May 6 – Leaving Bridget in Aurora with Dave and his girlfriend, Kacie, I made my getaway to Evergreen, up in the mountains west of Denver, for a two-day visit with ProofreadNow’s marketing director, Conni Eversull, and her family – husband Kevin, son Brian, and grandkids Caitlin and Liam. Off I-70, a series of winding roads take me by Evergreen Lake, a glimpse of downtown and up through tree country to the Eversull’s. It’s beautiful, majestic country out here among the blue spruce and pines.
Conni and Liam meet me as I pull into their driveway and we head out to the backyard, where Kevin is putting the finishing touches on a pulley system for the kids’ tree house. As we’re admiring his handiwork, Terri Porter and her son, Kaden, show up with a bottle of wine in hand. Terri’s in the proofreading trenches with me at ProofreadNow, and I am delighted to meet her and put a face to her name. From pulley construction to dinner prep, Kevin’s moved on to grilling steaks duty, Conni’s in the kitchen getting the rest of our Sunday dinner put together, the kids are entertaining themselves, and Terri and I are shooed into the family room to make the most of cocktail hour. Every day can be a margarita day. From drinks it’s on to dinner, and Conni and Kevin have put on a feast fit for a king and his entourage, and so goes the evening – full of food, drinks, laughter and talk. The hours fly by, and soon enough Terri and Kaden have to leave – it’s a school day tomorrow – and while Brian puts Caitlin and Liam to bed, Conni and I sit down at the kitchen table and swap stories over coffee.
May 7 – It’s a snow day! Up here in the mountains you can expect all sorts of weather, but still, it’s May.
I’m the last one up, and by that time, Kevin and Brian are long gone to work and the kids are finishing up their breakfast. After delivering Liam to daycare, Conni puts in a few hours of work, and I do the same. Our reward is the afternoon off – lunch in town followed by drive-by sightseeing in the neighborhood.
Far from the madding crowd, the town of Evergreen has an Old West feel to it, complete with its own saloon. I half expect to run into a bunch of ranch hands as Conni, Caitlin and I walk through the front door of the Little Bear Saloon for lunch, but it’s a quiet Monday. It’s also 2012 – ranchers are part of Evergreen’s past; its present has more to do with skiers coming in for a night of drinking with the locals after a day on the slopes. The place is dripping with decor …
We peek into the stores in town, stop for a takeaway coffee, and head off to the hills, up to see where the rich people have their homes, or maybe it’s their second homes, where they can escape from Denver on weekends. If you’re the escaping kind, Evergreen is the perfect destination – ski country, mountain views, a lake, friendly locals, and not a care in the world. The squirrels like it too (especially if you have Conni feeding you peanuts) …
Back home, Caitlin and I get to play Barbies before dinner, and once our bellies are full, the kids and I retire to the family room for more Barbies and building Lego cities for Liam’s cars and trucks. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a chance to play with young kids and I’m into it with gusto … my favorite: getting down on the floor on my back, knees bent, feet on the floor, arms stretched out; first Caitlin leans her midsection into my calves, grabs hold of my hands and I take her soaring (OK, not actually soaring, but it is upward movement) and down for a landing. “Do it again, do it again!” Liam’s turn, “Do it again, do it again!” I cry uncle after a couple dozen flights, and we’re back to cars and trucks and dress-up before bedtime.
And speaking of kids, South Park’s Trey Parker lived in nearby Conifer and attended Evergreen High School in the late ’80s. A lot of those early South Park episodes are based on his experiences at EHS. I’ll have to go back and check them out.