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Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmastime In Colorado

I know that some of you may have the idea that Christmas in the Denver area must be as beautiful as a greeting card. We are all sitting by the fire with our cozy slippers and hot chocolate while the snow falls lazily from the sky in fat, fluffy flakes. In the morning, we'll put on our cold weather gear and make snowmen before piling into the SUV and heading up to the mountains to ski. Bwaaahahaha!

Sorry for the loss of decorum. It may seem that way from movies or tv or travel magazines, but I am afraid that it just isn't true. You can see from the attached picture that as we approach the holidays, there isn't a snowman, snowdrift, or even a snowflake in sight. I like to joke with out-of-towners who ask about how much snow we have by telling them we keep it all in the mountains. We have been driving around listening to holiday music with our windows rolled down to enjoy the fifty-to-sixty degree weather. Unfortunately, we seldom have a white, snowy Christmas. When we do, it's usually because a blizzard dropped about two feet of snow on top of us. Ah, well.

Some of us do drive SUV's, but have you ever tried paying for gasoline for one of those things? If everyone drove those beasts, nobody could afford to go skiing. Yes, skiing is big here. But I must confess that I have never gone skiing. There, the truth is out. I have had opportunities. But the thought of my body hurtling down a slippery slope at high speed has never been appealing to me. It's just too much like falling. Just a coward, I suppose.

I learned from my Gram that people have had misconceptions about Denver for a long time. No, it is not a cow town. The streets are actually paved. There aren't any cattle rustlers having shootouts outside the saloon and riding off on their horses. Gram liked to share a story about something that happened while she was traveling by train to Michigan in the late 1940's to visit her daughter. A very kind lady struck up a conversation with her to help pass the time. The usual subjects came up, like where are you going, and so forth. When the subject of where they were from came up and Gram said she was from Denver, the woman grew very concerned. "Oh, my goodness! You live in Denver?" she exclaimed. "Aren't you afraid of the Indians attacking when you go to sleep at night?"

Gram said something or other to assure her fellow traveler that she was not only unafraid, but also safe. The conversation wrapped up without my grandmother telling her that she was an ignorant person who had no idea what century it was. Or that she was not afraid because they pulled the Conestoga wagons into a big ol' circle before building their cook fires and cookin' up some buffalo. On Christmas. In the deep, deep snow. In the middle of Denver.