from Sandy Needham

Sunday, September 11, 2016

USA Travel Dispatch: Rocky Mountains

I flew to Denver from New York, and my sister Donna and her husband Larry flew to Denver from Washington DC. The Needham sisters were having a reunion after four years!

Our big sister Janet met us at the airport and we all caught the handy bus to her new home...and her new husband, Jerry! They had just married a couple of weeks prior. Both of them lost their spouses in the last year-and-a-half. Jerry was a close buddy of Janet's late husband - and the rest is history! We had a lasagne dinner prepared by Jerry and a wonderful time getting to know him. 

The next morning Jerry waved good-bye as we drove off to Durango in the southwest of Colorado for our reunion. Our sister Dorothy was hosting us at her beautiful cabin at Electra Lake, outside Durango. Her husband, Bill, and Larry were having none of a Needham Sisters' reunion, so would be staying at the condominium in town.

The 6-hour drive surrounded by Rocky Mountain views was spectacular. Janet and Larry shared the driving. We had quite a long lunch break in Saguache, as our waitress was under-qualified. It started with ordering two diet cokes, a juice and a water. After quite a spell, she came back with the juice; then returned later to check if those were diet cokes? Eventually she appeared with two diet cokes, one in a small glass and one in a large. I asked about my water and she went to check. Later she came back to report that I'd have to wait till more glasses came out of the dishwasher. Then we ordered: a BLT on toast, two burgers, and the special house grilled cheese. After a while the waitress returned to say she had lost the slip with our order, so could we order again? The food finally arrived and was fine once some BLT mayo was requested, EXCEPT Janet didn't receive her grilled cheese sandwich. We inquired. The waitress shrugged as if she would know?? A half hour passed and we inquired with the manager. We expected to see some charred remains of a sandwich or just a lump of carbon, but instead the manager appeared with the sandwich...the cheddar cheese was barely sweating and the white bread barely suggested golden traces. In other words, it was a "cheese sandwich." Janet decided not to send it back, in hopes of arriving in Durango in a timely way since two hours had passed! I felt like I was still in the Northeast of Brazil. In the meantime, we preoccupied ourselves with the waitress' jeans, which were gradually inching their way down to the crack region of her derriere. Of course we were always polite to her, a girl out of her element. I'm sure "you had to be there," but the story grew into frenzied laughter as the week went by!

The typical "bargello" pattern of the pines along mountain slopes was interrupted from time to time by the dried-out remains of Mountain Pine Beetle disease. This can wipe out huge swaths of trees that take decades to replenish. At least some practical uses for the wood have been applied, such as this beautiful wall paneling that Dorothy and Bill have installed in their Electra lake cabin:

Dorothy made the decor of the entire cabin exquisite, as usual
Yes - we arrived at tranquil Electra Lake! It is another timeless summer scene with families happy to be relaxing in their vacation cabins.

Dorothy & Bill's cabin
View off the front deck of the cabin

After our first day of gabbing, we had a big chicken taco soup dinner with Dorothy's local son Brad, her daughter April and family - in town from California for her high school reunion - and Bill and Larry, ready to make a quick get-away! Brad brought the sisters a joint in it's own little carrying case...make that a legal joint, as we were in Colorado now! We saved it for later.

Janet, Donna & I, exhibiting exemplary behavior
The week included some time on the docked boat, where we took turns kayaking. I tried out the particularly stable paddle board.

Donna & Dorothy
Janet & I

Dorothy & I
Janet & Dorothy
Trying out the paddle board

An especially fun, girly morning was spent hanging out on the deck together, comparing cosmetics and favorite products, and commiserating on the issues of bodily and facial hair!

One day Bill made the sacrifice and drove us all over the lake in the boat. This included a little hike.

It was a short hike!

Just had to do that selfie-thing!

Dorothy stole some husband time at the helm

Bill's actual face

Bill and Larry hung out around town and explored almost impassable mountain routes in the jeep.

Newton was visiting old friends and his business partners in New Jersey during this time. He went to Madison Square Garden with his colleague to see Billy Joel in concert.

We had a fantastic evening at Music in the Mountains. The Festival Orchestra played Weber, Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 with a virtuoso guest pianist, then a tango composition with the orchestra pianist slamming the piano with both her forearms!...and a Latin rhythm composition to which we could pulsate in our chairs.

The Electra Lake Café was an unexpected oasis of gourmet dining on the lake. We went twice!

Electra Lake Café
Donna, Dorothy, Janet and I
Here we are in the early '50's with the two people we admire the most: our mother and father.
I'll leave the identifying up to YOU!
We had another girly day lunching and shopping in the wonderful town of Durango. I returned to my favorite store, where the dressing room was large enough for me to try on clothes with all three sisters sitting in there, helping me choose. Now those are my favorite clothes!

Brad and his wife Tracy had everyone over for barbecue at their house in Durango. Brad, a professional percussionist, gave us a concert in the music room on his new baby grand piano - from Duke Ellington to Mozart! He also threw in some music history.

We finally lit that joint Brad gave us. I believe his suggestion to the little-experienced to take only a couple of tokes was perhaps over-cautious, as not much happened. We had a few giggles and three hours later, some tears...suspiciously past the statute of limitations, I imagine!

We were telling each other how much each individual sister means to us... Sister Love!

What a time we had.

By the way, Dorothy and Bill have been in their cabin practically year-round. They stay in town usually once a week, but otherwise, have a fire in the fireplace and such views as this.

Donna, Larry, Janet and I drove back to Denver, having lunch in a different town altogether en route! We had a rollicking Mexican dinner with Jerry and Janet that evening. Next morning: Donna and Larry's flight back to DC and my flight to Miami, where I would meet up with Newton and our kids for a Caribbean cruise.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Click on left arrows below for Archive Dispatch titles.

Blog Archive