Tag Archives: Family

Angels in our midst?

30 Apr

The beginning of April found me flying to Guanajuato, Mexico with four friends from the Ashland Rotary Club. We are working with the Rotary Club of Guanajuato to bring fresh water to the rural areas of the region.

school for the deaf

In the week there, we also toured the School for the Deaf in San Miguel Allende, planted trees at a preschool, and met with many selfless people who are dedicated to serving others. I was honored to be a part of that team.

Here I am with my friend, Angelica, and my wonderful hosts, Oscar and Marta.

While in Mexico I got a message from my sister that my Dad was once again in the hospital, so instead of returning home at the end of the week, I took a plane from Los Angeles to Florida to visit him.

At first, he spent a few days in the ICU and it was very hard to see him suffering. What helped make the situation bearable was that my sister and daughter were with me and the fact that my Dad had several amazing nurses. My favorite nurse, Nicole, hailed from Kentucky and made the experience much easier to handle.

me with Dad
Nicole had such a gentle way with Dad (and with us) and I wanted to show our thanks so, of course, I made her and the night nurse each an apple pie.  It was really fun to see the happy smiles when we delivered them!  Surprising people with pie just happens to be one of my favorite things… (Sound of Music soundtrack anyone?)

apple pie
After ten days in Florida, with Dad stable and in rehab, I was ready to go home. I went to the airport for my flight with United and saw a huge crowd at my gate. The details are too long to go into, but the final result was that I gave up my seat in exchange for travel money and a flight home the following day. I was happy as I’d see my Dad one more time and the travel credits will come in handy, but what blew me away was that the gate agent, Beth, booked me in first class all the way home!  If I could have, I’d have made her a pie too but instead I gave her a pretty shell and thanked her for her grace and calm under pressure.

A few days after I was home, I realized that I had a couple of gift certificates from Shooting Star  Nursery that had expired during my extended trip. When I called and told them what had happened, an employee told me that he thought the owners would likely be understanding and jokingly added “especially if I brought something I’d baked myself.”

Clearly he didn’t know who he was taking to!  Yesterday I walked into the office and surprised a few employees with a warm pie. When I shared what I’d been told on the phone the young man in charge said I didn’t have to do that… But really, I did!  Later the crew sent me a sweet text message thanking me for the pie. I was so glad to receive it.

Life is full of challenges and every one of us has “stuff” to deal with. I think we all do the best we can… but still, life can be hard. That’s why it’s nice when every now and then we get a helping hand with that “stuff” thanks to the kindhearted strangers (or are they angels?) who we meet along the way.

“We are each of us angels with only one wing; and we can only fly by embracing one another.” ~ Luciano de Crescenzo

Day 279: Second Chances

10 Jan

Today I saw a friend who we have not seen in years.  When she was younger she made some mistakes and was sent to prison.  She has now served her time and is home again.  We are so happy for her and wanted to extend a warm welcome  to her and so we stopped by to see her with flowers and a Chocolate Cream Pie (suggested by her Dad).

This evening she spoke of her time away and told me that she really used her time wisely.   With the help of several sponsors, she has been through a twelve step program and now has become a sponsor for others that are going through the program.   She is more grounded than ever before, has realigned her priorities and is thrilled to be back with her family.

We are very grateful that she is home again and offer our love and support as she adjusts to her new life.

If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you.  What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.     Mary Pickford


Day 265: Taylor

27 Dec

Lemon Curd Pie with Gluten-Free Almond Cookie Crust, Whipped Cream and Blackberries
We met Taylor when he came to Helman Elementary in the fifth grade and became friends with our son, Coco. Somehow these two boys hit it off right away and they have been friends since that time. For a while, Taylor lived only a block or so away and we saw him all the time. It was as if we had another son – and that was a good thing.

We have really enjoyed having Taylor as part of our extended family. That first summer Coco asked if Taylor could come along on our annual camping trip. When we first broached the idea of bringing a “friend” along (who was not family) we anticipated that there might be a problem because we were camping with five families and the dynamics might change with new folks joining in. But we should have known that Taylor would just meld into the group and he’s been an integral part of the camp-out ever since.

When Coco went away to the Czech Republic for a year, Taylor kept in touch with us and even helped me with my catering business. It was as if he knew that I needed a son around and he was willing to step in and be there. That was something that I really appreciated though I don’t know if I told him that at the time.

Yesterday when we got back from our coast trip, I found a gift on our bench from Taylor and his mom Jamey. They were thanking us for being part of Taylor’s family – and I would like to thank them both for being part of our extended family. Our lives have been richer for their presence in it.

Day 87: Nick

2 Jul

More than 30 years ago, my husband came to Ashland, Oregon for the first time. He worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant near Mt. Ashland and met a lot of people there that became a part of his story. One of those folks was a woman named Marie. Once Marie learned that my husband had attended a Quaker school, she told him that he should meet her ex-husband, who had also attended a Quaker school.

That is how my husband and Nick became friends – they were introduced to each other by Marie. I came along a few years later and eventually moved to Ashland and became friends with Nick as well. I’m from Staten Island and Nick was from New Jersey. I thought that it was pretty cool to meet someone who was from New Jersey living three thousand miles away in a small town in Oregon.

Nick was a gentleman, a storyteller, a historian, a merchant seaman, an aficionado of trains and jazz music. Nick loved to show us the antiques that his family had had and he also loved to share their stories with us. My husband was like a little brother to Nick, and that sort of made me family. When we had children, my kids grew up regarding Nick as family and knew that Nick’s family was an extension of their own.

As I was remembering Nick today, I thought, I don’t think I ever heard him curse. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “curse like a sailor” – well that wasn’t true for Nick. The one phrase I do recall him saying is “Well, I’ll be darned.” Not exactly harsh words. I know that his Mom would have been proud of him because Nick was an all around great guy.

Today, I made a triple berry pie for Nick’s daughter’s birthday. I wanted to honor him and honor her as well. I don’t know how we came to be so lucky but I am so very grateful that we have been a part of their lives.

Skoshi with her Birthday Pie