If you’ve read my articles over the years, you probably have a good sense of my upbringing.
My grandpa, my dad, my sister and I were either born in Durango or nearby (my grandpa was born in Pagosa Junction in 1918). My daughter, Elena, is following her cousin’s footsteps and will be a fourth-generation Durango High School graduate in 2021.
We have some history here. Enough so, that it’s not uncommon for people to ask me what Durango was like when I was growing up, as if they think there was only one streetlight and the Pony Express delivered our mail the first Monday of every month.
My grandpa worked at Big A Auto Parts, my mom at the old Durango Inn and even I washed dishes at The Palace and Father Murphy’s. I remember getting a malt at Woolworths, shopping for toys at TG&Y and for pants at Montgomery Ward and walking to the grocery store where DHS now sits.
I left Durango in 1996 because I needed a fresh perspective, and I think I saw that others were finding out what we all knew: The southwest corner of the state is an outdoor paradise, the people are incredibly chill and it wasn’t uncommon to spend more money on a mountain bike than a car.
I ended up living in Montana, New York and Florida, but I knew that I wanted to come back – at some point – because my family was all here, a sunny day wasn’t rare and didn’t come with 95% humidity, and a person could ski, fish and ride a mountain bike all in the same day.
But the real reason, the reason I’ve come to realize was most important, was you all. La Plata County is full of kind people, who when they get the call, they step up and help their neighbor. It doesn’t matter if their neighbor is someone they know or of the same political party or religion. It doesn’t matter if they are one of those yuppie Durangoans, or a farmer on the Dryside. We helped each other.
Jump forward to present day, and amid the challenges presented to us, we step up again.
Colorado State University Extension here in La Plata County recognized there are families out there – our neighbors – that could use a little extra love this holiday season. Because we have the resources – a couple good cooks (Nicole and Angela), a commercial kitchen and some volunteers – we thought we could help.
We plan to take up to 100 orders for a holiday dinner (lasagna, enchiladas or a dietary restriction choice) and baking, packaging and delivering them Dec. 23 and Dec. 24.
If you know of someone or want to sign up for a meal, visit https://tinyurl.com/givingmeal. We can deliver the meal hot if needed, you can pick it up at the La Plata County Fairgrounds or we can make whatever situation work.
I know when my family sits down for a holiday meal, we will go around the table and say what we are thankful for. And I know that when it’s my turn, I can proudly say I’m thankful all of you have all of our backs. Because we’re all neighbors.
Darrin Parmenter is the director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office. Reach him at [email protected] or 382-6464.Darrin Parmenter