The chickenhawk and I just got my Internet connection back on line! It is so good to be back. I had thought about doing a post today (April 1) where I tell everyone that I have been faking all along, that I don't have cancer and I was just taking a couple of months off of work and getting all my friends and neighbors to do all my cooking and house work and my coworkers to do all my work for me. But honestly that just feels too frivolous right now.
The reason that the computer was off line is that on Saturday we had a Minga which is an ancient concept from pre-Inca Times, not different than a barn raising where the community comes together to do a major work project. About 50 people came from as far away as Marin County and Bend OR to help with the work. In four hours more than a year's worth of work got done. A swing set got moved to a newly flattened and terraced spot on our property. An 8'x16" shed got moved via trailer across the property. That allowed for the creation of a garden fence and eventually some raised beds. The volunteers also made two mini patios out of broken up concrete. They deep cleaned the interior of the house including the fridge, windows, toys, all dust bunnies the eaves of the house the gutters.
To say the least the amount of work that got done was amazing! It really is one of those things that you would have to see to believe, but picture 50 people all working in small groups in a focused way on multiple small projects that were in many ways interconnected with the a bigger project. Each of these groups had a leader and then there were a couple of overall project leaders that coordinated with an overall plan. It seemed to me as an observer that each person had a job that they understood and that they were engaged with what they were doing. Everyone seemed to be having fun, joking and laughing, focusing on their work and enjoying the afternoon.
I watched for a while but pretty quickly I became overwhelmed and went and took a nap. When I awoke at 5PM the work was winding down and the party was beginning. Scooter had coordinated the potluck. One thing about a Coloma pot luck is that the food is almost always excellent. This was no exception, chicken, brats, burgers on the BBQ, salads of all types, pasta dishes and of course deserts. And, of course, beer.
The previous day (Friday) was my youngest daughters birthday. Matt and April had made her two amazing "treasure chest" birthday cakes. The kids had spent the day at our next door neighbors house playing in their yard and being watched by a gang of adults and older kids. In the afternoon Tiffany came over with her horse and all of the kids got to go for horse rides! Many folks brought gifts for our daughter and by 7PM she was falling asleep while eating her birthday cake. I think she was just as overwhelmed as I was.
My brother Billy was visiting from Arizona. It was really great to see his reaction to what was happening. It is hard to describe the sense of community that we here in LoCo valley feel for one another but the Minga on Saturday was a great example of it. He was pretty amazed by how many people were here and truly working hard to get a job done. No BS just focusing on getting a job done.
For my part it is hard to describe how I feel. Mostly I feel overwhelmed. With Gratitude. But there is something else. Did you ever see the movie Saving Private Ryan. I think when most people think of that movie they remember the unbridled violence and honest depiction of war. But, do you remember the message of the movie? At the end of the story after many people have been killed in an attempt to save this one guy's life, the squad leader turns to private Ryan and as he is dying tells private Ryan to "earn it, you go forward into your life and you earn it." I don't know how I will earn it. I feel deeply indebted to so many people for helping me and my family out. I feel more than that though.
I feel as if my family has grown. It used to feel like, there way me and the C/H and the kids then the extended family of parents and uncles and cousins and so on. It is different now. Everyone that has stepped up and helped out feels like they have a place in our family and that I would do anything in my power to help any one of them out in any way that I could. Another one of the blessing of cancer.
I want to say thanks here. I know that I am not going to remember everyone and I apologize but here goes.
Billy, Adam, David, Tommy, Terry, Bill, KT, Patrick, Matt B, April, Stuart, Eric and Moira, Bill and Robin, Matt S. and Mary, Barbara, Bikes Gone Wild (yes he was here), Jim and Weston (thanks for being my oldest best friend I love you Jim) , John Luana Elise and Alexis, Patty, Scooter, KD and Judy, Cindy, Tiff, Bobby, Marek, Seth and Noel, Phil, Jen and Randy,
I know I am forgetting you and I apologize, I will add more names as they come to me. It is time for my nap. More soon!