Annie Johnson has a farm (ee-i-ee-i-o)
SILT MESA – Winn-Dixie’s cock-a-doodle-dooing bothered the rooster’s neighbors so much on Missouri Heights that he needed to find another place to live.A horse named Chivas couldn’t be ridden after a truck smashed into him when he got loose on Highway 133 near Carbondale. They’re just two of the many roosters, horses, dogs, cats, ducks, turkeys and chickens that have found their way to Annie Johnson’s 10-acre place on Silt Mesa.”They’re all rescue animals in one way or another,” said Johnson of her menagerie.Johnson, who, besides being an ardent animal lover, is a nurse at Valley View Hospital’s Cancer Center, purchased her small farm after driving by the place and seeing a for-sale sign in the front yard.”I saw it, called the real estate agent, made an offer and that was it,” she said of her first real estate purchase, which she made last November. “It was like the little girl seeing her house in ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’ I never thought I would live in this area, and now it is home. It was the place I’d been dreaming of.”
A circuitous route led to Johnson living on her own little farm west of Silt. She moved to Aspen in 1983, after living in Indiana, Florida and tending bar in Hilton Head, S.C. Some Aspen bar owners lured her to Colorado, where she bartended at the Spinnaker Bar at the base of Aspen Mountain. “I was young, and I’d never been around mountains,” she said. “I just fell in love with it.” Johnson got married, though ironically, it was a through her divorce that she found her true calling.”I guess I was sort of a late bloomer,” she said. “I never knew what I wanted to be until I met Callie.”
Callie Pierce was Johnson’s divorce lawyer. Pierce was receiving treatment for bone cancer while handling Johnson’s case. “She touched my heart,” said Johnson. “She was more concerned about me going through my divorce than she was about her illness.”Getting to know Pierce, and watching how she dealt with her recurring bouts of cancer, helped Johnson find her passion in life.”I would visit Callie at University Hospital in Denver,” she said. “She was unrecognizable because of the medication. To see this woman throwing up, and dealing with her illness, and to see how the nurses who cared for her affected her life made me realize what I wanted to do.”
Pierce passed away from her cancer, but acting as Johnson’s “guardian angel,” her memory helped Johnson graduate from nursing school in 2000 and become an oncology nurse.”I wasn’t one of those people who knew what they wanted to do before I met Callie,” she said. “I never thought, growing up, I’d be a nurse. But that one individual brought out that character in me.”She said that working with cancer patients continually teaches her about her own life. “We’ll never know why things happen,” she said, “We can’t. But through my patients, I’ve learned to embrace life on a daily basis. To wake up feeling good with no regrets – I may sound stupid here – but I’ve learned how important that is. I see life come and go through the cancer center.”Each day is such a beautiful thing,” she said. “It’s very simple.” Contact Carrie Click625-3245, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Messaging from CDOT changes, but Independence Pass is noted as closed on its website but not for mudslides
Independence Pass east of Aspen is listed as closed according to the state’s transportation department, but the road was not shut down Wednesday because of mudslides but rather to lessen traffic.