With the rush of events and parties and concerts, December always goes by in a blur.
Two sad events punctuated the bustling activities last week.
On Thursday morning, which was Pearl Harbor Day, we heard of the shooting at Aztec High School. Two bright young students were killed before the gunman, a former AHS student, killed himself.
Those news reports always hit with a punch to the stomach, then you start worrying about your own kids in school. As easy as it is to say that it won't happen here, Aztec is so close, it makes us pause in Bayfield and Ignacio, which lies only 35 miles north of Aztec. My son competed there in track, and my youngest played baseball with an Aztec team for two years. Some of his teammates knew one of the victims.
Both local school districts immediately increased security, and Ignacio schools went into a lockdown. Both school districts did the right thing.
I received emailed notices that morning from both Bayfield High School and Bayfield Middle School, and I'd like to thank the school staff and administration for notifying their parents quickly about what was going on.
I had to update readers about what was happening, using the Durango Herald coverage by Mia Rupani and Jerry McBride, then adding in the updates from the schools so community members knew what was going on locally.
Then it was time to cover a commemoration of an event that took place 76 years ago, the sinking of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor.
Three young men from Bayfield, not much older than the students in Aztec, lost their lives on that ship on Dec. 7, 1941 in Hawaii.
With the Bayfield Veterans Memorial now complete, members of the American Legion in Bayfield wanted to remember those three brave men, Ralph Fife, Eugene Berry and Harold Carmack.
It was a cold day, but a lovely, simple ceremony, and I enjoyed talking with the descendents of the men and their families' remembrances of old-time Bayfield.
Then on Saturday, the Bayfield dance team won state and the cheer team took third. Our Ignacio Bobcat girls and boys cruised to two more wins in basketball.
Even in tough times, our kids still strive to do well in school and their activities.
On Monday, I got to thank some local blood donors as I stopped by Pine Valley Church to do an article and pick up my donor pin. As someone who has needed a blood donation, I appreciate all of these folks who step forward to donate. One of the things I've always liked about giving blood is it made me stop and, literally, put my feet up. That can be a gift during a hectic month.
And I'll be honest, I like the snacks. Cookies, crackers and chips and a complimentary drink always put me a in good mood.
I had to rush out the door to start covering our state athletes.
That's OK, I'd had a break and enjoyed a bowl of ice cream, and in December, it always seems like rush, rush, rush.
I try to remind myself to stop and breathe, and tell myself everything's going to be OK. Probably not great, but sometimes, OK is good enough.
Our prayers are with the families in Aztec. I know it must be hard for those students to head back to school.
We still have a few surviving World War II veterans in our area, so we thank them for their service.
Stop. Breath. Relax. Be thankful our kids are OK.
Thanks for reading.