Day 302 – Small Town Living

treeOver the last 20+ years, I have lived in the little town of Blackfoot, Idaho.  It’s a great little place to be from.  I always counted it as a perfect jumping off spot.  In three hours or less, you could get to Salt Lake City, Jackson Hole, West Yellowstone, or Sun Valley.  A little more time and you could include Bozeman and Boise in that, and even Jackpot if you wanted to gamble.  A perfect spot to get just about anywhere.  But, what did Blackfoot itself have to offer?

Good schools, schools that were large enough to have lots to get involved in, but small enough that the competition to participate wasn’t too much.  Good people, truly caring people that were always looking out for the community.  Good jobs, there are four very large employers in town, of which I was lucky enough to be employed at one for over 23 years.  Good ….well, that’s probably as long as the list is.

One of the other things it has though is a sense of community.  I was fortunate enough to be involved in a number of community activities over the years.  I participated heavily with Jaycees, the Elks, the Blackfoot Community Players and Relay for Life.  I was on the fringe of the Community Table, Stone Soup and the Christmas Tree Fantasy.  If you attended any events in town you would see the same people involved, almost every time.  Some more heavily involved in others, but still, the same folks make things happen in every small town.

The Christmas Tree Fantasy is an event I have always admired, but only participated from the sidelines.  Occasionally I would decorate a tree to donate.  My Girl Scout troop did that often.  Most often, I just went to the event and spent a little money.  I was never in the “in” crowd that was heading this program up.  Each year there is an auction that raises money for various local charities.  The same people buy at the auction each year, trees are decorated and donated by so many charitable people.  There is always music and candy to buy.  Each year it was better than the year before.  For a few years, a group of us delivered the trees that were bought to their new owners, now that was fun! I truly admire those that selflessly gave of their time to make this event happen.  Maybe your town has something just like it.  For me, it was the start of the Christmas season, a tradition to attend, to enjoy, to inspire.  What does your community do to bring joy to the season?

Day 317 – Baja 2012, Day Ten

Slap, Pop, Slam…no, not the updated version of the Rice Krispies, kids playing pogs on the sidewalk,  those are the sound they make.  We stopped at Adriana’s on the Malecon in San Felipe.  I just couldn’t see making the trip all the way here and not stopping for the best shrimp quesadillas in the world.  Maria’s grandkids, three boys ranging in age 3 to 7 were on the sidewalk with their pogs.  I remember pogs, Kayla had a whole duffle bag full of them, maybe 15+ years ago.

When my kids were little, their dad ran an auction barn, so they could often pick up toys they wanted on the cheap.  Kayla did that with pogs, she was probably eight or nine at the time.  She had more slammers than anyone else on the playground.  Everyday she took a large bag full to school, I’m pretty sure she handed out a handful to all her friends so they could play too.  Kayla has always been very generous that way.  She’s the girl who brought home strays, whether they were cats or people never mattered.  If someone was in a bad situation she brought them home to help them.

Next week is the Christmas Tree Fantasy in our hometown, since the moment Kayla figured out there was a giving tree, we had to go to the Fantasy on the first night it opened and find our giving tree recipients. It was important that the kids all had someone their own age to buy for.  Then we would spend one night just shopping for those presents only.  My Kayla was always the most generous, she just wanted to buy one more thing, every time.  I’m very proud of her and hope her generosity of spirit doesn’t wane in her grown up years.  It is one of her best qualities, love you Kayla.