Opinion | Bruce Butler: ‘Twas the day after Christmas
This is my last 2022 column. I want to thank Summit Daily News for the opportunity to share my thoughts on local issues, concerns and politics. I also want to thank many of you who have sent emails, notes and comments. My goal from the beginning has been to spark conversation and appeal for respectful discourse among family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues — and to have a little fun doing it.
Compared to 2020 and 2021, this year was a positive improvement as we have put COVID-19 hysteria and face masks behind us, local businesses and schools have been able to return to more normal routines, and monsoonal rains kept Summit County out of high wildfire danger all summer long. Of course, life is full of curveballs and things do not always work out according to plan, like Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. Other things are completely predictable, like the Colorado Rockies finishing in last place.
The past year has been a little sobering for me, as several friends and acquaintances have battled cancer, lost loved ones, and rallied to overcome various challenges. Fortunately, many have had positive outcomes, but it is important to not take blessings for granted.
Last week, I had the pleasure of spending many hours sitting in traffic. After several hours sitting still, I started to get a little bit silly, so I decided to have a bit of seasonal fun. To end 2022, here is my take on “The Night Before Christmas,” with a Summit County twist:
‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the county ski lifts were turning, but the traffic wasn’t moving, not even a bus.
Some Texans were blaring Jerry Jeff Walker and the neighbors were hoping the sheriff soon would be there.
The hippies were groovin’ while visions from mushrooms danced in their heads.
And momma in her Melanzana and I in my Sorels had just finished shoveling from a cold winter storm,
When down the road there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my couch to see what was the matter?
Away to Facebook, I was on it in a flash, the evil neighbor’s short-term renters were drinking beers and smoking hash.
The moon on the faces of the renters passed out in the snow gave some relief for the neighbors below,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But the chief of police and eight officers drawing near.
With an electric police car so lively and quick; I knew in a moment the HOA would have a fit.
More rapid than the line at the post office, the officers they came,
The HOA president cussed and shouted, but the renters taunted him by name.
Now, Pali! Now, Mozart! Now, Rosie’s Run! On Schoolmarm! On to 4 O’clock Run!
To the top of the mountain! To hike the East Wall!
Now ski away! Drive away! Go away all!
As the traffic volume after noon begins to rise, the pile of cars will mount to the sky.
So up to the tunnel the visitors they flew, with bald tires and no chains too!
And then in a twinkling, a car was on its roof. The Summit Fire ambulance was on route.
As I drew in my head, there was no turning around. To a grinding halt the traffic it came.
We sat for hours wishing we could watch a football game.
Over at the dispensary—their speech a little slow and their eyes so blurry! They were craving Chipotle and coffee with sugar.
They spoke not a word, skipped out on work, and hiked to a yurt.
With Christmas now past, and the presents all open, there’s an excuse to party because the new year is coming!
To the brewery they sprang, to their friends gave a “Cheers,” and downed a few pints just like the stock market this year.
I heard the Enviros exclaim, as they turned out three lights, let us ban single use wrapping paper and all airplane flights.
Gender and pronouns for all, and to all a good grief!
Cheers, Summit County. Have a happy, healthy and meaningful 2023. Remember, we are fortunate to live in one of the best places in the world.
Bruce Butler's column "Common Sense Conversations" publishes biweekly on Tuesdays in the Summit Daily News. Butler is a former mayor and council member in Silverthorne, where he has lived for 20 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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