About thirty years ago, on one of those magnificent sunny winter days in Park City, I was walking to the parking lot from our one grocery store when I overheard two tourists talking. One lifted her face to the sun and exclaimed, "Oh, isn't this paradise? What must it be like to live here all the time?" Experiencing my first winter here, I thought with an inner chuckle, "Well, you might not have liked it so well when we were snowed in for three days during the last blizzard and I was about to run out of diapers."
At that time I'd just experienced Autumn Aloft in the fall as well as Pumpkin Patch at Parley's and my kids were enjoying cross-country skiing out our back door and downhill skiing in the winter all evidence of living in paradise. But like everywhere, challenges come here too. We all have them. What has impressed me about this area is how so often the challenges we face are met with a caring community. Francis Thompson said, "Thou canst not stir a flower without troubling of a star." It reminds me of the unfathomable ways we're all connected.
I've loved teaching writing here to students from age three (preschool) to age eighty-six (Park City Community Ed.). I've seen examples of that uncanny connectedness and caring. One day a little girl came into preschool sobbing because she and her mother had not parted on good terms. Another little three-year-old rushed over to her, giving her a big hug, and saying, "I know how you feel. It hurts your heart."
My own son, Brian, a graduate of PCHS, was the recipient of generous scholarships from the Park City community. He was the top scorer on the Academic Decathlon Team when the team won its first ever small schools' national championship. He was an inspired Dutch-oven cook, serving hundreds of meals to Park City area residents from those black pots. He loved cooking because he had a boundless scientific curiosity about how things came together. He was working as a researcher at the University of Utah bone lab when I not only had rather traumatic cancer surgery but also started fracturing vertebrae in my spine, nine altogether. While I was in the hospital, he attended a national bone convention in Tennessee and came home with cutting-edge treatment options, saving my doctors from giving me the wrong treatment.
I wasn't able to help him, however, when ulcerative colitis caused him to lose his colon, which was followed by Crohn's disease. He and his doctor were both hopeful that new experimental treatment would help, but permission was granted for it three months after his death.
His brother, Jeff, is trying to raise enough money to run a half marathon this December to raise money for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, which is working hard to find a cure for these painful diseases. Our whole family wants to do what we can to help him raise this money and we know, as we reach out to others to help us honor Brian's memory and find a cure, we'll be successful.
If you would like to wrap a warm quilt around a grieving family while at the same time help others who are suffering, or even just find out more about this disease, here is Jeff's website: http://www.active.com/donate/saltLV12/saltLV12JAnders