Editor column: A special trip back home

“What were you thinking?”

It’s a question I’ve heard a couple times recently, in one form or another, when telling people about our upcoming trip to Cincinnati, which officially starts Sunday morning.

If you lack the knowledge of those inquisitive folks, my hometown is not known for its pleasant climate in August. You become instantly sticky when you walk outside, and I have few doubts that the shift from dry heat to humidity will hit me much like the altitude change hits sea-level dwellers when they first arrive in our great state.

(For the record, the altitude never really affected me. I cannot say the same for my father, who got entirely too inebriated off too few beers during my first night in Colorado in August 2014.)

Although August is not the most ideal time to travel home, it’s a calculated decision. I frequently use “we” when referring to The Citizen, but the truth is “we” don’t have a very deep bench.

While my friends in Glenwood can and do lend some helping hands in my absence, they cannot be expected to create all the content for this paper in addition to their regular responsibilities.

That is why early August is the perfect time. It’s just after the Garfield County Fair and Rodeo, which makes for countless great, or good if I’m taking them, photos that tell the story of this wonderful event in a more lively fashion than words can.

And, traveling back in August relieves me of any expectations that I’ll make the trip during the holidays — being in DIA around Thanksgiving or Christmas sounds like one of the nine circles of hell — or some other busier time of the year.

This trip is really one big strategic play.

In all honesty, though, a year is an awful long time to go without seeing my mother and brothers and the climate does not really factor into things. (I left dad out because he was here earlier this year, but I miss him too.)

I’m young enough to remember, just barely, the high school years filled with dreams of moving out of the parents’ home. And I can remember the years at college when coming home for a family dinner on the weekend seemed like an unreasonable request. After all, when is a college student supposed to recuperate from the grueling weekday schedule of rolling out of bed at noon?

The humanity.

What a difference a couple of years and 1,373 miles make.

Just writing this, I wish I was walking out of the terminal in Cincinnati at this very moment.

There are, of course, less important things to get excited about, like eating Skyline Chili and Graeter’s Ice Cream. There are old friends to see and former stomping grounds to visit.

What really excites me, though, is that Sam will get to experience all of this. She’ll get to meet mom, Kevin and Daniel (my younger brothers) for the first time. She’ll get to see where I went to college and sleep in the home I grew up in throughout my entire childhood.

I don’t expect her to gain a deeper understanding of why I am the way I am from this trip. More so than anything, I have a deep love for my hometown, despite how much I might make fun of her (it is the Queen City after all), and an obviously deeper love for my family. I want to share both with her.

However, I think it’s fairly obvious to those of you who read this on a regular basis that we both love our current hometown. I’ve laughed a few times when people have asked if I was leaving for good.

Sorry, you’re not getting off that easy. I love Cincinnati, but I’ll take the blue-bird skies and mountains over it any day. And I’m sure by the time we get on the plane back to Denver on Aug. 13, we’ll both be itching to get back to Rifle.

Ryan Hoffman is editor of The Citizen Telegram. You can reach him at 970-685-2103 or at

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