High Park Fire survivor’s pie nets $1,000 at benefit
RIST CANYON — When is a pie worth $1,000?
When it’s sold at a fundraiser for the all-volunteer fire department that fought the High Park fire for three weeks in June.
Eight of the firefighters lost their homes in the blaze that charred more than 87,284 acres and burned 259 homes. Larry Monesson is one of those firefighters.
When Monesson and his wife, Barb, returned to their Whale Rock home, all that was left of their 35-year-old house, cabin and carpentry workshop were pieces of Larry’s charred woodcarvings and “these little brown nubbins coming up,” Barb Monesson said. “It was a moonscape.”
They carried bottled water to the tender shoots, encouraged to see signs of life struggling up through the scorched earth. By last week, the rhubarb plant that a neighbor had given them 30 years ago had shot up enough stalks to make a pie.
That’s when Larry Monesson and Gene Michaud, one of the organizers of the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department’s annual festival, hatched a plan: Barb would make a pie, and they would sell it during the Richard Schmid Fine Art Auction, the department’s largest fundraiser.
“I tell you, since the fire I forgot how to cook. I didn’t even remember how to make pie dough,” Barb Monesson said.