The Fourth of July always sparks Sterling, Colo., memories. On March 14, 2001, the Sterling City Council approved my purchase of the Old Library, and on July 31, 2001, it was mine. Nearly one year later, on June 13, 2002, twelve days after I retired from my Denver Job, I
hosted the grand opening of The Old Library Inn and Counseling Center.
The Bed & Breakfast at the newly renovated Old Library had been open less than a month. Guests came through the front entry after an early morning run, pointed, and asked, “Do you know water is out here?” I looked through the kitchen window, and my yard looked like North Sterling Reservoir. Water was up to the steps and moving.
Cool and calm could have described me, but under my skin, I was a wreck.
Since I moved into the library only two weeks earlier, I barely knew my address and had no idea how to report an emergency, especially on the Fourth of July — fumbling through the unfamiliar phone book I dialed a number in large print.
A lady who answered was kind, thank goodness, and said she would get someone out as soon as possible.
I remember the scene clearly. I wore blue shorts and a white tank-top. I shed my shoes and waded through the water in search of the problem; it was on Fourth Street between the curb and the sidewalk. When I located the source and watched gallons of water run into the gutter, my main thoughts included the cost of repair and the water bill.
Good men came and stopped the water flow. I remember breathing shallow, holding my hands over my face, and saying quietly, repeatedly, “Thank you!”
The Fourth of July in 2002 put a whole new dimension to feeling thankful. I was grateful my guests exercised early and reported the flood, for the pleasant woman who sent a competent rescue team, and for the sunny day with no wind. The damage was minimal, and even though the break was on my side of the property line, and therefore, my expense, it was not catastrophic.
After the excitement and my guests bid goodbye, I drove to Lake McConaughy to ride with my dad in the Fourth of July Golf Cart Parade at North Shore.
Twenty-three days later, on July 27, on my way to bed, as I locked the front doors, I jumped backward because a massive fire was blazing in front of the library. It looked like the Courthouse was burning. It was the Foote building on Main Street.
I knew, after one month, life in Sterling was going to be everything but dull.
God Bless America, and may tomorrow, July 4, 2019, activate your memories and move you to acknowledge past gratitude.
Until the next time: Live while you live.
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