Let me tell you a story or two about Linda. First, I must note that she is a beautiful lady inside and out. I've known her ever since I can remember.
Over the years, I've observed her in many settings-----at church, group gatherings of friends, 4-H activities, as a parent of at least two of my students, and often as a lady gifted with superb talent and creativity.
Almost 15 years ago, our son Willie and his fiancee Deborah "Debbie" Williams were getting married at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Sandpoint. Debbie had made arrangements with a friend in her hometown of Boise to come up and decorate the church.
Well, something went wrong at the last minute. Happily, rather than a major stress-filled crisis, we, as a family, witnessed a beautiful outpouring of generosity and creativity from a living local saint who saved the day both literally and figuratively.
That very timely personal contribution came from Linda Plaster, who quickly gathered up beautiful decorations and adorned the interior of St. Joseph's for what turned out to be a lovely, memorable ceremony performed by Fr. "WhattheHeckIShisNameAnywho?" O'Donovan and Presbyterian pastor Nancy Copeland Payton.
Exquisite----that's how the church looked when Linda had completed her personal touch of special love for the Young Loves.
Linda's last-minute efforts certainly did not make headlines but her gesture has been forever etched in our minds.
Now, multiply the anecdote above by at least a hundredfold, and you have the story of Linda Plaster. So many people in this community could share experiences of their own where Linda has lovingly given of her humble self, expecting nothing in return.
I learned last night on Facebook that today is Linda's birthday, and there's been an effort spearheaded by some of her longtime friends to brighten up this special day of hers through the simple effort of planting a tree, shrub or flower in her honor.
Plant something, take a picture and post it here, the Facebook entry from Joelle Huguenin Traynor read.
So, off to town I went, where I picked out a brilliantly bright yellow dahlia, brought it home, planted it in a prominent spot inside my garden fence so deer could not eat it and where every morning when I look out the west windows, that bright ray of floral sunshine will remind me of a very special friend.
Linda has brightened many a day in her life, so I have a feeling Sandpoint's community beauty will be enhanced all the more on this day as her admirers add their touch of color and sunshine to the ground.
Happy Birthday, Linda. Hope your day is filled with all the love you have shared with so many others.
And, speaking of our community, I have another heart-warming story to tell.
Bill and I were invited to dinner Sunday evening at the "outlaw" cabin where our niece Laura, her hubby Sefo and the triplets "plus one" were staying for a weekend getaway from their home in Plummer.
When we arrived, we soon learned that the evening before, the "plus one," a lovely young lady named Jade had lost her purse. Jade and the Laumatia gang had spent some time Saturday evening enjoying downtown Sandpoint, including a fun photo shoot in the alley between First and Second Avenue.
Only later when they returned to the cabin did Jade realize that she no longer had her purse. The group returned to town, searched frantically and asked around with no luck.
With the holiday weekend, the likelihood of finding the purse was pretty dim. So, Laura gave me some information, which I posted in three areas on Facebook. Other friends shared the information as many as 15 times.
Well, last night Laura received a call from a Walter who works at Jalapenos. He had found the purse but had no way of contacting its owner until someone had shared the telephone number listed in the Facebook postings.
He is out of town, but the purse is safe and will be returned to Jade when he returns.
This story with a super happy ending poignantly reflects yet another of the countless reasons our town and its residents are beyond special.
There's incomparable natural beauty in and around Sandpoint, but along with that comes equal beauty within the humanity inhabiting this area.
A special thanks to all who passed the word so that Walter could make that very welcome telephone call which not only brought relief and gratitude to an out-of-town teenager but also to everyone involved in the story.
Yup, our town is pretty neat, thanks to the Linda's and Walter's and and thousands of other caring, generous and thoughtful residents who add their special touch behind the scenes virtually every day.
We're from Sandpoint, couldn't be any prouder!