Thank you for the memories, Bill |

Thank you for the memories, Bill

Mike Vidakovich

As I get older, I’m finding that some things I felt were important in life are not. And others, like friendships that I’ve had and the people whose lives have intersected with mine, are of the utmost importance. You take for granted that they are going to be around for a long time, and that’s not necessarily the case.

There was a message on my phone late last week from the best friend a person could have. It was a call you never like to receive, but the kind that is inevitable for all of us to get, or have to make one day.

The voice on the other end of the line belonged to Scott Bolitho. He spoke in a steady voice as he relayed to me that his father had passed away the previous morning and that he and his brother Norm were on their way to California be with their mother.

Numbed, I sat and stared at the phone for awhile, trying to gather my thoughts and make sense of what I had just listened to.

Growing up here in Glenwood, I had spent almost as much time at the Bolitho household as I had my own. Bill and Jere Bolitho were not my parents, but I spent as much time as I could pestering them, as I did my own mom and dad.

Just like his father Skip Bolitho, who was my principal at Glenwood Elementary, Bill was tough and of the no-nonsense variety.

He always seemed to enjoy being around me, and I felt the same of him, so I kind of always figured that his bark was much worse than his bite.

On the subject of barking, Bill, a graduate of Glenwood High School and a former Demon athlete, didn’t always see eye to eye with high school sports officials.

Those of you who knew Bill are probably chuckling heartily right now at the classic understatement I have just written. I do believe Bill’s blood pressure went up at the very sight of anyone wearing a striped shirt. His sports opinions were worn on his sleeve and well noted.

And Bill knew his sports, believe me.

The basement walls of the Bolitho family home were covered from top to bottom with old and memorable sports pictures that Bill had collected through his years of being first an athlete, then a follower and fan of high school, college, and professional sports.

As a boy, I could never resist heading down the stairs upon a visit to the Bolitho home to look at the collection of heroes, and some sports villains, that made up the paneling in the spacious family room.

Bill was not only the decorator of this sports museum, he was the resident historian also. He could weave a story into each picture that he had so carefully chosen to be displayed on his walls of fame.

It was fascinating to listen to his knowledge of sports topics from golf to horse racing, and feel up close his passion for the world occupied by athletes and their achievements.

It was because of Bill and Jere Bolitho that I got to spend many magical Saturday afternoons at Folsom Field in Boulder watching the CU Buffs play football.

I got to see Sooners and Cornhuskers, Cyclones and Jayhawks, and all the other teams in the old Big 8 Conference, due to the generosity of the Bolithos.

Whenever there was an extra ticket to be had, I was usually invited along for a weekend at Aunt Mabel’s house in Golden and a college football game in Boulder. Going to those games are still some of my most cherished memories from boyhood.

Bill was an avid golfer who spent many days up on the hill swinging happily away at the Glenwood Golf Club.

Though he was very good on the links, Bill never seemed satisfied with his round, always looking to score better than the previous outing. “C’mon Bill. How can you hit such a bad shot!” Jere often heard this exasperating phrase uttered from her husband in their golfing life together.

Bill loved books, and he especially loved history books.

His personal home library had to have been one of the most vast and thorough in this area. Much like that of sports lore, Bill’s historical background and knowledge captured my interest. He could recall the slightest detail from each of his volumes, and he treated the books on his many layered shelves like the treasures they were.

Most of all, Bill Bolitho loved the Glenwood Springs Demons.

There is no way that this column, or even the entire edition of today’s paper, could cover the memories I have of Bill and his love for Glenwood sporting events. It wasn’t about just watching his sons, Scott, Norm, and Jeff, who were all very good at their craft, but it was about supporting his hometown team at all times and anywhere he had to travel.

I don’t think I ever saw Bill not smiling during the 1978-79 school year, when the Demons won both the state football and basketball titles.

The good times were all fun and great, but the best thing about Bill is that you knew he would be one of the first to watch your back and go to war with you if anyone messed with the Demon boys.

I won’t say goodbye to Bill, because the word goodbye is final. I’ll just say so long for now.

I believe it’s always important to remember what we had in life, but maybe it’s even more important to cherish what we still have.

I’ll leave you with this note that I found on the floor outside of a classroom during a recent substitute teaching visit to Glenwood Elementary.

The wording and spelling are exactly the same as the unknown author inked on a small, yellow sticky note. As you will see, this writer is wise well beyond his, or her, years, and it’s some sage advice for us all.

“whatever goes wrong today, dosend matter becuse at the end of the day, just realize what you have.”

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