. They just happen to provide us with excellent and needed care during sometimes momentous moments of our own personal lives. To help bring this feeling of enormous gratitude down to earth, I am able to enjoy seeing this particular doctor in the summer out on the ball field since we both play in the same adult coed softball league.

In that same category, there’s a pediatrician in town who came and saw both my daughters on the very days that they were born. Now I guess you could say it was just a coincidence that he was scheduled to make the rounds on those particular mornings. Nonetheless, he was there, both times, and I happen to pay attention to coincidences anyway. Our family has seen this doctor for a multitude of routine stuff, and for a few more serious emergencies as well. Good thing he plays coed softball, too.

Speaking of emergencies, just recently my younger daughter was rushed to the hospital from school. The care and concern that was shown to her by the school teacher and school secretary who ran a red light to get her there quickly – well, maybe you can just imagine my feelings of gratitude and indebtedness.

When I finally got to the hospital, I felt my knees buckling. An emergency room nurse, who is also my neighbor, quickly had me also lying on a hospital bed. Being cared for by those who I know as friends and neighbors is certainly not an experience I think I would find living somewhere else.

Another person in our community who comes to mind is the guy who stopped to give my husband and me a ride after I had hit a deer on a dark moonless night 13 years ago this month.

We were on Highway 89 between Squaw Valley and Truckee. The front end of my car was completely smashed in, the five point buck lay in the road, and we were standing there, unhurt but stunned. The first vehicle that came along stopped, and I was immediately able to say, “Hey, you’re the guy who’s played this character and that character in Truckee Actor Guild productions.” Sure enough he was. And he helped us push the dead deer and my totaled vehicle onto the shoulder of the road, and then he gave us a lift into town.

I think we all have stories like these. You may believe that each of us just ended up here by chance. I think experiences like these confirm that this is where we’re each supposed to be.

On this week of Thanksgiving, I give thanks for how our lives weave together here in Truckee, in ways both large and small.

Katie Shaffer has been living in Truckee since 1981.

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