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Stuck in Pagosa: Does anyone have a chain?

Stuck in Pagosa!

Some have found themselves too broke to leave, too broke to stay. They are stuck.

Others are stuck in their minds. They can’t go back and they can’t go forward. They just rock and spin. They are stuck.

For Al, he’s already been stuck five times this winter and the winter is not over. He rocks the truck, spins his wheels, and he thinks he’s going somewhere. He has learned to keep a chain in the truck and some good soul always seems to come along to help. I have to mention he has also pulled out many cars himself.

It’s the Pagosa way.

I found myself stuck in line at the post office. Where’s that chain when you need one? I would throw it over one of the rafters. I looked around, seventeen people were standing patiently; I smiled at one of my neighbors and nodded at a couple of women. I gave them the eye and raised eyebrow. It was that nod that says, “Its okay, we live in Pagosa.”

There was one clerk with one leg propped. He rarely looked up, just continued to do his job. The line stopped. I was hoping someone would yell, “Any yellow slips?” No one did.

I wanted to yell “Fire!.” but I restrained myself. I just needed a forty-four cent stamp.

“Slow down and breathe,” I told myself. I looked around, no one was carrying flammables, liquids, or a bomb. We are relatively safe in Pagosa.

I knew the gentleman in front of me. He was standing braced, his legs locked. He was sleeping. I thought of cow tipping. I nudged him and he jumped.

“I was sleeping” He said. “I have learned how to sleep on my feet. Place your feet this way and you can do it too.” He proceeded to show me how.

This could come in handy but not today, I was ready to move on. I said to him, “I counted seventeen people in line. Isn’t there another clerk?” I looked around; we just added two more people to the line.

He responded in his good nature, “It’s okay, I’m on the clock.”

My clock was ticking too but it wasn’t my employer’s. I had things to do and people to see. It didn’t dawn on me that maybe it was the gentleman in front of me who I needed to see.

We continued to talk. Both of our families moved to Pagosa around the same time, thirty-three years ago. We had seen a lot of history go by in our little town and today it was moving in slow motion. But we both agreed there was no other place but Pagosa we would rather be.

“I love the people of Pagosa,” I said.

And he responded, “The people of Pagosa are good people. They love God and they love their families.”

Finally, another clerk came to the counter. We both knew him. My friend in line yelled at him, “How’s one finger?” The clerk with the rubber on his finger smiled at him and got busy.

My friend in line continued to talk, “I knew him when he was a young man in a lot of trouble. He turned his life over to God, and he has really turned out to be a good man.”

“Yes, I know him, too. He referees my grandson’s games, and in the summer he is an umpire for the baseball games. Maybe that’s why he does it; he knows how easy it is for young boys to get into trouble. He is a good example of giving back.”

Finally, I reached the clerk with the one finger action. I said to him, “We’ve been talking about you.”

Busily working, he responded, “Yes, that man helped me get my life turned around way back when. He’s a good man.”

I responded, “Yes, that’s what he says about you too.”

Sometimes it is a good thing getting stuck at the post office. You meet people you’ve known forever but haven’t seen for a long time. They remind you why you live here. Even for those in line you don’t know, you all belong.”

Are you stuck in Pagosa?

My teenage grandson commented the other day. “I don’t know why all my friends are so ready to get out of here. I love living here.”

His mom told him, “It’s because you have lived and been in a lot of places and you know what you are not missing.”

We’ve all felt stuck at one time or the other. Whoever gets stuck, we can’t get ourselves out; we need the kindness of our neighbors. We have learned to carry a chain in the trunk and be there for each other.

Where else could you meet someone in the post office and reminisce about the good people who have helped you or maybe you’re a link in the chain and made a difference in their life?

There is no place like Pagosa, no place we would rather be. Stuck or not, we are sticking.

Final brushstroke: Stuck in Pagosa is a good thing. It gives you an opportunity to meet good people and there is always some good soul who will help you through it.

Artist’s quote

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey, television host.

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