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Leaving a legacy like Doug Gundlach’s

I never met Doug Gundlach.But I’m sure if I had been introduced, I would’ve given him a run for his money on ’70s music trivia. Like Doug, I’m probably one of a discernible few who even remembered Exile did that “Kiss You All Over” song.Someday such seemingly useless information will come in handy. Just like the stuff I learned in that “History of Sports” class I took in college.Most people at Saturday’s Realm Festival, hosted in his honor, had never met Doug. The all-day concert raised money toward a trust fund for his four young daughters. Organizers haven’t tallied the final money raised, but they’re thinking it’s upwards of $2,000.There’s a Prada handbag out there somewhere with that exact price tag.What impressed me most about the event was the hard work and dedication that went into it. The festival took place on a scenic, rural setting on the Klein ranch in New Castle. The host of bands, which came from around the state to perform for the smaller-than-anticipated crowd, were all high-caliber. Little Hercules, out of Minturn, was especially popular. The stage and lighting set-up was a big-time production – estimated at around $10,000.Ironically enough, organizers are pretty sure the chilly Colorado weather on Saturday kept people away. A scarf and some gloves can really do wonders out here, I promise.Even if the end result was not as successful as projected, the Realm Festival was still as heartwarming as a bowl of hot chili on a cold winter night. I thought it was great to see strangers coming together for a good cause.I grew up in a small town, so I know all about people not playing nice. Living together in perfect harmony – let alone singing – is easier said than done. There’s always going to be trash talking behind one another’s backs and neighbors fighting over whose dog was barking last night. Unfortunately, easy-going mountain life hasn’t even helped me escape that.I suppose that’s human nature for everyone in the world not to get along. There are so many factors to foster hate – race, religion, whether or not some girl stole your boyfriend …But I have to give my mom extra credit for teaching me to try and be nice to everyone. She made a valiant effort during those nasty teenage years, but achieving popularity in a small-town school of about 700 kids prevailed.Talk about a lesson in cattiness. Luckily, I’ve had many years to recover.I always joke that being nice has gotten me nowhere, just walked all over like a rug. Sure, there could be some truth to that, but I don’t really see how being mean is going to get me anywhere I want to be.Except maybe first in line at a Designer Shoe Warehouse clearance sale.I try not to think about whether or not people like me, or if they think I’m nice. But, like my skin after a three-day cruise to the Bahamas, I’m pretty sensitive.Thick skin – that tans really well without freckling – I do not have.That probably goes back to that time I was the first to fall asleep at a slumber party in the fourth grade and all the popular girls put make-up all over my face. I cried, they felt bad, then 11 years later I went to Daytona Beach with the same group of girls on Spring Break.It’s a good thing I don’t hold a grudge.I can only hope I leave the world with a legacy like Doug Gundlach’s. Even though he’s gone, his helpful nature and gracious spirit remains with friends and family – and even a bunch of people, including me, who didn’t even know him.Maybe being the nice one works out in the end after all.April E. Clark would like to see everyone in the Roaring Fork Valley pay it forward. She can be reached at 945-8515, ext. 518, or aclark@postindependent.com.


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