I mentioned to my Bible study women that the things and people around us indicate how we live our lives.
We influence others and are influenced by them.
We see it especially in our little town of Pagosa. The tourists come and they comment how wonderful the people are. I tell them it is true.
Some of our young adults still live in Pagosa and have been influenced by people who stay in the background these days. Many of my friends have turned their batons over to their children. Their children have become the shakers and movers of Pagosa.
I love writing about my friends. I have known some of these women for at least 30 years or more.
I was busy working in my flowerbed and saw the strawberry plants Rebekah Laue gave me from her garden in 1990. I smiled when I saw them and thought back to the times when I was in her home. She was always in the kitchen baking bread, and there was always soup simmering on the stove.
Her garden tells her story: it is healthy, weeded, watered and quietly producing fruit. For 20 years, her strawberry plants have grown in my yard. You might know Dan Laue, her son. He built our house and is an excellent builder. He is like my own son: a man of integrity.
I saw Etta Fay Day in the store the other day. I told her I missed seeing her in church.
She said, “I’m staying home these days with Paul.”
Wow! She is in church.
Now that’s a good woman. I’d probably set out a TV dinner for poor Sweet Al, put the remote in his hand and tell him I’d see him after church. I can still learn from these women.
I have always wanted to write about Janet Johnson Sorenson. She taught our girls in Sunday school and our girls still look up to her. She taught them godly principles, which they have never forgotten. Mrs. Johnson (as my kids call her) has worked for Goodman’s for over 30 years. She is busy with her grandchildren today. You know her kids by John, Jace and Janae.
The first time I saw Janet Aldridge, she was painting the beams for their home, which Paul was building. The first person I met in Pagosa was Janet Aldridge in 1976. She has taught many children in the Pagosa Schools over the years. You know her kids — Linda Watkins and Laura Haynes.
Wilma Hawkins comes to mind. I met her in 1977. She was president of Women’s Aglow back then. She came to one of the Bible studies I taught, and she was taking care of her sweet mother at the time. I remarked to her how I remembered all the things she did and was involved in. She said as she took care of her mother, the Lord reminded her that her hands were never more beautiful than at that time, being a caregiver to her mother. You know her kids — Leslie Kerns, who owns the River Point Coffee Shop, and Angela.
Cindy Gustafason has supported everyone in Pagosa. I first met her in 1992. She came to our house for a Home and Garden Show.
She looked at our home and said, “I can tell there is a lot of love in this home.”
I don’t know if she remembers that, but I do. She has been a self-appointed patron of the arts and encourager for all the people in Pagosa. Have you been to a function at which you didn’t see Ron and Cindy? I haven’t. She brought her Red Hat ladies out to the house years later.
There has never been an art show, book signing or book presentation I have done over the years that Cindy and Ron haven’t shown up. The day they came to my book signing, she had six other engagements to go to that day. It was a Sunday afternoon. She was determined to make them all.
When I see these women in the store, I am always moved by their diligence, fortitude and commitment to God. They have lived good lives in front of their children and our children.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my friends all of these years, taking part in raising my children and now raising my grandchildren.
Final brushstroke: We must throw a few flowers along the way. These women represent the beauty of Pagosa. See their children, see good women who have influenced them.
“What we have done for ourselves alone, dies with us; what we have done for others and the world, remains and is immortal.” — Pike, writer.
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