This week Sue and I have been watching the Ken Burns series on the national parks which has been airing on PBS every night at 8 p.m. PST. It's fascinating. One of the most interesting aspects of the series is that it highlights the many and disparate individuals who played pivotal roles in the creation of the national parks, which the Burns' series calls "America's Best Idea."
Stephen Mather was one of the most pivotal characters in the creation of the national parks, and in particular the National Park Service. A self-made millionaire who found his soul restored in the wilderness, Mather spent a good deal of his own money and devoted much of his life and energy to the creation and development of the National Park Service and the creation and development of our national parks. I have stood at Mather Point on the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park, camped in Mather Campground in Yosemite National Park, and traversed Mather Pass in Kings Canyon National Park, never knowing who Mather was and what he did. A number of the national parks have brass plaques honoring Mather which read:
"Stephen Tyng Mather July 4, 1867 - January 22, 1930. He laid the foundation of the National Park Service, defining and establishing the policies under which its areas shall be developed and conserved unimpaired for future generations. There will never come an end to the good that he has done."
This morning while going over a property management contract I was reminded of a recent "investigation" that was done on a former business partner and friend of mine, Mark D. This fellow showed up at my office one day out of the blue and started asking questions about Mark. Said he was an investigator. I was a little cautious until he explained that Mark had applied for a position with the City of Fresno and the investigator had been hired by the City to check on his background by interviewing former employers and associates. I truthfully told the investigator all about Mark, which was all good. Finally the guy asks me, "isn't there anything bad you can say about this guy?" And I told him no, there really wasn't. He told me he just had to meet this Mark guy because I was the tenth person who basically told him the same story. Super nice guy, super competent, great to work with, nothing bad to say. He said he didn't really believe the first two people who told him that, but by the time he got to me he was pretty much sold that it might all be true; Maybe there is a guy who really is a good guy.
This evening when I got home from work a lady named Kathy S. was just leaving after having visited with Sue. Kathy had brought some food for us too. She's one of the ladies who gave Sue the gift certificate for a pedicure last May (see my June 3 blog titled "Decisions Decisions"). We'd just finished a plate of Kathy's food when Connie and Steve F. brought enchiladas and other midwestern food delights. Connie brought food last week too. Connie and Steve have each had their own serious health issues and I am ashamed to say I never even sent them a card (though I truthfully thought about them both a good deal). These are but three of many who have humbled us with thoughtful, helping goodness.
Cards by the dozens, gifts and food and quilts and shawls and hats and scarves and visits, phone calls and prayers. Assistance with appointments and needs. Grater lights, gifts and prayers from people we've never even met. The list of deeds and doers is too long to mention. The good that you all have done for Sue has helped her maintain a remarkable attitude. She has at times been thankful to have experienced such an outpouring of love and goodness which, but for her cancer she would not have experienced to this degree; Thankful to have experienced having cancer, because of the good that you have done.