Retired is a relative term for Silt man
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
SILT, Colorado ” Al Robinson doesn’t have time to get old ” he’s too busy.
At 81, ‘Big Al’ as he’s known, has more hobbies and interests than some people have in a lifetime.
Robinson, of Silt, retired in 1992 after 30 years as a design engineer for trucking equipment in the Denver area. He retired again in 2007 after working 15 years as a part-time salesperson at First Class Trash in Glenwood Springs.
And he may be retired, but he’s as busy as ever. He now spends most of his time in his two-room workshop in the basement of his Silt home, where he does woodworking ” making everything from jewelry cases and clocks to large pieces of furniture. A drafting table in one corner sports design sketches of pieces he has in the works.
“Woodworking is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Robinson said, showing off pieces in progress that sit on tables among his many tools. “These here are end tables I’m building for Meredith.”
Meredith Robinson is his wife of 15 years and also the mayor pro tem for the town of Silt.
“We’ve been together since 1984,” Robinson said proudly. “We moved to Silt in 1994.”
When asked why he moved to the town, he has a simple answer.
“God brought me to Silt.”
The couple live in a home not far from downtown Silt that Al Robinson designed and the couple had built.
Robinson was born in 1927 and grew up in Harlem in New York City. He served in what was then called the ‘Army/Air Force’ from 1944-1948, but contracted tuberculosis and was a patient at Fitzsimon’s Army Hospital in Denver for five years.
During that time, he would visit the mountains on the Western Slope.
“I’ve always loved the mountains. My kids and me would come up here and we were the only black people you’d see for miles,” Robinson said with a laugh.
Along with his shop, Robinson also has a back room where he makes homemade wine. The labels on the bottles read ‘Big Al’s, Silt Colorado’ and sport a variety of flavors from Pinot Noir to Australian Chardonnay.
A mini-refrigerator stores some cold bottles of his wine and a weight bench sits nearby.
“This gym equipment doubles as a cocktail table,” he said with a laugh. “That’s where we drink the wine.”
The ‘we’ refers to some of his younger friends.
“I don’t have any old guys like me to hang out with, so I get together with the young ones,” Robinson smiled.
Robinson even belongs to a local wine club he started with his friends Dave Bartlett of Silt and Larry Tallmadge of Carbondale.
“There’s about seven of us from up and down the valley, but we’ve only met once,” he admits.
When he’s not woodworking or making wine, Robinson likes to listen to jazz and has an extensive collection of CD’s housed in a beautiful entertainment center he built himself, which is his pride and joy.
“I’ve been listening to jazz since I was 15,” he said, opening up drawers and drawers of CD’s.
His surround sound system also includes six speakers in the living room and a turntable. Nearby is a 52-inch square coffee table along with the dining room table that he built himself. Both are covered with books and magazines, which he really does read.
“The books and magazines trigger a whole lot of thoughts,” Robinson said, describing where he gets his ideas.
Other hobbies include dabbling in photography and making his own scented candles. He was also a longtime member of the Mountain Sounds barbershop quartet for 10 years, which sang at various functions up and down the valley.
“We practiced at the Methodist Church in Glenwood Springs and we did a lot of songs ” especially at Christmas time,” Robinson said.
In his spare time, he cooks and cleans house.
“I’m a good cook ” just ask Meredith,” Robinson boasted with a wide grin, pointing to a shrimp and pasta recipe that he recently made and several shelves of cookbooks. “You ever had a flat iron steak?”
No, but this guy was sounding more and more like the perfect husband, because he also does the dishes and the laundry.
Meeting Big Al in person is probably the closest thing most of us will ever get to talking to Bill Cosby. He’s that funny ” but without the pudding.
‘Big Al’ Robinson is a happy, alert and healthy individual. He’s too busy to be anything else.
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