Grand Valley Days
It’s the only town in the world with the name.
Surveyors gave Parachute its name when they looked at a map of the area and realized that when the lines of three local streams converged, it resembled the canopy of a parachute.
Before that, pioneers named the town Grand Valley to lure people to the area ” an irony that appears to be lost on no one since talk of booms and busts still pervade local conversation.
Yet parade-goers welcomed this year’s theme for Grand Valley Days which was “The Good Ol’ Days”
The good old days, “When it was a quiet country town,” Rose Magee said.
On Saturday, when floats lined up for the parade, they gathered in front of a motel that bustles year round with transient oil and gas workers from places like Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming.
On weekends their empty trucks fill the parking lot.
Alpine Bank’s float reenacted a Mayberry theme, a time when gas was five cents a gallon, families owned one car, one TV and ate dinner at the table together.
“It’s when life was simple,” Said Janell Summers, “I think people long for those days.”
But there are days Parachute wishes never to revisit.
“None of us who have lived here want to go through the booms and busts again,” Mary Moore said.
However, she says that the town deals with the presence of oil and gas companies the best way they know how.
“I see planning and I see people being proactive,” she said.
People still want to come to the Grand Valley.
Author Erlene Durrant Murray must have had a sense about how the land and the economy would one day clash.
In 1973 she published a short history of the early Grand Valley called, “Lest We Forget.”
The title still bears truth.
A town must never forget its history because it’s one thing no one can take from us.
And, unfortunately, history is how we learn the hard lessons.
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Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or firstname.lastname@example.org