Courageous women: The faces of Pagosa

I stood before 17 writers in our group that morning. I made the comment, “I love strong women.”
Everyone laughed.
“No, I really mean it. I have discovered in the books I have written, I have the same theme and it’s about courageous women.”
Not only physical strength, but women who have a strong inner core, who know how to face tough times and dodge everything else that comes their way.
That morning, I looked into the faces of solid, faithful women. One had buried a child and two had buried their husbands. One had left an abusive marriage and another one, her husband left her for another woman. They had survived tragedies and traumas. Each had a story to write and were willing to share and encourage other women who have suffered and been violated by thoughtless acts.
Pagosa Springs is all about strong women. When we moved here in 1976, we discovered living in the mountains was a beast of another kind. We took a rugged stance and exercised fortitude and refused to turn around and run away. For those who have hunkered down in this mountain town, you know what I’m talking about.
I stand and clap for the women who have built this town and put Pagosa on the map. We owe a debt of thanks to first responders, school teachers, homemakers, medical personnel, highway and safety workers, government employees, city planners, engineers and clergy.
Women who have mud on their boots and polish on their nails have pulled us out of the ditch many times and lovingly comforted us. Those who wait on us at the table are the same ones who cheer for the boys on the football field. The coed softball league entertains us every summer. The mothers, grandmothers and girls are tough and play as well, and sometimes better, than their male teammates. Others have made their yards and gardens beautiful and have provided vegetables for the neighborhood.
I always want to remember the women who have gone before us. They milked cows, rode horses and drove cattle to market. They came alongside their husbands and built their houses from the ground up.
Women today know how to fix a flat, change their oil and put gas in their car. Some even know how to overhaul an engine.
This Mother’s Day is for you. Don’t let anyone discount you. Moms who earn half the income, and sometimes all of it, arrive home to prepare a meal and clean their house after their children go to bed; I am amazed.
These are the women who have raised their children to have good moral principles, manners and respect. They have taught them to know how to work, be independent thinkers and have a generous heart for the people around them.
They have taught their children to pray to a loving God who has forgiven them, and have taught them to forgive and step aside for others to succeed. Their job is never finished. They become grandmothers and continue to pray for their families. What an awesome task moms have signed up to do
Their price is far above rubies, their husbands safely trust them and their children will rise up and call them blessed on this day. The fruit of their hands and their works will praise them in the city gates. Over 3,000 years ago, a wise man wrote those words. Today, his words still ring in the hearts of women.
Final brushstroke: I am proud to be a part of the strong women of Pagosa. When others falter, we are still standing. Celebrate this day and let someone else wait on you. My son says, “Mother, don’t light a match and burn your bra just yet. You’re old and might need it.”
Readers’ comments
Send your comments to betty@bettyslade.com.

This story was posted on May 13, 2018.