Celebrations and tribulations back in the Rockies

My two-weekend visit to Colorado and Wyoming left me a little dazed. With one friend recently dead of cancer, another getting married, and many other friends and family to catch up with, I just dove in and let it happen. This is the stuff of life right? Dad and Sarah picked me up at the airport, and off we went.

I hadn’t seen my cousins Doug and Liz since their daughter Hazel Mae was born. Worlds can change in a few years, and I found them in a big new house with a large yard that Hazel was kind enough to guide me through.

One quick meal with family is never enough, but so much better than nothing!

Family visit photo

Continuing north to my birthplace of Laramie, Wyoming, my old friends Anne Marie and Molly welcomed me into the home where they cared for Anne Marie’s husband and my friend George until his death from pancreatic cancer about a month before. The turmoil he left behind was still in force, and I felt helpless to do much but share it for a while. Anne Marie’s daughter Sophie didn’t remember me after four years, and I met her son Sammy for the first time. It just about broke my heart to walk with them while Sammy collected rocks to put on his dad’s headstone.

Sophie and Sam make pancakes

Sam and Anne Marie

Sam and George

Leaving them with a heavy heart, I returned to Indian Hills with my dad and Sarah. Dad and I spent some time together hiking and talking in the cool, bright autumn mountains.

Me and dad on continental divide

Me with Guanella pass road colors

Dad with Guanella pass road colors

Autumn hiking

Fall in the Rockies

Dad had small reunion planned one day with three of his former mission housemates from his high school days in Wheaton, Illinois. I learned a lot about this period of his life by listening in to their spirited conversation.

Mission home meetup

Ann joined the party and we zipped to Boulder for lunch with our friend Kate at Leaf, then went for one more hike in the neighborhood before we switched our focus to Pete and Heather’s wedding.

Bear Mountain Vista

Pete was the best man at my wedding, and I was proud to stand up at his with his sister Jill and mutual friend Jim. Jim and I were both determined to do something special for our friend. Pete had recently threatened to do away with his phone, which inspired Jim’s gift. It required some assembly that I was happy to help with.

Payphone assembly

For my part, I arrived in a nice leisure suit circa 1970 with my long hair on full display. It caught the notice of most of the guests during the ceremony, and even sparked some conversation about hair afterward. When the time for toasts came around, everyone remarked on the absence of table knives for clinking the glasses. For my toast I announced that I had a knife, and Ann handed me the foot long kitchen knife she had in her handbag, which we clinked my glass with. I talked a little about Pete and Heather before bringing up the oddity of Pete’s human hair collection which he keeps in a chrome briefcase. After discussing it a little, I deemed the occasion worthy of making one more contribution to that briefcase, which elicited a quick collective gasp as Ann picked up the knife and sawed off the greater portion of my hair, which she had braided in preparation. This I delivered to the newlyweds with great satisfaction.




After seeing Pete and Heather off, Ann and I delivered ourselves to our friend Aaron, who wrangled an off-hours tour of the giant galvanize coworking space in downtown Denver and dinner at city o’city.

Whew! After all that R&R, it was time to get back to Reno and work!

One response to “Celebrations and tribulations back in the Rockies”

  1. Holy smokes what a trip. And the hair thing. You get more interesting with age my friend. Those poor little kiddos. Breaks my heart as well.

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