Here's something crazy: How does one wind up chasing a professional career in a carefree resort community?
Oh, wait, that's me. What a weirdo.
Confession: I grew up in Hawaii and Southern California. I didn't even leave the coast until I was near 30, and that was just half a day's drive from the Sierra Nevada north of Lake Tahoe.
Snow? Rare, delightful stuff I never sought. I'd skied only once, one afternoon in 1981 or '82. I was nothing but an endless yard sale up high where I didn't belong, last off the mountain near Tahoe, ski patrol grousing about missed beers right behind me at sunset.
And yet I wound up in Vail, this place we drove by on a rainy July night while my wife hissed that Aspen was real and Vail was ... Disneyland, a BS invented town, all gingerbread and other fakery. We were on our way to a job in San Diego County, back to my precious coast after a dozen years in the Midwestern and Back East hinterlands. We're Syracuse fans, if that gives you any clue.
But here we are, where the kids grew up spoiled snowboarding Vail and Beaver Creek. The eldest married up into a truly local family, his high school sweetheart wife born in Vail.
Hey, we get our cred where we can in a town where letters to the editor begin with "I've lived here a gazillion years and I think ...." OK, stop. I have to agree. Right? I mean, in a place where we're all from somewhere else, the natives indeed are rare and special. Or at least the 99 percent of the rest of us nod politely. There's good reason for us to be jealous. I know I am.
Listen, my kids said their high school nonsense ... I'm never coming back, dear God save me from this fate, there's a wide world out there. Blah, blah, blah.
Then they went away and in time reflected: "Ya know, not so bad. ..."
Let's put it this way: I have never had a second's thought about abandoning LA or Honolulu. Or even Santa Barbara, where I lived the better part of eight years, although I think my wife has had a pang or two.
In short, this is a really, really cool place. But that's not why I came here. It was purely professional. Well, and some personal - we were oh so done with big city life, and the wife said the kids need to be from somewhere. Ain't a better place than here.
Truth is, the Vail Daily plays bigger than its Matchbox toy size. We're better than we deserve to be, thanks to the bounty of our resources, ridiculously high readership and range of issues, events and characters to cover. Kids, knuckleheads, brainiacs, celebrities and still-very-much-living pioneers make this a special place.
I grabbed the best job in journalism with this post. And I get to live in that proverbial cabin in the woods less than a half-hour from the office to do it, while providing my children the classic upbringing. I mean, we got phone calls when friends saw the eldest speeding as a teen. How cool is that?
Talk about serendipity. I came for the career and got seduced into a life.
Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2920.