Body Parts


Apparently one has to be in the write (yes, that’s on purpose) frame of mind to blog, or maybe it’s the heart that has to be in it, but whatever organ it is, it just hasn’t been there for me this week. And now I have let this go until beyond the last minute, so I’m not likely to regale you with much today.

Topics just have not leaped to mind this week. Always in the back of my head is the remembrance of my unfulfilled promise to tell you how President James Garfield was killed less by a bullet than by his doctors’ incompetence, which was breathtaking even by 1881 standards.

I’m pretty sure another fun factoid about this president was that he was the one who wrote Latin with one hand while simultaneously writing Greek with the other, but I never found the five minutes to research this before spreading misinformation. Oh, wait: this is the internet — it was made for that. Just go with it, then, and maybe it will become true if enough of us repeat it.

I did not get my news fix this week because I was studiously avoiding Supreme Court nomination hearings that seem to be a colossal waste of time for all involved when we already know the outcome, so I had no fun stories to share from my friends at CBS.

And in one of those good news/bad news reports, we have more work at work than we are managing at current staffing, so I returned to the press as a printer — and it kicked my butt and wore me out.

(Before we celebrate the good fortune at Pat’s, this appears to be a temporary logjam in work flow and nothing that requires taking on additional staff beyond next week. We can always hope, but one of our reliable winter accounts recently wasted a ton of Kara’s time pricing an assortment of items, told us they didn’t have money to do any of it — then offered everything they asked about through an online store not based anywhere in town.)

So: worn out, no news to relate . . . I didn’t seem to be girding my loins for blogging. All week.

By this morning I was at the opposite end, which for all of its oppositional appearance results in the same frozen inability to deliver a post in good order and on time, whereby I had an abundance of tiny topics without any of them rising to a creamy top.

Instead I went back to reading my paper, and now I have lots to say on billions and billionaires, but not the time. Perhaps tomorrow; perhaps on Garfield time. (Don’t forget: tell all your friends, true or not, with great certainty that James Garfield could write two languages at the same time. Tell them through Facebook — that’s the best way to get my message out there.)

In the meantime I keep going back to the plaintive sentence Kara texted me last night: “Geoff’s brother will most likely lose his house tomorrow.”

Geoff is Kara’s husband; his brother is Brian, an employee of the City of Estes Park who lives outside of town in a subdivision that got evacuated a couple of days ago due to the approach of the fire that has become the largest in state history without much notice from me.

This fire has been raging since sometime this summer, and I can’t tell you how many people it has dispossessed. But now it has displaced Brian and his two sons (his wife was already away at a family member’s funeral), and while Brian, also a volunteer firefighter, was out all day on fire lines, the fire crept to within a mile of his house.

This is a house that Brian and his family either built or moved into following the historic Colorado flood of a few years ago, which destroyed their house back then. Done in by water and now maybe fire . . . I suppose the earthquake and derecho are still viable options for further destruction.

Brian made statewide news a year ago when his quick thinking saved several tourists from a bull elk gone rogue inside city limits in Estes, which sits on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park — he jumped into his work truck and put it between the elk and the people, at great peril to his truck if not perhaps himself.

Today, I assume, he will be back on on firelines where he is needed most, which likely won’t be in front of his house. (His sons will be safe in town with Grandma and Grandpa, so maybe there was a good reason for them not getting to buy the house next to Geoff and Kara here in Gunnison.)

I don’t know how many Brians I have passed by in this year of intense navel-gazing, where I have been very focused on me and mine while the Brians of this world deem their own house “just stuff and replaceable” and go out to see how many others can be helped.

It makes me feel rather small, but instead of inspirational, I just find it depressing that I can’t find it within me to manage more than my small life and my little company. I realize that’s sustenance for seven of us, but it’s hardly a selfless act to spend four hours on the press to try to get back on track when a whole bunch of people like Brian leave their own concerns behind to take on the greater good.

There are people in fire zones, flood zones, virus zones, people going above and beyond for their fellow humans, and while we, most of us, pay lip service to these “first responders,” it just struck me that so far mine has been more about lip and less about service.

It’s very small, the very least I can do, but today I wish Brian safety as he goes about his noble task, and hope against the odds that somehow the fire will turn or stall before it reaches his neighborhood.

I can’t post the video, but you can access the link by clicking the colored text above to see Brian and watch his elk heroics of last fall.

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