Tough times bring out the best in area communities

RBC — I recently went through a scare with one of my kids, and it rocked me to the core.
I wasn’t prepared for such a family crisis. As a parent, none of us is, I suppose. These things happen to other people, right?
Every parent’s worst nightmare is that something bad would befall one of his or her kids. Or, God forbid, they would be killed in a car accident or succumb to a fatal disease. As a parent, living with the loss of a child is unthinkable. Your world would never be the same.
I can’t imagine losing a child. No parent can.
I have four teenagers. Two of them are of driving age, and another one is working on her learner’s permit. It makes me nervous every time one of them gets behind the wheel. I constantly remind them to wear a seat belt.
When I first heard about Celena Miner, the Rangely High School student who suffered a spinal injury in a car accident in May, it made me shudder. She wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
I don’t know Celena. I have never met her. I have only seen her picture in the paper. Nor do I know her family, although I spoke to her mom last week on the phone.
But, as a parent, my heart goes out to them.
When I spoke to Betsy Miner from the rehabilitation hospital in Denver, where Celena is a patient, I was impressed by her composure, by her positive outlook. Putting myself in her situation, I was sure I would be a mess. I wondered, how can she be so strong?
I’m sure there have been private moments of despair or doubt for Celena’s mom. But, as a parent, when something bad happens to one of our kids, we somehow summon strength we never knew we had. It’s like we intuitively know — when one of our kids is hurting or in trouble — we have to be strong for them, even if, on the inside, we’re afraid.
There’s no way to go through these life-altering events, like what happened to Celena, without help, without support. I can’t imagine any worse feeling in the world than being alone. We depend on other people. It is as essential to our surviving a crisis as the air we breathe or the food we eat. We need to know there are those who care.
It has been gratifying — but not surprising — to see that sort of support put into action in Rangely. The community has rallied behind Celena and her family, because, well, that’s what communities do. Small towns are like extended family.
On Saturday, volunteers organized a number of fund-raising events — a car wash, a barbecue a community garage sale, along with horseback rides, face painting and activities in the park. All with one goal in mind: To raise money to go toward the Miner family’s medical expenses.
When something terrible happens, the townsfolk of Rangely did what caring communities do: They rallied behind Celena and her family. Rangely residents let the Miner family know, they are not alone.
Dr. Debby Salter, one of the organizers of Saturday’s event, summed it up best, when speaking of the community’s support, “This has been wonderful. It’s what living in Rangely is all about.”
None of us is immune from personal or family pain. It strikes all of us, at one time or another. But it’s nice to know, when that time comes and we are faced with a crisis, we are not alone.
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Sometimes, it’s the unexpected gifts that mean the most.
I was the beneficiary of one of those totally out-of-the-blue nice gestures last week when someone gave me a Meeker ball cap. The faded yellow ball cap has a black “M” on it and reads “Meeker Colorado 2008.”
I immediately put the hat on and wore it home, delighted to have a piece of local apparel.
I wore the ball cap again the next day, but for a different reason.
I had decided it was time to get a haircut. So I walked to a nearby “hair place” — they aren’t called barber shops anymore. But, as a guy, it sounds strange to use the term “salon” when describing where you get your hair cut.
Anyway, a very nice lady said, yes, she took walk-ins. So, I waited for her to finish up with a customer, before settling into the chair myself.
I told the nice hairstylist — men who cut hair for a living are called barbers, and women who do the same thing are called hairstylists, right? — that, after years of wearing my hair fairly long, I had recently gone with a much shorter cut. So, she started with the sides, and then moved to the top. I told her the person who had previously been cutting my hair had used a No. 3 guard to clip the top. Or, I couldn’t remember for sure, was it a No. 2? The nice hairstylist said she thought that would be too short. No, I assured her, it would be fine.
So, reluctantly, she followed my instructions.
My first clue should have been when a fellow hairstylist walked in, took one look at my new haircut, and said, “Wow, that’s short.”
That afternoon, I was wearing the Meeker ball cap again.
Next time, I will pay more attention to what the nice hairstylist has to say.