Palabras Pintorescas: Memorial in honor of our beloved Harrington

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By Editha Bartley

The almost last day in May brought a happy and yet somewhat sad event our way. John Harrington, for whom our great Mora tree research center is named, was acknowledged yet again right down our road, at Pendaries.

None of us who knew Harrington have forgotten him, and often when any of us are out in our woods, our mountains, we stop to salute him and all he did for this large area, and the whole state, for that matter.

His untimely and tragic death has not been forgotten. Several of his good friends and neighbors at Pendaries, where he lived, realized a major corner lot there could become a permanent memorial to Harrington. Plans were developed, friends and neighbors were contacted and work began.  

The governing board at the Pendaries Village Community Association was contacted and quickly agreed that the lot owned by Pendaries could indeed be transformed into a memorial, a living small garden with the plants and rocks Harrington loved so much.

This lot already had a wall with a sign on it reading, “Pendaries East” as one goes to the community center and golf course there.

Mike Salman, of Salman Raspberry Ranch and greenhouse fame was contacted by the interested neighbors and homeowners and homeowners at Pendaries. A rough draft sketch or two and a list of ideas was pulled together, visited with, and presented to Salman. Could this corner become a memorial small garden park? Salman knew exactly what to do, and e-mails and phones began to ring.

The lot quickly became shovel ready and all sorts of donations came in, from trees to plants and of course, good ol’ trusty rocks. A brass plaque was ordered, a cement was poured, and a holding pond, completely lined with mountain rocks, was dug. Aspen, firs and pine trees guard a very special rock that was moved from John’s home and a plaque now notes this corner as a lasting memorial for John T. Harrington.

Almost all of Harrington’s immediate family came for this event and our regular mountain rains held off. Friends and family told great “what I remember about John” stories as the corner was dedicated I met Harrington when he and his wife, Anne, first came to Pendaries.

His family knew of this area because one of his grandparents was a patient of my father’s long ago at Valmora.

Harrington would have enjoyed the whole event, even the stories the crowd shared about him.

This beautiful event ended with a cookout just down the road at yet another friends home fabulous foods and fun friends shared more stories about Harrington, and some of his gang had very fresh calluses on their hands, from digging holes and planting trees and flowers in this small garden. I wonder, did anyone smash a finger or a toe loading and unloading the big pickup full of rocks for the small pond? I think I heard John laughing at these worker bees completed this great garden!

Yes, May 30, 2014, will be remembered as John T. Harrington day at Pendaries. I know he is laughing a happy laugh somewhere.

Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.