One sunny afternoon in March of 2019, Cathy Upton volunteered to groom for Circles on the day that I volunteered for the first time. Denny introduced us to Betsy Rodenbush who put rakes in our hands, walked us out to a spot on the labyrinth, and taught us what to do. Cathy was nervous, I was nervous. We did not to want to make any mistakes and we definitely did not want to groom in the wrong spots. Cathy took to grooming like she had been doing it all her life. When we finished a section Betsy would move us to another area for more grooming. Frequently we found ourselves raking with our backs to each other until almost bumping backsides. We talked about the experience afterward while waiting for Denny to give his opening remarks, and I think we might have even walked the labyrinth one behind the other.
The next day we met on the sand and groomed together again and it was the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Cathy volunteered for as many days as she could. She stayed and talked to Denny and the rest of the Circles team and many of the visitors as well. It was not long before Denny asked both of us to be Ambassadors. Cathy loves grooming, talking to the visitors, and sharing the experience with her husband Jim. Her smile can light up the most dreary of days.
Cathy is one of Circles in the Sand's biggest supporters both on and off the beach. Due to a knee injury last year, Cathy was limited to staying up top at Face Rock Wayside where she would greet people and answer all of their questions. During that time we missed having her on the sand but she filled a niche that we did not know needed to be filled. Cathy is generous beyond measure and has a heart of gold. She goes the extra mile for the team when she orders divine cakes from Coastal Mist Chocolates for our Circles social functions.
Since becoming friends, Cathy and I have taken art classes together, hunted for agates, and shared some wonderful meals but I think our favorite thing to do together is to create labyrinths with the team. On the day we met, Joe Kline, a photographer from the Oregon magazine 1859 was there to do an article about Circles in the Sand. When his article and photos were published in the May/June 2019 issue Cathy and I can be seen in the crowd waiting to walk the labyrinth. Who knew that the first day we met would end up in a magazine?
Happy Birthday, Cathy. We wish you a day as bright, loving and as remarkable as you.
Blog credits: Bethe Patrick
Photo credits: Donna Belt, June Davies, and Bethe Patrick