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Feb 7 / suzanne

Meet This Grateful Neighbor: Tiffany

Tiffany Silverman riding Sebastian

Tiffany Silverman had just mounted her new horse, Sebastian, one foggy morning when the 1,400-pound Oldenburg gelding, freshly Fed Exed from Germany, got spooked. “I had no idea I was in trouble until I was 5 feet in the air,” says Tiffany, a professional horse trainer in northeast San Diego county.

Tiffany landed on her back. Sebastian landed on Tiffany’s hip. “I had a lovely horseshoe print where my hipbone was supposed to be,” she says.

Five days after surgery to repair her broken pelvis, Tiffany went home with a wheelchair, a walker and a “Frankenstein scar.” She’d been the cook in the house — her husband, Mark, specializes in takeout — so suddenly Mark, a busy veterinarian, was overloaded.

Tiffany’s sister stepped in and organized three weeks worth of meals every other day using mealTrain. “The outpouring of love and support was amazing,” says Tiffany, mom to 4-year-old Caleb.

Her friends, clients and relatives came up with a variety of creative deliveries. “Someone brought me a huge basket of fruit — not your normal apples and oranges but kiwis and star fruit and strawberries. It was great because when you’re not getting any exercise, the last thing you want to do is load up on carbs.”

Another friend brought her “this crazy casserole — it was the most random assortment of green beans and noodles and chunks of meat, pretty much everything left in her kitchen. It was hearty and delicious, even though I’m not sure what it was.”

Tiffany’s favorite delivery was a fresh salad with condiments separated into small bags, ready to be topped with a juicy hunk of marinated fresh pork that Mark threw on the grill. Stay tuned for our own version.

This story has a happy ending: Tiffany was back on her feet in three months and six months after the accident was back riding Sebastian, a nationally-ranked dressage horse. Tiffany hopes to one day represent the United States in the Olympics dressage competition.

Here are Tiffany’s tips for meal-givers:

•Label your dishes and containers. I had Pyrex dishes and Corningware stacking up and didn’t always know whose was whose. One person put their return-address mailing label on the back of a casserole dish and that was great.

•Brighten up the meal with fresh flowers. A couple of women included small bouquets they’d cut from their garden. I thought it was darling.

•Don’t forget about breakfast. Most people delivered dinner, but when a friend showed up at 7 a.m. with a cup of Starbucks coffee, a platter of fruit and some fresh-baked muffins, that was pure gold. Smoothie fixings, like the fruit, protein and milk all ready to throw together, are also a treat.

•Consider the injury. A platter of something beautifully displayed isn’t an easy thing for someone on crutches to carry, so bring dishes that are easy to transport around the house.

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