‘Reverse angel’ parking and other reasons to enjoy the holidays

It’d be easy in 2011, as it has been for the past few years, to be the Grinch who stole Christmas.

If your cup of cheer is half empty, there are good reasons for that. The economy is still questionable.  American soldiers are still in harm’s way in Afghanistan. Our holiday gift from Congress, keeping the lights on a few more months, again comes with conditions that guarantee argument. Perhaps you’re unhappy about recent events at City Hall.

If you’re the glass-half-full type, there’s justification for your positive outlook as well.

The last contingent of thousands of our soldiers exited Iraq over the weekend, bringing a formal end to that ill-conceived war effort. Powderhorn opened with more than a foot of fresh snow to greet local skiers last week and new owners who’ve done significant upgrades and promise more. There are encouraging signs the local real estate market is stabilizing, though those of us who once counted on a large chunk of equity might still want to avoid an appraisal a while longer. 

Too many of us have succumbed to the temptation to let those sorts of external events shape our attitudes and our lives. Focus on those sorts of issues comes with the territory when your written address is the editorial page.

Perhaps we should all chill a bit, and I’m not talking about the weather.

I hope the past week has been as good for you and your attitude, whether you’re on the “Merry Christmas” or the “Happy Holidays” side of the conundrum that’s added one more bit of stress to the season, as it’s been for mine.

Since last Tuesday, I’ve enjoyed a jaunt back and forth to Crested Butte in the old Land Cruiser, basking in the warmth of the newly-installed heaters that, in addition to providing comfort, proved once again that even an aging recovering politician can retain some rudimentary mechanical skills. I’ve helped make someone else’s Christmas a little better with the $100 that the Grand Junction Lions Club gives each of its members in its annual “Random Acts of Kindness” program.

“Mrs. Christmas” reversed course and there we were, finally decorating the outside of the family abode despite her pledge to wind down that practice as lights burned out and were trashed once our kids left home.  And yes, there’s even something holiday-like in the certainty of being back up on the roof a few days later replacing still another string that’s gone bad.

The fact my grandmother learned toffee making from Chet Enstrom decades ago found us melting pounds of butter and chocolate, watching for “blue smoke” and listening for almonds to “crack” as we stirred the hot and sticky mixture and spread it over the cold marble slab purchased for just that purpose during the final sale at John Zellner’s shop. We’re no threat to Doug and Jamie Simons down at Enstroms, but things just taste better when you have some “sweat equity” in them.

We’re catching up on friends via the annual deluge of Christmas cards, but one of those missives anxiously awaited every year arrived just last week courtesy of Ted Ciavonne, Craig Roberts and crew at Ciavonne, Roberts and Associates. 

“Wishing you a special parking space wherever you go, regardless of the direction you are heading”  the message, cleverly illustrated as usual, said. It brought a welcome chuckle to the guy on the losing side of the vote when “reverse angel” parking was approved along Seventh Street.

There’s been a bit more sparkle in her eyes and added spring in the steps of the mother of my children as she prepared the house for the arrival Sunday night of our son. She’ll enjoy the week he’ll spend with family, though I suspect putting him on the plane back to South Bend on Christmas morning might not be the most pleasant of holiday events. That one empty space among the 20 or so seats around the dinner tables at our house on Christmas day will be obvious, as will the two that might have been filled by my daughter and son-in-law, whose schedules won’t allow a trip home this Christmas.

But there’s ample reason to look at our cups of holiday cheer as half full rather than half empty. I hope it’s also true for you.

Merry Christmas!

Jim Spehar hopes you enjoy your holiday season.  Christmas greetings are welcome at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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