Good-bye Joey

Loss is a part of Life. I understand that on an intellectual level, but accepting it on an emotional level can be a bit challenging.

This past month has been one very long lesson in the acceptance of loss and the acceptance of reality.

The night of September 11th and into the early hours of September 12th, everything changed dramatically for my beloved little town of Jamestown. The rain that had been with us all week became a torrential downpour and the steep hillside behind Joey Howlett’s house lost it’s grip. Joey’s house and Joey were lost in the resulting mudslide. Miraculously, his roommate Miles survived.

I’m not completely clear on what happened next. But the first responders (the Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department) got Miles out and realized that the whole town was in danger of flooding. Thru reverse 911 calls and knocking on doors they got everyone to safe shelter on higher ground.

The first thing I knew anything about this was the following morning. The power was out in our neighborhood, but our phone was working.  We had gotten emails and phone calls in the early hours of the morning that school was canceled due to flooding. The news was that Jamestown had been badly flooded and that there was one fatality. My youngest son was sick, so that was a bit of a distraction from my worry about who had been taken from us.

When the power finally came on late that afternoon my husband and I turned on the news. Unfortunately we couldn’t find out much more than we had already learnt from the radio earlier in the day. Then the power went out again.

The next day the phones wouldn’t work to call out of the neighborhood, but I could call my immediate neighbors and they could call us. Later that morning I got a call from one of my friends in the neighborhood. We talked about what we knew of the flooding. I told her I knew there was a fatality in Jamestown, but not who. She said she knew who, but did I really want to know. I was very worried about the answer, but told her I wanted to know. She told me it was Joey.

My heart felt like it was suddenly filled with lead. Joey and Jamestown have been linked in my mind since I moved up to this mountain community in 1997. He was one of the first people I ever met in Jamestown and his smile and laughter were as much a part of the landscape of the town as our beautiful mountains.

Joey and Ic

Joey and IbMy fondest memory of him is when he would have spaghetti dinners at the Merc right before Christmas. Joey would suddenly disappear and a few minutes later Santa Claus would arrive. This was the first Santa Claus my youngest ever met (he wasn’t too sure about the whole business) and the only Santa Claus that my oldest wasn’t afraid of.

Joey and J

The other losses are smaller in many ways for my family. But the devastation in Jamestown has been surprising in the losses newly discovered each day. Just the loss of anything remotely approaching “normal” for any of us has been a new test of our resiliency on a regular basis. The new normal will be absent Joey’s smile when it does finally come, but his memory will live on in all our hearts.

If you would like to learn more about Joey and our wonderful little town you can visit the Jamestown Connect blog. There you can see what Joey looked like when he wasn’t disguised as Santa.

Good Morning Winter

The weather adventures continue up on my mountain. Though at least this one doesn’t seem to be having too negative an effect.

Goodmorning Winter

This isn’t actually our first snow of the Fall, but it is the first one of any significant amount that is sticking to the roads. Found myself wishing I had gotten my snow tires on already, fortunately my all weather tires handled it well on the way to drop off the boys at school.

The weather adventures for my area have been a little extreme this past 1+ month, but this is fairly mild compared to the flood on the 11, 12, & 13 of September. That may be our metric all winter with storms, “Not as bad as the flood”.

Of course the snow and wintery feel of the day is putting me in mind for the Holidays and the gift-giving that leads to gift-making. If you are crocheting or knitting gifts for folks this holiday season you are almost into the “last minute” phase.  October always feels a bit soon for thinking about Christmastime, but if you are making anything large or complicated it is often too late.

When I look at crocheting gifts this time of year I look for quick projects. Hats, fingerless mitts and scarves are my “go-to” projects for gifts. I also like the smaller gift items because they are easier to ship. Most of my extended family is out-of-state, so that puts in some restrictions. This year I am hoping to make some slippers, as my younger brother and his girlfriend were wanting some.

Photo courtesy of Leisure Arts Publishing
Photo courtesy of Leisure Arts Publishing

If you are looking for patterns for fingerless mitts grab yourself a copy of my “Texting Mitts” booklet from Leisure Arts. You can find it in some Joann’s stores or even LYSs. It is also available online from Leisure Arts as either a hard copy or digital copy.

Boys in Hats

The gift I seem to make for my family the most is hats. It’s getting to be a tradition with my boys that every Christmas morning they get new hats crocheted by me. Last year I made them Monster Hats, which were a huge hit.

Kreinik Reflective Yarn 001

My husband also loved his “Dog Walker” hat, which was blue with a wide band of white. The white band included a carry along thread of Kreinik’s Reflective Yarn.

If you are local to the Longmont/Boulder area, I will be teaching classes at the Longmont Yarn Shoppe on November 9th. “Crochet the Perfect Fit Hat” (from 9a – Noon) all the tips and tricks you need to learn to crochet hats that fit every time., and “Flowers, Flowers, Flowers”  (from 1p – 4p)  that is all about crocheting flowers to embellish other items or be stand-alone pins.

And for those of you that have been concerned about the Jamestown community and our re-building efforts, thank you for your kind words and thoughts. If you are looking for a way to help Jamestown you can visit the site.