Tag Archives: mt. ashland

What Matters Most….

30 Sep

One silver quarter; two “train-flattened” quarters

One of my favorite hobbies is collecting coins.  I’ve done this for years and love the thrill of finding a new coin for my collection.  I don’t know why I have this fascination with coins… but I imagine it has something to do with the fact that my Dad was a coin collector.

While Emile and I were traveling back east last week, we had the chance to take an early morning walk along the Hudson River.   We followed a seldom used path that was near the train tracks and walked and talked our way through an hour or two.  Twice we saw trains from the city speed past us;  sleek and powerful they thundered by and were gone.

As we neared our destination, I noticed that this was the first time where a road met the train tracks.   That meant that people could get to the tracks easily in this location… and if that is true, then there was a good chance that we might find what I call “train coins.”  These are coins that have been left on the tracks and that have been smushed by the trains as go by.  I’ve heard it’s illegal to put a coin on the track (a train might derail) so I never put a coin on the track, but I have collected quite a few coins after they’ve been left there by others.

On this day, Emile found the first coin.  It turned out to be a smushed quarter.  You could still feel the ridge on the outer edges of the coin, but it was nearly doubled in size.  Where there is one “train” coin, there are likely to be others… and within minutes, I too found one.   Sounds silly, but finding these coins felt as if we’d won a scavenger hunt.  Then later that day, after I’d made a purchase I heard a distinctive sound as the clerk dropped the change into my hand.  It was the sound of a silver coin.   What a fun surprise!

Recently, a family that we know had a surprise of their own.  Early one morning a few weeks ago, a fire erupted in their home.  Fortunately, the husband, his wife, and their son, all escaped injury.   Unfortunately, they lost everything in the fire.  It was devastating.  But since that day, the family has been amazed by the friends and family and members of the community who have rallied to their aid.

The Chocolate Pecan Pie I brought for the Knudsen family

Yesterday we attended a fundraiser for the family at the lodge on Mt. Ashland.  Mt. Ashland is a special place for this family because Malone, the husband, has been working there for many years, and it is also the place where he met his wife, Sasha.  It was a beautiful day on the mountain and a large group of friends came to wish the family well and offer their support as they danced to music performed by members of the East Main Band.

Near the end of the event, Sasha sang with the band for a few numbers, but before leaving the stage she spoke to the crowd.  As I listened to her thank everyone for what they’d done, I watched Malone.  His glistening eyes were on his wife – and the love, admiration, and gratitude he felt was palpable.  In fact, by the time Sasha finished speaking, most of the eyes in the room were tear-filled.

It was an important reminder that while there are material things that we enjoy (in my case, coins), what really matters in life is being with the people that we love.  Anything beyond that is just a bonus.

In the end, what matters most is how well you lived, how well you loved, and how well you learned to let go.  Unknown

Donations for the Knudsen family can be made at the Umpqua Bank in Talent, Oregon (541) 535-3394.

Day 210: Coach Tim

2 Nov

When my daughter Alexandra was a young girl we lived in Portland.  On a few occasions we took her skiing on Mt. Hood.  It was really just an introduction to skiing but it was a great ski area and we wanted her to feel comfortable on the mountain.  A few years later, we were back in Ashland but Alex still had little skiing experience.

One day I read a story in the  Ashland Daily Tidings that stated if you brought 5 cans of food the next day you would get a day pass for Mt. Ashland; and for another 5 cans you could rent gear.  This was such a great opportunity that I kept Alexandra out of school for the day and took her skiing.

As luck would have it, when we arrived at the ski area, the Mt. Ashland employee told us that the newspaper had made a mistake and that “special” was for Mt. Shasta.  Perhaps it was my disappointed look, or maybe it was divine intervention, who knows, but  that same employee said, “Since you came for the special, we will honor it.”  In no time at all,  Alexandra and I were outfitted with skis and went out onto the mountain on a perfect blue sky day.

Later when Alexandra and I were on the bunny hill, I was desperately trying to explain the “pizza wedge” to Alex and she was becoming more and more frustrated with me.  At one point I told Alex that I would leave her alone to think about what I’d said and meet up with her in a few minutes.  As I was riding the chair above Alex a few moments later I overheard a teenaged girl explaining to Alex how to make a wedge wtih her skis.  For some reason the light that would not go on for me was flashing with this young gal, and Alex finally understood how to position her skis to get down the hill!

Fast forward to a few years later.  By this time Alexandra has been involved in the Mt. Ashland Racing Association... and the tables have been turned.  I am still a tentative skier and Alex wants me to ski with her.  When she tells me where she wants me to go, I tell her that I am not sure I can handle that slope and she says,”Don’t worry Mom, I’ll ski with you. ” And she did…. downhill and backwards, coaching me all the way.

To do this she had to have had some good coaches… one of whom was Tim.   I am so grateful that he was able to encourage her to be the fearless person she was… because I don’t know that I could have ever done that.  It certainly was not something that I learned, for my Mom had already lost one child; and there was too much fear that she might lose another.  She could not be fearless because she was always aware of the dangers.   If only for that reason, I wanted my daughter to be brave.

Tonight I made an Onion, Bacon and Cheddar Quiche and brought it to Tim and his wife to thank him for giving Alexandra the permission to be as fearless as she could be.  It was an important trait for her to learn and I am very grateful for his part in her development.

Day 191: Ramiro and Beatriz

14 Oct

We met Ramiro and Beatriz Padilla from El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant more than ten years ago. Our family would go to their restaurant after skiing on Sundays at Mt. Ashland. We liked the atmosphere, the friendly service, and the fact that El Tapatio was family owned. It became a sort of ritual for us and we enjoyed being among the “regular” customers.

Over time, Ramiro and his family have become more and more involved in our community: Ramiro is an active member of the Ashland Rotary Club, the Padilla family organizes a huge entry in the Fourth of July parade every year, complete with participants outfitted in traditional Mexican dress and caballeros on horseback, and El Tapatio has donated food to such activities as the Ashland Schools Foundation calling nights and the Ashland High School Senior All Night.

Since it had been a while since we visited El Tapatio, and several years since all four of us (me, Emile, Alexandra and Coco) had the chance to go together, Alexandra offered to treat us all to dinner tonight. It was fun to sip Margaritas, listen to the guitar music and share a family dinner.

Tonight I brought Ramiro and Beatriz an Apple Pie to congratulate them on the birth of their baby daughter, Beatriz, and also to thank them for always making us feel like part of the family.

Day 18: Miss Carolyn

25 Apr

There are people we know who are part of the fabric of our lives.  Carolyn is one of those people for me.  She has a daughter who is the same age as my daughter.  Over the years we spent many hours together working on school related projects whether they were fundraisers, yearbooks or celebrations of one kind or another.

If you had a child in Mt. Ashland‘s MARA program a few year ago, you know Carolyn.  She spent many a weekend in the ski lodge at Mt. Ashland helping with the various races that were held and she didn’t even ski!   She was there for your kids and mine as they tested their skills on the challenging race courses of Mt. Ashland.  She gave up much of her free time to help with this sport.  Sure, she was there to support her kids, but at the same time she was there supporting countless other kids as well.

This morning I brought Carolyn a quiche as a small token of our appreciation of her service to all of us.  Carolyn, thank you for your gentle nature and your giving spirit.  The world needs more people like you.

And to everyone, Happy Easter.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 488 other followers