Good neighbor to know |

Good neighbor to know

by Ron Walker

Angelica lives just up the road from Liz, our miraculous Kindred at Home RN. She and Angelica have watched their kids grow up here in Smith Valley, and both ladies are lovingly anchored to their ranches. The difference is, Liz and her husband Ray, have had their ranch for 20 years and Angelica has had her spread for just a year-and-a-half. Angelica has dogs and cats, chicken and ducks, three goats and 20 head of cattle. “The dogs help with the cattle, the cats are mousers, the chickens and ducks lay eggs, and the goats trim weeds. “Everyone has a purpose and they are all loved,” she says, with a smile on her face as wide as a Hershey Bar.

When I ask Liz if she knows anyone who could give Orllyene and me a few hours a week to help with chores, she recommends Angelica. But the fact is, Angelica gives us so much more than helping out with chores in those few hours. She is caring, intelligent, and diversified. Her grandfather was an airline pilot in the 30s, and her dad an airline captain for Western Airlines, then Delta, and is world-traveled. “We were in Hong Kong in the 70s and I had hair down to my waist. Everyone kept touching it. They’d never seen yellow hair before,” Angelica tells me.

No longer married after 25 years, Angelica is gradually putting the pieces of the puzzle of her life together. “I love spending the day on a horse,” she says. (She recently spent a year and a half as a bookkeeper for one of the biggest ranches in the valley.) “Ranchers always need help moving cattle and I have three horses, so I am always available. “I like nothing better than moving cattle from one pasture to another, or turning them out in the high desert and then bringing them back to the valley.” She calls that “cow camp”. “I think I was born too late. I should have been born 200 years ago when everyone was on a horse,” she says. (I can just imagine her living the life she always dreamed of.)

Angelica will begin certified nursing assistant and phlebotomy training next month. When we were discussing my writing this story, she tells me, “A girl the same age as my daughter was badly hurt the other day and I got the call. Even though I didn’t get home until 9:00 that night, I just know when someone makes a 911 call, they appreciate a friendly face in the ambulance.” Angelica thinks like a guardian angel because she virtually is one.

Despite Angelica’s full life, she has found time for Orllyene and me. She does chores, straightens furniture, fills the bird feeders, empties the trash, makes beds, and does it all with a smile. Because I am not as nimble as I once was, except when Mama Mia is playing, I appreciate Angelica’s help. And, I must say, I feel more comfortable calling her Angel than Angelica.

Ron Walker can be reached at