I discovered this picture of Montrose on Flickr. Taken by cjanebuy.
When I walked into the restaurant last night, there were 12 adults and 8 kids crowded around a series of pushed-together tables. My entire immediate family, plus some in-laws, had gathered to dine on pizza then walk through the town I lived in for 8 years before moving to Hollywood with Mr. Wonderful. This little city was partly developed by my maternal great-grandfather, and it's the place where my beloved grandma lived from age 2 into her 90s. To say I adore Montrose isn't enough. It's my village. The place of my people and so many of my memories.
Though we lost a few members after dinner, there was still quite a group of us tromping down the main street to take in the holiday decorations. My brother was pulling my youngest niece and a friend's daughter in a wagon decked out with tinsel and Christmas lights. I joked that we should all start caroling.
But as we crossed the main intersection, my Mom said to my brother, "Oh my gosh you need to go help that lady!" On the other side of the street, an older woman in thin pink sweatpants was on her knees, struggling as two passers-by tried to get her back on her feet.
Immediately, my brother (a fireman), my dad (a longtime wannabe fireman/cop/superhero) and my cousin's husband (an artist who is very tall and strong) dashed across the street. My brother knelt on the ground, easing the lady back so she was resting in his lap. My sister (a nurse) darted over to see if she could help, too. They think the woman may have had a small stroke.
As I stood on my corner, watching the scene unfold, I was overcome by emotion. There was something about seeing my family rushing to the aid of a stranger that nearly brought me to tears. I don't know if I've ever felt more proud of them. They are such good people.
The fire engine and medic truck arrived and my sentimentality quickly passed as my cousin went to work on a rescue of another kind. A woman had approached us and asked what happened and when my cousin turned to respond, she noticed a spider on the lady's collar. "I'm really sorry but you have a giant spider on you!" she said, swatting furiously at the woman's head.
We laughed about it the rest of the way down the block.
It's pretty neat to be part of a family that's not only an asset to me but to the entire community. My grandma would have turned 97 this coming year, and although she's not here with us anymore, I know she'd be so proud to have her brave, strong children and grandchildren standing together, doing such good on her streets of Montrose.