The week that was: Aspen fluff, bus drivers and George Carlin |

The week that was: Aspen fluff, bus drivers and George Carlin

Special to the Daily
Summit County, CO
Keely Brown

As the Aspen fluff descends gently upon us, the sound of one solid round of sneezing can be heard throughout the land, signaling that summer has finally made its way to the High Country.

For those of you with runny noses and runny eyes (I sound like a decongestant commercial here), I sympathize. Nearly everyone I know is suffering from what I like to call the “Aspen Fluff Flu.”

I am one of the lucky ones. When I lived back east, I was the queen of allergy sufferers.

As a teenager I spent four years having shots every couple of days. When they finally drew up the list of trees and plants I was allergic to, it was several pages long, and I don’t think that anything that sprang from the Earth was excluded.

For many years, I was convinced that Providence had made the outdoors as one great trap for my immune system.

But when I came to Colorado three years ago, my lifelong allergies suddenly vanished, as if they never existed.

I always knew the air was healthier out here, but this is an allergy-free paradise to me. I even seem to be immune to Aspen fluff.

But I do sympathize. I really do.

I spent more than 40 years going through what everyone else seems to be going through now, and my Southern upbringing, heavily tinged with guilt, makes me feel as if I ought to go and make a Kleenex run for everyone.

Or would hot tea be better?


It’s time for kudos to the folks who handle the hoards of summertime visitors we get up here.

In particular, I have to mention the Summit Stage drivers, who are some of the friendliest, most even-tempered people I encounter daily ” particularly during the high-season months.

Summit Stage drivers actually treat their passengers as human beings, and even seem to like driving us around “a trait you don’t often see in the big city, where I come from.

Yesterday on the Frisco-to-Breck bus, our driver got on board and called out, “Okay, where does everyone want to go?”

One lone voice answered “Vail.”

It seems such a little thing, but I was having one of those stress-filled days, and this exchange gave me a lift that lasted through the rest of the afternoon.

So kudos to the drivers.


The death of comedian George Carlin this week seemed to send shock waves through the 40-plus late baby boomer generation, of which I am a member.

Somehow, Carlin was one of those people you didn’t think would ever die.

He would always be around, poking fun at all things mistakenly held sacred, and calling us on our human foibles and fears.

In the spirit of his wonderful irreverence for traditional organized religion, here’s how I would like to imagine George Carlin’s first day in Paradise:

SCENE: George Carlin runs up to the Angel Gabriel, who is sitting on a cloud practicing a little air guitar.

George Carlin: Hey, I just hooked up with Lenny Bruce!

Angel Gabriel: Yes, he said he was looking forward to seeing you again.

GC: For some reason, I didn’t think he’d be up here.

Angel G: We hear that about a lot of people. You’d be surprised.

GC: Well … to tell the truth, I didn’t think I’d be up here either. What are the criteria anyway? I mean, is there really a hell?

Angel G: Oh, yes.

GC: Full of fire and brimstone and all that jazz?

Angel G: Oh no. It’s a place filled with people that have no sense of humor. They just sit and scowl at each other all day.

GC: And they’re stuck there for good?

Angel G: Yes, if they choose to be. But if someone suddenly tells a joke or laughs out loud or even cracks a smile, they’re allowed to come up here and join us.

GC: You mean that’s all someone has to do to get into heaven? But isn’t that the easiest thing in the world?

Angel G: (smiling) Like I said before ” you’d be surprised.

If there is an afterlife, it’s going to be a better place with George Carlin there to poke a few holes in the system.

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