Letter: That’s the community spirit
On my way to work Tuesday, after a big snow and on icy, snow-packed roads, I see a Jeep in the snow bank on Eagle Road in Eagle-Vail. It’s 8:15 a.m. and Homestake Peak School is starting and parents are driving their kids there while others are leaving for work. The road was busy. I see the high school driver slam his hands on the steering wheel in frustration.
I stopped to help. The stuck Jeep was right in front of a large parking lot. I saw numerous cars just pass by, some drivers irritated by the minor slow down. Thank God a man in a large pickup with a plow stopped. He said, “came in a little hot on that turn, huh?” The teenager was stressed. And the man offered a little levity. The man with the plow needed a hitch to help pull the Jeep out, so I ran over to my close house, grabbed mine, and after attaching that to the Jeep, he easily pulled the kid from the ditch. I am sure the poor kid was tardy now. And it’s finals week. No stress there.
I remember when I was in high school at the “old” Battle Mountain High School, now HPS, and at 16 I spun out into a huge snow bank in the school parking lot because I was changing the tape in my tape deck. I was stuck in my mom’s Jeep and I was headed to ski training, so I was the only one out there leaving at that time. Then a man walked out from the bus barn and laughed and said, “let me get you out of there, Laura.” He knew my name because, in 1985, we were a smaller town. Everyone knew everybody and it was rare not to have someone lend a hand. I was embarrassed, but more than happy to get pulled out in 10 minutes, instead of having to call my mom and get a lecture. I am now 50, and I still remember that moment and the kindness of the bus driver. I tell my kids that story. Because when I look back and remember things, I don’t remember what I learned in school that year or how I did in the race that week, but I do remember the bus driver saving my “tush” in a stressful time.
I wish I would have thought to ask the “plow man” his name. I only know he is partner/owner of a plow company and he was out helping his crew on a busy day in Eagle-Vail. And he was from Ute Creek. And he stopped. He was the calm the teenager needed and he gave his time. Thank you for showing us the old-time Vail Valley sense of community — the way it was for me growing up here in the older days. It’s the reason I came back home.
To the parents of the boy in the ditch: Please don’t stress him. He was polite and handled himself like a gentleman. It was really icy right there. And he needs new tires.
To all the others busily headed to work or school, thank you for slowing down and not hitting us in the road. But I wonder, what would have happened if 20 of us had stopped? What an impact of community we would have made on the teenager having a moment we have all had. What an impact we would have made on your child you were taking to school and the story they would have told their friends when they got there late because “we stopped to help someone out of the ditch! It was so cool!” The difference we would have made on each other, feeling purposeful and like a community, helping one of our own needing a hand.
In a world where people are complaining more and more about being separate from each other and feeling alone, and where we are having a great focus on mental health, technology in our kids’ hands and what is not working in our lives, I guess I’d say … stop and lend a hand. There are people all around us who would appreciate the feeling of community and home. And it just might make for some memories you tell your kids years from now.