Greetings again dear friends of Harmony Hill. As I shared in the last blog this post is a few stories about Kitty and Elmer Nordstrom and how these kind and benevolent people helped create opportunities for Harmony Hill to become what it is today. I had written them a long letter when I heard they had purchased the property telling them about my dream. One morning as I was about to leave for work I got a call from Elmer that they were coming to the Canal that day and wanted to meet me. I called work and said I could not come in, was a little nervous so decided to make homemade bread and picked a huge bouquet of flowers for Kitty.
About the same time, I met these two dear people I had joined the Union Fire Dept., an important meaningful way to be part of this special community. After my first meeting with Kitty and Elmer, I wanted them to meet Andy who was our Board President. We scheduled a meeting at their Canal home a few weeks later. I was dressed up and just as we were about to leave my Fire Dept. beeper went off….there a very serious accident potentially a “ widow maker” down the road that no one on the dept. was responding to….I told Andy I had to go so he met with them with our neighbor Gail while I rushed into my fire gear and headed to the accident site. A man had cut down a large tree that came back and hit him in the head and chest. He was semi-conscious in a blackberry bramble with a flail chest injury ( sternum and ribs were separated) in respiratory distress and had an injury to his face & ears with lots of bleeding. I tried to stabilize him and calm his wife down, praying the ambulance from Shelton would get there pronto. Went in the ambulance to Mason General Hospital (MGH) ER with him, helped a bit in the ER and then on the way home another bad call came in. I got home at about 8 p.m. exhausted, took a bath and went to bed. Early the next a.m. there was a knock on my door and it was Elmer checking to make sure I was ok. They had had a wonderful talk with Andy. Elmer told me he wanted me to drive his truck to Swedish Hospital and get whatever we needed to help guests who might be in wheelchairs. Kitty’s father Dr. Johanson founded Swedish Hospital and Elmer was on the Board. Needless to say, I was scared to drive his truck to Seattle, got one on the Fire Dept. guys to go with me and we got a hospital bed, a wheelchair and few other misc. items. Then the challenge was to get that bed down our hill and into the lodge.
Early on Kitty came up for a visit and tea. She loved to read and I had heard stories that when she liked a book she would buy 10 copies and give them to her friends. She brought me Benjamin Hoff’s The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow: The Rediscovered Diary of Opal Whiteley. Fascinating read. Then as a thank you for the tea she sent a portable dishwasher to HH telling me I wasn’t going to have time to wash dishes.
Next amazing adventure with them is they wanted to meet my folks, see the farm where all the flowers I was giving Kitty came from. So off we go to Buckley which was a totally incredible day. Later that Fall as thanks to my parents Elmer gave my Dad a Seahawk Football signed by Steve Largent! My Dad who had been skeptical of my dream about starting a wellness center then said to me “Honey we are in!!” My parents and my brother Dave ( who now has that football) became a devout and generous supporter.
An early project to ensure safe access to the Lodge was building a wheelchair path which we did with many volunteers helping and dozens of oatmeal cookies as part of the bargain for a big discount from the company delivering the concrete. We had a beautiful blessing ceremony of the wheelchair path with EJN, KJN, my family, and many local friends attending. Seven people in wheelchairs were the first to go down the new path with “Ode to Joy” being played for their inaugural ride. Just as the ceremony was ending my brother Dave arrived with a huge truckload of aged cow manure for all the flowers to be planted at HH…A perfect ending to a wonder-filled day!
Be Grateful with Intensity by Kathleen Dean Moore
“To be worthy of the astonishing world, a sense of wonder will be a way of life, in every place and time, no matter how familiar, to listen in the dark of every night, to praise the mystery of every returning day, to be astonished again and again, to be grateful with an intensity that cannot be distinguished from Joy.”
Testimonial Quotes from Cancer retreat participants thanking the donors who make the retreats possible :
*My cancer diagnosis was like being hit with a truck. The fear, anxiety, and treatments (surgeries and chemo) were debilitating for me. For the 1st time in a year, I was able to lay worries down and just spend time on self-care. Harmony Hill and the retreat was life-giving for me. The beautiful retreat center, delicious food, and amazing staff came together to provide an experience I will never forget. I needed it so much. Everything was top notch and provided for a life-changing retreat. Thank You!!!”
*Invaluable! Thank you so much. I am stronger now. I am blessed and moved and inspired by your generous giving that allows all to come, on equal ground. Thank you for giving of yourself so that I, a stranger to you, can share and benefit from this life-changing event.”
*Thank you for creating this unique, caring environment allowing me to share my story with those who have/are experiencing the same journey. I am grateful beyond words.”
Stay tuned for more early adventures and wonderful “Weavers”.