On the road again | PostIndependent.com

On the road again

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

After more than 30 annual trips, 2005 is the last year 84-year-old Deana Hart, of Litchfield, Ill., will travel to Glenwood Springs.

Actually, she says that every year.

“We’ve heard that for the last five years,” said Mary Koziol, owner of the Cedar Lodge in Glenwood, with her husband, Joe. “Every year she comes here she says, ‘This will be my last trip.’ But she always comes back.”

For 20 years, Hart and her husband made the annual trip to Glenwood Springs together before he suffered declining health from Alzheimer’s disease. His last trip was in 1995; four years later he passed away. Now the spunky senior, who will be 85 on Dec. 21, makes the 1,000-mile journey alone.

“I talk on my CB and the truckers think I’m an 18-wheeler,” said Hart, who has seven grandkids. “I don’t worry about myself ” I worry about the other guys on the road.”

Hart and her husband originally came to Glenwood Springs in the ’70s to soak in the Hot Springs Pool, an attraction she still visits. She also returns to the Cedar Lodge each year and the Vapor Caves, where she enjoyed a massage on Thursday.

“When my husband and I first starting coming here, we went up in a helicopter two times and a hot air balloon that went right through the canyon,” she recalled. “My grandson used to live here for three years because he worked in the coal mine down in Redstone. He graduated from the School of Mines.”

The secret to a long, healthy life, said Hart, is to keep busy and have fun. The St. Louis native is proud to report she takes no medications and goes line dancing every week.

“Friday night I’ll get my hair done and go line dancing. It’s good exercise,” said Hart, who retired from nursing after 32 years at age 71. “I play the horn and tambourine or sing in a country band.”

An avid roller skater in her younger years, Hart said she has always been active.

“I always had to have a pleated skirt and an angora sweater,” she recalled.

Koziol, who befriended Hart 14 years ago when she and her husband bought the Cedar Lodge, said that fun approach to life is what makes Hart a special lady.

“Her sense of humor, on life in general, is incredible for her age,” said Koziol, who always receives Hart’s phone call when she returns to Litchfield to let her know she arrived home safely. “She is such a nice person, and she’s fun. I just hope my mind is that sharp at her age.”

Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518


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