Rio Blanco Range Call Days are fast approaching. It is a tradition for most everyone in our community to get involved in some way. It doesn’t matter if you are a long-term resident or recently moved here, everyone’s help is needed. Year after year, an amazing volunteer workforce turns out to help ensure that all of the activities associated with the annual July 4th festivities will continue.
The lives of so many of the past and present community members that have made a difference to all of us is celebrated right alongside the traditional festivities in some small way. That recognition usually comes after many years of an individual or family’s dedication to keeping this annual, event alive. The lists of volunteers signing up to help months before an event is scheduled to occur have become shorter and shorter in the past few years during the pandemic. While the thinning of the volunteer ranks during our annual Range Call has been occurring for years as well, the new residents, as well as an increasing number of younger people are stepping up.
Another sadder, yet equally important tradition in our rural area is the posting of death notices on the Post Office door. It was sometimes the only way residents could be informed of the news.
Unfortunately for the past few years the number of cards posted daily has increased. There are far too many white memorial cards posted on the post office door these days.
Years ago, not long after I moved to Meeker, I started noticing the seasonal growth in the number of notices posted each winter or late spring. The longer I stayed here, the increase in the number of announcements with recognizable names became intolerable to me. I began to avoid stopping at the Post Office to pick up the daily mail. I even wrote in this weekly newspaper column about my problem facing what I thought of a Three Card Day.
Reports from friends who face the same glass door daily say the numbers appear to be rapidly increasing. As in many rural communities across this state, who depend on weekly newspapers and now daily online news reports, this important tradition shows no real signs of slowing down markedly.
We must continue to celebrate the lives of those folks who are gone now by honoring their memory. Some families always get together for holidays and honor those who are no longer with us with another kind of tradition. During a year that has been so difficult, I know so many who will remember the people who may be gone but have been an integral part of this community.
By DOLLY VISCARDI – Special to the Herald Times