Saturday, April 30, 2011

Newman


I read something this morning about a restaurant closing and no new owner.  Nothing to go back into its place.  A void, an emptiness.  Another empty store on the town square.


Small family restaurants are the community centers of rural america.  They are a meeting place.  A place to lie and to be lied to.  A place to decide how to vote.  A place to gossip and find the pulse of the community.  

Pity the poor owner who got up at 4 am every morning for a lifetime just to make sure that there was a hot cup of coffee in the pot and a meal at the ready for the souls who walk through the door.  

I was reminded of the character Newman on the Seinfeld program.  Newman was a post office worker.  Newman was even a little more strange than Kramer.  Newman was a philosopher.  

One monologue involved him talking about how postal employees would come to work one morning with a fully automatic weapon and kill everyone in sight.  The rationale for that kind of behavior, according to Newman,  is that when the postal employee goes home at night all of the mail has been delivered.  When they arrive the next day all of the bins are full of new mail.  It never stops.  There is no hope it will ever end.  When it does not end then they take the issue into their own hands and kill everyone in the building.  Our society has even coined a new phrase to describe this.  It is called "going postal."  

Shift to the small town coffee shop and restaurant.  Year after year they serve everyone one day and the following day they come back wanting more coffee and more food.  It never ends.  The same faces, the same stories, the same issues.  Generation after generation.  

Instead of going postal the restaurant owners simply lock the door and go home forever.

Friday, April 8, 2011

She said, "I love you."


Interstate 70 was closed last Sunday morning from Denver to Vail.  

One hundred miles of cars stuck in a late spring storm.  

I had made it to Boulder because I left my usual, very early Sunday morning time at 7 a.m.  

It was raining from Georgetown to Boulder.  
No snow for me.  
My son was in Aurora in a blizzard but up against the foothills of the Rockies from Boulder to Golden there was only fog and light rain. 

On the way home  I drove to Morrison and got on Highway 285 that would lead me to within 17 miles of Breckenridge.  
No sitting in my car on the snowbound Interstate for me.  

About one mile into Turkey Creek Canyon the skies opened up with bright sun and no clouds.  
Heavy skier traffic northbound coming from Vail and Breckenridge due to the Interstate closure.  
Heavy snow on the cars with large buildups of ice on the front.  
In my direction it was as if we were coming from Florida with our dry cars and no snow.  
Sweet.  

I used to live on a 700 acre horse ranch in Conifer in Pleasant Park.  
I made that same drive twice a day in 1974.   
Last Sunday it was on a four lane road that had replaced the very narrow, winding two lane.  

Aspen Park, Conifer, Pine Junction to Bailey into South Park. 
No Kenny or Carmen today.  

Drove past South Platte High School for the first time in years.  
The first time since a gunman took the school hostage.  
For the first time since the gunman killed a little girl with one shot to the head because she had used her cell phone to text "I love you" to her mom and dad.
The last thing she ever did.  
The last thing the gunman ever did was kill himself.  
I got a chill as I drove by South Platte High School last Sunday.  
It wasn't because of the snow.