The Idle American

Looketh unto the hills ...

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Waxing biblical comes easily when one visits beautiful Colorado. If we “looketh up”--as the psalmists did--we can do them one better on the topic of elevation. In Psalm 121, they “lifted their eyes unto the hills” from which “cameth” their strength. How about gazing even higher--yea, toward the mountains, for relaxation and refreshment? (Colorado leads the nation with 53 peaks towering more than 14,000 feet, well ahead of Alaska’s 29.)

On April’s second weekend, my wife and I flew to Denver, then drove upward to picturesque Mt. Crested Butte. It is one of the numerous Colorado meccas that induces skiers to salivate, dreaming of silken slopes by day and cozy fireplaces by night.

As we ascended, masses of vacationers drove downward, some of them with tear-stained cheeks. After all, they were returning to the workaday world and income tax reporting deadlines. With no “regular” working hours, we were merely seeking a quiet condo to edit a book….

*****

There was more to get biblical about as the ski season ended. What happened provided evidence that not only does it “rain on the just and unjust alike” (Matthew 5:45), the same may also be true of snow. After a season of “spotty” snowfall, the skies opened with one of the best snow blankets of the season in most locales.

Guess who benefited? First, resort workers throughout the state applauded wildly. Finally, “skis were on the other foot,” so to speak. With the season officially over for tourists, most of the employees on the slopes took advantage of “day after” benefits. On the magical day after season’s end, the slopes were theirs alone for free skiing, grand rewards for their five months or so of hard work.

Also rewarded were those of us, comfy indoors with roaring fireplaces, gazing gratefully at the grandeur. It was a scene Norman Rockwell would have loved to paint--and then choose for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post magazine. Pipe in his mouth and an easel by his side, he might well have mused, “Yep, this one rates a cover.” Truly, many benefited from one of the very best snowfalls of the season. The late snow was the “cherry on top,” except for all those skiers who had to get back home….

*****

Back in Texas, we swung by Tyler to pick up our rescue dogs and visit their “hosts” during our respite in Colorado. Our arrival to the home of daughter Jana, son-in-law Kyle and “grands” Juliana, 15, and Kedren, 11, coincided with the fitting of Juliana’s first eyeglasses.

It was in this setting that “little brother” was able to launch a line toward her that he’d heard many times.

Jana, the youngsters’ home school teacher, is a firm disciplinarian, but softens many “corrections” with an “if-you-weren’t-so-cute” line, usually followed by something like, “You’d get in even more trouble.” It is usually directed toward “little brother,” but this time she “aimed” it at Juliana….

*****

Upon putting on her eyeglasses for the first time, Juliana flashed her best smile, indeed looking cute, as well as scholarly.

Her mom uttered the old line usually used on Kedren. “Juliana, if you weren’t so cute, I’d.…”

Before she finished, Kedren piped in with this retort: “Look out Juliana. Mom’s about to get tough with you.”…

*****

Our dogs, Sadie and Sailor, were gleeful upon our arrival. Such delight can last for as long as 30 or 40 seconds.

One of them pointed a paw toward feeding bowls, contents of which had been precisely measured twice daily, but with plain dog food only.

The dogs didn’t protest, but eagerly bounded into the car for the two-hour ride home. They knew that upon arrival, their meals would include small portions of meat morsels sneaked from the refrigerator to enhance their dining pleasure. Also, they anticipated a more liberal distribution of doggy treats. Life is good….

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