A helping hand when needed
Frank Capra was a Hollywood Director of Oscar winning movies of the 1930s and into the 1960s winning three Oscars along the way. His heartwarming stories of people at the depth of despair only to find hope and rise again were the basis for movies such as “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Humans are fragile, that is a known fact since the beginning of time. Sooner or later most people learn that piece of information and when things are going real well in life, someone or something can pull the rug right out from under your feet to send your life spiraling down.
Esther Gottwald learned that in December. Life can be tough. After years of hard work, she was finally going to retire. She had worked for the state most of her life, and she had a dream of buying a booth at Wimberley’s Market Days.
Selling antiques and other bric-a-brac would keep her occupied most of the year. With a little housecleaning business on the side, what could go wrong?
Both her and her husband Gregg worked on the recently-purchased booths, which were in need of a lot of work. The plywood floors were collapsing with rotted boards needing replacing throughout the booth. It was a complete mess.
“I’ve worked for the state since my twenties, and I had the opportunity to buy a place. I was so excited I did not see the shape of the booth. Gregg said, ‘just a little work.’ He’s handy when he’s healthy.” Everything looked bright for the near future.
“And then everything came to a screeching halt,” Esther said. Devastation. She was diagnosed with cancer.
What to do? Without Esther’s knowledge, posted an ad online hoping someone would see it. Gregg got an answer. There was a couple that lived in Driftwood that would like to help.
“I was looking for a maid and ran across an ad in the wanted section and saw Gregg’s project,” Tina Simek said. She and her husband Landon would help at no cost. “I told him (Landon) Honey I hope you don’t mind but I am taking this project I know you are busy but would you help?” He agreed. The couples are the owners of the “Home on the Range” Golf Range in Dripping Springs.
“We just got in touch and they took over,” Greg said. Meanwhile Esther had a huge change of heart. “It was a miracle. I was so depressed and mad at God…it gave me a reason to get out of bed. Someone’s going to fix it for us.”
“It was pretty much falling in,” Landon said. Just setting up to fix it, electricity was needed.
She would go at night, 11 p.m., to 5 a.m. Landon would stay with the couple’s two young boys of 5 and 6 years old. Then they’d switch the parenting duties.
“No water was the hard part… At first the animals at night fighting would freak me out,” Tina said.“What we (needed) to fix, we Google,” she said.
Gregg is so appreciative; one of his worries was taken out of his hands. “They paid for everything. They paid for wood, put windows in, didn’t want nothing. They replaced a fan…”
Esther calls them her “angel people.” Things for her are looking up. Since her diagnosis earlier this year, her health is showing signs of improving also.
“I’m doing good after 20 treatments and five chemos…on Friday. The doctor said last week that it shrank 50%, which is not normal. He’s in his 70s and has seen a lot.”
So remember, when the news of the day can get you down and your responsibilities and relationships can make you angry and bitter, there are angel people out there in real life. It’s not just in the Frank Capra movies.