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HomeTheGoodStuffThe Good Stuff by Shelley Bennett

The Good Stuff by Shelley Bennett

By Shelley Bennett

Happy New Year to Lassen County! Best wishes for health and prosperity for everyone out there. I have struggled for weeks on how to write this week’s column.

Every time I tried to put my thoughts into words, they just wouldn’t come out right. Then I started reading Facebook posts and blogs and tweets and my words didn’t measure up. I finally decided to make a Top 20 list of important moments in 2020. Here it goes…

1. A Normal beginning: filled with basketball games, drill team performances, family dinners, and Leo’s 50th Birthday. We started planning Spring Break, senior prom, end of the year trip, and graduation. I felt organized! Then March 18th rolled around and the world as I knew it stalled.

2. We started baking: bread, cookies, brownies from scratch and cooking elaborate meals 7 days a week. Jacob began making scones and biscotti in the middle of the night. Sofia researched a new recipe a week to try.

3. Bre at Milwood Florist offered DIY floral arrangements and we made bouquets for Easter and “just because”. Later Brian at the Art Bar led painting lessons via Zoom and we participated for Mother’s Day and graduation.

4. Daily walks, sometimes twice a day, with our dog Charlie became a way to get out of the house.

5. Volunteering at the Salvation Army on Fridays gave me a sense of purpose.

6. It became apparent that we weren’t going to return to the school building and I started a fundraiser for the Class of 2020 so we could honor them with banners in front of the school. Within a day community members, family, and alumni had donated over $2000 to get this project done.

7. After long days at home, the kids and I made Leo take us for drives around town. We saw everything from the Top of the World to the Honey Lake Valley, Eagle Lake to Almanor, and everywhere in between.

8. When restaurants started opening, we got take out one night a week. We looked forward to meals from Mazatlan, The White House, and The Board Room.

9. No baseball, track, or dance? No problem. The kids found fun in tennis, biking, fishing, and playing outside.

10. I wrote notes to students and sent them stickers of encouragement. Many were surprised to get “good news” in the mail.

11. My knowledge of technology grew! Drill team tryouts were held using the Band app. Student discussions and other meetings were on Zoom. Class assignments were posted on Teams. Dance students submitted videos on Flipgrid. Captain Hailey Gregor produced a virtual Grizzliette Show.

12. Club and class advisors adapted their awards ceremonies, end of the year activities, dessert nights, and BBQs to be drive through style. So many teachers, school administrators, and other volunteers went out of their way to make our students feel special.

13. We bought new outdoor furniture and started “living” outside. Dinner was served al fresco, the kids played Horse and Whiffle ball, and Leo built a dance floor for our Backyard Prom for two.

14. Lassen H.S. Graduation: Many hours of planning and debate went into this event, but in the end parents and staff members watched in pride as 150+ grads walked across the stage and received their diplomas. It was amazing to witness and I will be eternally grateful for all of the people involved in this process. My heart was full when Landon, class president, spoke on behalf of the Class of 2020.

15. Summer came and with it were teacher lake days and learning how to kayak.

16. In July, I modified the Miss Lassen Co. pageant format and got approval for a family only audience. Everything was on track until the Hogg Fire started and the fairgrounds were turned into a fire camp. Thanks to encouragement from Carrie Satica and the leadership of Cal Fire captain Mike Smith it went on without a hitch and we crowned MLC 2020 Autry Satica.

17. There may have not been a fair parade, but impromptu parades sprouted up to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and show support.

18. Finally, it was the first day of school and our daughter Sofia started high school. It was masked, sanitized, and socially distanced, but it felt good!

19. The Sheep Fire brought us evacuations, school closures, smoke, ash, and a sense of doom. What more could we take? My newly crowned court found a way to help by making Lassen Strong decals and donating over $2000 to a local family.

20. I learned how to ask for help. I’m usually a “do-it-myself” kind of girl, but this year forced me to lean on others. And you know what I found? That people will go above and beyond to help you. They will encourage you. They will support you. And they will celebrate with you. Thank you to all of you who were there for me. None of the things on this list would have happened without YOU.


Remember when news was ‘newsy’? When you read about weddings, family events and engagement announcements in the newspaper? If you have something that might be newsworthy, please submit it to [email protected] and I’ll do my best to include it here in “The Good Stuff.”

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
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