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Looking back at 2004

Kim Doose

One thing an impending New Year brings is a look back at the people and events that made it special.

It’s also a time to remember and laugh at a few things that didn’t quite work out as anticipated.

Since my GSPI territory covers Garfield County and takes me from El Jebel to Battlement Mesa, I meet more than 2,000 people and attend 52 events a year. Of course, it’s that diversity that provides a cache of stories to bring to you.

And for that reason, and even despite a few of my own backstage gaffes and a faux pas or two, the Our Towns gig is one of the most satisfying, fun and fulfilling assignments a writer could ask for.

I try to go after stories and photos that I think reflect different aspects of the community that also might inform and entertain, and most of the time it turns out all right.

Well, most of the time.

This past summer, for the July 4th page, I thought it would be interesting to photograph and write about locals who were going to climb Mount Sopris over the holiday weekend. At the time, this seemed like a great idea since I knew of a group of more than 20 hikers who were meeting at the trailhead at 6:30 that morning, and I could hike with them.

Well, that’s what was supposed to happen.

First, I missed a key turnoff to Dinkle Lake and then I forgot how far it was, thought I was on the wrong road and drove back down to City Market for directions. This not only cost me an hour, but it was an embarrassing blunder for a native and reason enough for my family to want to boot me out of the tribe. Not for getting lost, but for admitting it and then asking for directions at a grocery store.

“How many times have you been up that road?” my dad asked.

“Well, never as the social girl, behind the wheel and in charge of her own destiny,” I reminded him.

Anyhow, I decided, since the group was an hour ahead of me, if I really hoofed it out I could catch up.

And I did. Well, sort of.

Past Thomas Lakes, after the switchbacks and near tree line where you really begin to climb, I spotted two people and shouted, “Wait! I need to take your photo!”

But the thing about trying to catch up at 11,000 feet is that people appear to be closer than they really are.

Way closer.

When I reached them, I had no breath and was making hand signals, like a Sherpa in distress. They watched me crawl up the side of a mountain, with a camera and a notebook, on my way to this fabulous photo shoot.

Well, except that it didn’t exactly turn out that way.

When my breath returned, I learned one very important fact.

They were tourists.

Now, despite the incriminating evidence I write about myself that tells you otherwise, I am not a cruel woman. Yet, at this moment, I couldn’t decide whether to push them off the ledge or act as if I was from the New York Times and say, “Can’t you just say you’re from Silt?”

This made me abandon my Mount Sopris mission, and to be honest, at the end of the day, I was just glad I didn’t end up in a field near Paonia.

So, as you can imagine, after a long hot summer, being indoors for the Winter Charity Ball season is a welcome relief especially since I get to dress up and feel like a princess.

Well, sort of.

Last year I waited until the last minute to get my gown for the Chamber Ball and when I found exactly the right one, it was a size too small, but the price was right. So I did what any self-serving, single woman on a budget would do. I bought it and decided to worry about the consequences later.

This meant rustling up two trusted people to help me get into the dress that went something like this: “Mom, you pinch the fabric together. Dad, yank the zipper up. Mom, squeeze! OK, Dad, now pull!”

This made me wonder if my parents ever imagined they would watch their first-born walk out of the house looking like Pia Zadora.

But I’m not the only who’s sacrificed her life ” and a good dress ” for the page. Last year at the Madrigals’ concert, soprano singer Annie Stensland jumped out a second floor window in a long, shimmering red gown and four inch heels after getting locked in the bathroom two minutes before show time.

But as she said ” and I’ve learned ” “The show must go on.”

Anyhow, I’m honored to write and photograph this page every week, even if it doesn’t always turn out the way I anticipated.

More importantly, this page belongs to you. So here’s to another great year and a look back at some of the faces that not only made valuable contributions to the community but also made your Thursday mornings a little brighter.

Well, at least I hope that’s how it turned out.


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