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Summit Up


Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that hasn’t been burned out, smoked out or carried off from the High Country by less-than-deadline-sympathetic firefighters – yet.

We don’t know if any of you readers have experienced this, but our phone has been ringing consistently with relatives on the other end wondering if we’ve been consumed by the wildfires. “No?” they say (and then to their significant other while poorly covering the phone receiver), “You can keep the good sheets on the guest bed, they won’t be needing a place to stay.”

Apparently, our regular summer phenomenon of forest regeneration is making the nightly news reports around the country. How could it not? Have you seen the Denver TV stations calling it “Hell on Earth”? We’d complain more about their exaggerative tendencies, but we’re so sick of seeing “The War on Terror” and “America Fights Back” that just about any alternative is an improvement.

If you get sick of answering relatives’ calls, here are a few suggestions on little fibs you can tell them to make the conversation a little more fun:

n If they ask, “Have they said how the fires started?”, you can tell them about Colorado going wild over World Cup soccer. Say, we don’t really understand soccer enough to know when to root for the U.S. team, so we’re just rioting and starting fires at random.

n If they ask, “Is the fire close to you?”, tell them, “Speak up! I can’t hear you over all this crackling and popping.”

n If they ask, “Is there a lot of smoke?”, answer that you haven’t touched reefer since college.

n When they say, “No, I mean smoke from the fire!”, say, “Oh, that. Well, the governor is describing it as a nuclear winter, what with all the ash fallout, but that’s just to keep tourists away – it really is winter snow, but the locals just don’t want to share it.”

n If they ask, “Are you sure you’re safe?”, just tell them you’ll be fine as soon as the bathtub’s full and your roommate gets back from Wal-Mart with the snorkels.

n And, of course, no matter what they ask, tell them you’re in danger, you’re in trouble, you’re thirsty and destitute, so send plenty of beer and money.

And if you’re lucky, your relatives will laugh at you when you tell them all this (as opposed to ours, who muttered something about “altitude sickness,” “damn hippies” and “no place to hide from the fires of Hades,” before they hung up).


Happy Birthday! to Summit Stage driver James Pecor. We didn’t get a photo of him to go along with this, but we wanted you to know. Just to be safe, say “Happy birthday” to every driver of every bus you ride today. They’ll appreciate, even if they’re not James.


The Corporate Bigwigs want us to remind you that The Rotary Club of Summit County is conducting an Internet Auction during the month of June. There’s a ton of stuff, with bids closing each day at 7 p.m. You can search for items by category, or just see what is closing today, tomorrow or the next day. The auction is at This year, in addition to supporting Summit County Rotary’s many youth-oriented programs, proceeds also will also go to Rotary’s Polio Plus program to eradicate polio from planet Earth.

So check it out, y’all.


And lastly, Paul called and wanted to send out an Angel Alert!! Angel Alert!! Seems he lost his Swiss Army knife. Fortunately, he inscribed his phone and post office box number on it, and whoever found it took it to the post office, where the staff put it in his box. We love honesty ourselves, and that’s why we’re going to put a wing-and-halo set in the P.O. box of this angel.

Paul also had a Scum Alert!! Scum Alert!! for our automated operator, which entangled him in the labyrinthian nightmare of digital never-never land on Sunday. We’d forward his complaint to the Corporate Bigwigs, but there’s no guarantee (as Paul discovered) that the message will get there.


It’s Wednesday, and we’ve got a fire burning inside us like an underground coal seam. Let us know what’s burning you at, fax at (970) 668-0755 or just sing campfire-marshmallow roasting songs on the voicemail at (970) 668-3998 ext. 237.

We’re off at the Tiki Bar putting out our fires …

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