Blaine woman knows the real meaning of community
By Judy Urquhart
Judy Urquhart of Blaine sometimes uses her writing skills to remind corporate executives that she wants no nonsense excuses when their products don’t meet her expectations. Mostly, she likes to write about kind people, her family and friends, and why she is so cheerful about the excitement of being alive.
What is a community? Until now I have never honestly considered that question. But during the past few months I have learned what makes a community. I want to say an enormous “thank you” to wonderful, caring people who have taught me.
During these months I have experienced one ordeal after another. Through these hardship I have learned much as I met the most marvelous, compassionate and generous people in my community of Blaine.
I think back to a particular morning when I sat in my rocking chair struggling about how to express my thanks, how I could explain my appreciation and gratitude for the kindness and help from new friends and neighbors, some of them I have yet to meet.
On that morning I decided the best way would be to write something they all could read. But first, I had to warm up and eat something, and that meant turning off my portable heaters. If I didn’t, my circuits would blow when I turned on the microwave and hot plate some lovely new friends loaned me when I moved into my new trailer.
For typical folks and in normal conditions, it’s no big deal to reset a circuit. But I was not typical then, and my circumstances were not normal. To reach my electrical box I would have to trudge through my neighbor’s yard. I could use the back door except that would mean removing the blankets and sleeping bag I use to insulate my trailer from the cold outside. And then I’d have to unlock and take a long, dangerous step down, and then back up. So, I’m practical. I turn off the heaters before I cook.
On that morning I wrapped a heated rice-filled pillow case around my feet. A new neighbor taught me that trick. And then I had to make a decision. Should I reheat my tea and oatmeal or stay wrapped in lots of clothes and blankets before finding enough courage to do my morning yoga exercises?
Four hours earlier I had dragged my body out of bed, out from beneath the pile of blankets that were so generously given to me. I could still see my breath. When will I have my furnace and stove fixed? When will I be able to come home to a warm home, cook a meal without performing this crazy, shivering ritual I have endured during the four weeks since my new home arrived?
Oh how excited I was at the prospect of having all my problems disappear as I got rid of the old falling-apart trailer and brought in a newer, nicer, more roomy one. I remember the joy I felt when the trailer arrived one day sooner than I had planned. Visions of being dry, warm, content, and comfortable, swam before my eyes. No more rain dripping on my head, no more watching the roof and walls fall apart, and no more mold! I was ecstatic.
I survived the discoveries that the furnace didn’t work, that the innards of my new home weren’t quite as represented, and that the folks supposed to fix all the problems had no sense of urgency or compassion for my frozen self.
These past few months as I experienced one ordeal after another I have learned many wonderful things. Through these hardships, I have met the most marvelous, compassionate, generous people in our community. I am continually awed by the outpouring of help that I have encountered, help given physically, spiritually, financially, and emotionally.
So, I want to thank each of you for being there for me and encouraging me. I’m going to forget some names, I know, but you will know and I’ll remember sometime when we meet. My forgetfulness in no way is a sign that I appreciate you less.
So, thank you, Jan, for helping me find my new home, and Patty, who made it possible for me to get it. Toni, Kay Dee, Jan, Burt, Alvin and many others, thank you for offering temporary homes for me and my pets. Thank you Lynne, Marnie, and Armene for the warm blankets, and Eleanor for knowing how much I would need the warm robe, fleece blanket, warm boots, and socks, even before I knew it. Joy, thank you for giving me a most comfortable bed.
Thank you, David, for bringing me the bed and helping me out. Mary, Rita, and Karla, thank you for the hot soup, gloves and heater and the encouraging support. I’m grateful to George for the use of a microwave to fix meals and to Burt for the use of his hot plate.
I cannot forget to thank my son, Dustin, for helping me lift and move heavy things. I could not have done it without you. And Scott, who came over and quickly fixed my propane leaks and stove. Wow, what a joy to have a stove to cook on! Hopefully I will have my propane furnace running soon, and I will be back to a quiet, simplified life. I am thankful I live in this wonderful community.
I am very grateful. I live in a true community.
Judy Urquhart drives professionally collecting and delivering blood from doctors, hospitals, labs and veterinarians. When she’s not working or settling into her new home, she nourishes a program she created so women in prison can have pen pals.