Valley Gardening: Precious lives remembered

It’s been a week of up and down emotions ….. starting with the accident on last Sunday that claimed the life of Cayce Sue Hogue, age 31. Injured in the accident was Derrick Heersink, Cayce’s significant other.  I can’t say I knew Cayce well, but I just knew her, because I know all the families who loved her. I know the Russell’s and the Hogue’s and the McCartney’s. And the Van Ry’s, the Helm’s, the Hensley’s and the Heersink’s. I know Cayce’s mom, Sue Rowley (and family), and I knew her dad, Tim Hogue, before he passed away—many years ago. Sometimes…in a small town…you just know people who know people.  I believe that many of those folks will be at Cayce’s Celebration of Life Memorial Service today. I won’t know everybody, but I will know them through Cayce. I will just know. I will feel the sadness, and I will know the love. As will everyone else.

I know that Cayce was born to be a Mom and her young son, Jameson, filled her life with love and joy, as did Jameson’s Dad, Derrick. I know that Cayce would have been an awesome nurse. I know that Derrick will need the support of our community. Derrick is part owner of Square Peg Brewerks, along with partner Mark Martinez. One of my last interactions with Derrick was a couple of weeks ago when he asked what Square Peg could do for our Cancer Relief Fund Celebration at the Green Spot. I didn’t have to beg, he asked. That’s the kind of guy he is.

I don’t know if Derrick will ask for help but I know that Larry and I will make a contribution to the Cayce Hogue Memorial Fund at the Alamosa State Bank. We want to help Derrick with the raising of their son, Jameson. Cayce…your death takes our breath away…at all times of the day and night. You will be missed greatly. May we all be better people because of having you in our lives. May we live each day in your memory, as I think you would want. May we live each day to its fullest! There are no guarantees for tomorrow.

Our 6th Annual Memories and Reflections event on this past Wednesday was absolutely beautiful. The brisket from Woody’s Q Shack was melt in your mouth delicious. I can see why they are winning national awards. Kyle was here honoring his dad, Jeff Woodward, who passed away in August. Kris Gosar honored his wife Jill, a cancer survivor, and brought in Gosar Sausages—always a favorite! Larry Brown (my other half) provided the rolls and the ham. And then….folks brought food and more food and more food! PLUS, the music provided by Fred Hargrove was fabulous!

People in our community are so wonderful to support such a cause as the Cancer Relief Fund. When I first counted the money we were up to $3,900 raised and then….ANOTHER $700 came in on Friday. I would be thrilled to get it over $5,000 by the first of the year. Do you want to help?

In case you are wondering, 100 percent of all money raised by the SLVCRF goes directly to our friends and neighbors who have been diagnosed with cancer. NO administration fees! It’s a simple one page form to fill out, and I have some at the Green Spot if you know of someone needing help. It’s not a huge amount, I think $300—but that’s HUGE if you are in the battle for your life. And…it’s also about the energy from EVERYONE who has given, whether it be $5 or $500. It’s a good 501C3 to support!!

Last but not least is my sincerest thanks to Scott—Van Gieson Construction and Tom—Mathias Concrete for getting ‘Jesse’s Pad’ done at Society Hall this past week. I think I told you about them a week or so ago (maybe even last week), but it is worth thanking them again. The pad is named after Jesse Russell, who passed away a year ago on Christmas Day.

One last memory from the SLVCRF event. Larry and Julie Zaragoza came up from La Jara. They wandered around, enjoying the Christmas lights and music. They visited. They ate and drank. They brought to my attention that their son Geoffrey passed away 15 years ago on December 20th.  I remember Geoff and Mr. Z picking out a Christmas tree just a day or two before he passed. I remember him always wanting to fish in my pond at the store. He would be 34. RIP, Geoff.

I am sincerely hoping that you have a joyous holiday season! I hope you get away from the gifts and create some memories. Go for a walk, put a puzzle together, go to the nursing home, check on your neighbor, make a difference. Start a tradition with your family and/or neighbors. Call a relative you haven’t talked to in a while (that’s a memo to self). Be at peace. Thank you for your support throughout this past year. I appreciate all of you—more than you will ever know.