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What are we missing? Nothing

My friend said, “Pagosa is ten years behind times.”

“That’s good. There are so many crazy things going on in this world. I’m glad we are sheltered from things we hear on the news. We’re not missing anything living in Pagosa.”

She said, “In a way, I feel our kids are protected.”

“I’m glad we raised our kids and grandkids here.”

Then she said, “Our son is going to Brazil this year for his senior year as an exchange student. I don’t know if I need to be concerned.”

“I don’t think you need to worry. When I was in Brazil ten years ago it was like I was stepping back into time, it felt like kinder years and it was refreshing to be a part of a simpler life. The men opened doors for the women and the women dressed like they stepped out of the ’50s with hats and gloves. The Brazilians are a beautiful, gentle, hardworking people; they are so polite and they have servants’ hearts.

“When I was there, the people in Brazil wanted to come to the United States. Their goal was to learn to speak English, come to the United States and get good paying jobs. They wanted what we have in this country. I just remember thinking the Brazilian people are such a sweet and naive people. They would be eaten up in our country.”

Back to our small town, at the wrestling banquet in the park the other night, I enjoyed sitting and listening to The High Rollers. The lead singer called on his dad to sing. Mr. Janowsky, who is turning 80 years old, came to the front of the platform and sang. He yodeled and still has a beautiful voice and talked about his wife, Mary Jo, who passed away this year. It was such a beautiful family moment. We all enjoyed reminiscing with him because we all loved her and we knew the joy she brought when she walked into the venue.

I watched this beautiful Pagosa family interact with each other and I thought, We have so much more here in Pagosa. We have what counts. We are not missing anything.

The annual wrestling banquet is all about helping the wrestlers at Pagosa Springs High School raise travel money for the kids to go to regionals and state. Coach Dan Janowsky heads up the wrestling program in the school and continues to invest in our kids. It’s so much more than that. The boys learn to set up, serve, throw a good time for others, then tear down and put away till next year. They are taught how to work hard for the joy of others, even though they don’t know it.

When I returned home from the wrestling banquet, on my screen saver was a picture of coach Janowsky and Creede, our grandson. Our grandson was wearing his graduation gown and he had his arm tightly wrapped around his coach. They were both smiling. You could see the warmth and respect of their friendship. I just sat and stared at it. The whole evening was about a Pagosa family and a coach who has a heart to help young boys grow into their potential. I noticed a lot of new faces getting ready for their life lessons.

In Pagosa, families stay behind. Teachers are teaching grandchildren about friends they went to school with. Pagosa is interlaced with parents, families, teachers and coaches with whom they have a long history.

The picture brought me back to that graduation day. Our grandson had the privilege of awarding his coach a special honor and his coach in turn presented our grandson with an award for his accomplishments in the athletic field.

I just remembered thinking how our grandson has graduated and gone on, but these faithful teachers are staying behind for the next group of young people. This coach in particular has been such an enormous influence in our grandson’s life. Our grandson is carrying with him confidence, a champion’s heart and a belief in himself, which this teacher has invested in him.

I said to my Sweet Al, “Thank the Lord, Coach Janowsky is here for the kids. It’s interesting how these teachers give of themselves for their students. The students go on and the teachers stay behind. But these young kids take a part of their teachers with them.”

Final brushstroke: It all happened on a summer evening in the park in Pagosa. Are we missing anything living in a small town, which could be 10 years behind the rest of the world? Not at all.

Artist’s quote

 “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

— Eckhart Tolle author.

This story was posted on July 24, 2014.