Remember that we are a community – be kind to each other

Monday, July 9, 2018 11:13 AM

It would be pretty easy to write another article about the drought. As someone who deals with plants on a daily basis, I have seen the effects of this drought on trees, shrubs, lawns, weeds, veggies and fruit trees.

The drought is causing the city to ask the big irrigators to voluntarily decrease water use, vegetable farmers to decrease acreage and ranchers to make hard decisions about how to manage their livestock herds.

But I’ll take a break this month. If the monsoon doesn’t arrive in a regular fashion in July, I’ll provide some information in August about how to keep plants alive in periods of severe stress.

A couple weeks ago, I had to take my car to the dealer to have a bulb in the headlight replaced. (Yes, I have changed many a headlight bulb – but this one involved taking the front wheel and the entire grill off, and I guarantee I would have busted a plastic clip or lost a bolt if I did it.) While sitting in the waiting room, I spoke with the owner, a longtime family friend, a grade-school friend’s mom who I hadn’t seen in years and a fellow baseball coach.

Last week, I sat in one of our family’s favorite restaurants having dinner with a couple of the kids and in walked three firefighters here to battle the 416 Fire. Before I even had the opportunity to ask the cashier if we could help pay for part of their dinner, she let me know that it was already taken care of and that we could donate to a fund for future firefighter meals.

This is who we are. Even as people find our corner of the world, I can still reconnect with friends and family and catch up on what my non-Facebook friends (yes, they do exist) are doing these days.

It feels good during a time when there seems to be a fair amount of anger in the world that we can reach out to strangers as they reach out to us to save our homes, our families and our pets. We have firefighters here from all over the United States, many of whom have never been to Southwest Colorado, putting their lives on the line so we don’t have to lose ours.

So even though our house sits in the middle of a Durango neighborhood, far away from the flames that licked others’ backyards, the $20 we gave the restaurant to pay for the next couple of firefighters who rolled through the door was the least we could do.

This is who we all are. We are a community full of old-timers and newbies; a community of business owners, nonprofits, students and retirees; a community of different political and religious beliefs. We are a community, and we need to remember that.

Be nice. Be kind. And do all you can to pay that forward. And look to the sky for rain. I would love to dedicate my next column to tomatoes and peppers, or apples and pears or even how the Chicago Cubs will win their second World Series in three years!

Darrin Parmenter is the director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office. Reach him at or 382-6464.Darrin Parmenter