Sally Ann Shurmur: Actions And Words -- Never Take Them For Granted

Columnist Sally Ann Shurmur writes, "If you choose a word as your theme for the new year, you might consider kindness or gratitude or both. The kindness of others right now is allowing me to function in a semi normal way."

Sally Ann Shurmur

December 29, 20234 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

I went to Menard’s on a beautiful April morning to buy a string of patio lights for my tiny front porch.

I wobbled in on my cane, and an associate came rushing to me.

I handed her the scrap of the insert I had torn, and told her I wanted one of those.

Instead of wandering the whole store, she said to wait right there and she would go get them.

She did and let me exit through the entrance door instead of walking the extra six miles to the checkouts.

In the parking lot on the way back to the car, a woman behind me yelled, “Ma’am!” I turned to see she had put her car in park and jumped out.

“Yes?” I asked.

And she said, “I just want to tell you you look very pretty today. Love that outfit.”

Actions and words. Never take them for granted.

Since becoming “wobbly,” no balance and an upper leg that feels like it is in a constant cramp, I have experienced kindness in infinite ways.

Live and let live might be some Libertarian bumper sticker, but I have been blessed with ordinary folks rushing to help.

Whether it’s opening a door or helping navigate a walker over a steep door jam, people help without being asked.

In Laramie after the Appalachian State win, my driver was pushing me backwards on a walker not meant to be used as a wheelchair.

We hit a gap in the pavement between the IPF and 22nd Street, and the walker folded, tossing me on my back with the driver on top of me.

Now it’s hilarious. Then, not so much.

A City of Laramie police officer and two App State fans were first on the scene among the audience of hundreds.

They got me up (no small feat), righted my chariot and got me seated again.

I am also really grateful to have had such great neighbors in Section G at War Memorial Stadium for all of these years.

We were a tight-knit bunch and unfortunately, with “progress,” I fear for our group that those days have ended.

There were the three generations of Eakins-Fosters from Lingle, Cheyenne and Laramie. The first time I met Leah, she was a little tiny thing dancing to Chancey Williams in the IPF.

Now, she is a senior in high school and he is a superstar.

My immediate neighbors have been Craig the Sigma Nu who was at UW when I was and his wife, Becky. They have recently retired and moved from the Denver area back to Sheridan.

And my bestie since 9th grade and her two kids and their spouses are on the other side.

We celebrated birthdays with beers and smuggled in snacks and caught up on the week before the game started and at halftime. And during the game, unless they needed to know who somebody was, they didn’t bother me.

I was eternally grateful for their Saturday friendship, and now I fear I will have to break in a whole new group.

These days, I am grateful for the less dramatic things.

The notes from friends checking in.

The visits for coffee in the morning or wine in the evening because it’s so much easier not to go out.

The tremendous army of house cleaners who swoop in and have this place sparkling the way I like it.

The driver/assistant/caregiver who empties the trash, brings the groceries in from the car, and makes a thousand trips fetching things from the garage.

He reminds me daily that he “didn’t sign up for this,” but I appreciate him more than I can express.

If you choose a word as your theme for the new year, you might consider kindness or gratitude or both.

The kindness of others right now is allowing me to function in a semi normal way.

And I am more grateful than you know.

Sally Ann Shurmur can be reached at:

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Sally Ann Shurmur