They may not keep track, but as a frequent nonprofit fundraiser attendee myself, I can hazard an estimate of 80 to 100 times a year that Calvin and Pat Story show up to employ their auctioneering expertise to raise money for a good cause.
They just think that’s what you do as a member of a community, share your skills and talent to make a difference. But when the community turns out to support the Storys, they find it bemusing and tough to understand.
The Storys’ 6-year-old granddaughter Kodi Grace McAlvain was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the beginning of September. On Nov. 22, somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 people attended a fundraiser to support Kodi and her parents, Casey Story and Mikki Cruzen, through what promises to be a long haul. Of course, the southwest corner of the county was represented, with folks coming from Hesperus, Breen, Kline, Marvel and all points in that area. A large contingent came from Farmington, Aztec and Cedar Hill, while Bayfield and Cortez were also well represented.
Donna and Ted Stahl, Kayla Story and a crew of stalwart volunteers kicked the evening off with a chili supper, which in this case meant a choice of green chile-pork stew with or without beans, beef chili with beans and posole, red chili with beans and, for the chili-averse, a delicious chicken noodle soup. Grandad Calvin Story made the green chile, with, he said with a grin, a bit of a kick.
Because Kodi’s immune system is so fragile right now, she and her parents couldn’t come to the fundraiser. That’s a shame because, as important as the money is – and believe me, when your family’s down to one income with the medical expenses pouring in, the money’s critical – it’s just plain good for the soul to be buoyed by the generosity of spirit of so many folks. But she and her dad put together a great board of photos and stories, which reminded people why we were there.
Doctors are predicting a 2½ year course of treatment, including chemotherapy three to five times a week, lumbar punctures, bone marrow biopsies, blood transfusions, steroids and other kinds of medications. While she is tolerating the treatment pretty well so far – she was jealous that a friend had such powerful projectile vomiting that she hit a record five ceiling tiles at the Durango Cancer Center – Kodi is suffering fevers and night terrors. It’s quite a lot for a little girl to handle, and the Storys are quick to point out how many children from the area are undergoing treatment there who are suffering many more complications.
Kodi’s a social little girl, so she makes the rounds cheering up other kids, helping the staff buzz in patients and generally having the run of the place.
As is typical of the Storys, they couldn’t just sit back and allow other people to do all the work. Pat Story is a violinist, so she donated violin lessons, and both of them ran the auction with the help of some friends.
I have never seen as many donations as they had at this event. People donated services, goods, baked and otherwise, gift certificates and more. Two dozen cookies a month for a year with cookie jar? Sold to a sweet tooth in the crowd.
A bottle of Honeyville Colorado Honey Bourbon Whiskey was one of the fun items. The first bidder got it for $105 and said, “Sell it again.” The second bidder got it for $70 and said, you guessed it, “Sell it again.” My final count is $335. There were at least two more “Sell it agains,” in there, but I was doing some socializing, and it was moving fast, so I may be underestimating a tad.
Quilts, saddles, a beautiful handmade cedar chest – by the time all was said and done, the evening brought in about $28,000 between the auction, chili supper and assorted donations.
As I said before, the family is in for a long journey here, so I’ll keep checking in. If the Storys have supported a cause you love, please consider making a donation to the benefit account at First National Bank of Durango. While it’s in Kodi’s name, Kayla Story is the trustee, and it’s better to mention her name.
The holiday season is officially underway for the birthdays of Cyrilla Kelby, Adrienne Aronson, Kyla Patterson, Mike Bruce, Frank Fristensky and Renate Widder. This is quite possibly my shortest birthday greetings list ever.
Special greetings to man about town and his family’s “handsome cowboy” LaVern Nelson, who turns the big Nine-Oh on Monday. If I know the Strater Coffee Club, that probably means the java is on you!
Here it is the end of November, and I still have a few end-of-October stories left in my queue. On Oct. 28, I joined the Tuesday Literary Club for a special meeting at the Animas Museum.
Their theme this year is “Durango! Her Characters, Her Calamities, Her Curiosities,” and you know how I love local history.
Gay Kiene portrayed one of Durango’s founding mothers, Caroline Romney, who published Durango’s first newspaper. She was one-of-a-kind, and Kiene, who often portrays her during the summer on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, knows her story well.
I’ve portrayed Romney myself a few times, one newspaperwoman to another, but Kiene definitely dresses better. She sported a handmade gown made by Victorian Aid Society founder Carrie Foisel along with Kiene’s grandmother’s cameo and other accessories harkening from her family.
Romney started the Durango Record newspaper, which was merged into The Durango Herald when she left in 1882, so it’s our ancestor, too. She also started a newspaper in Trinidad, worked on newspapers in California and El Paso, Texas, and even tried newspapering in the Yukon.
There’s some mystery surrounding Mr. Romney. Did he even exist? Or did she make him up to give her a freedom as a young widow she never would have had as a never-married woman. (Although they would have called her a spinster or old maid, I’m on a one-woman crusade against those two terms, so this will be the one-and-only time they’ll appear in my column.)
Pat Emmett served as hostess and made to-die-for macaroons for the gluten-intolerant along with serving hot cider and some goodies from The Yellow Carrot.
Nothing says an anniversary can’t be as romantic with poinsettias as roses for anniversary couple Robert and Karen Anderson.
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