Move to the mountains set Smith’s path
EAGLE COUNTY – The boom still echoes.After World War II, millions of returning military people made a lot of babies. Those kids – born between 1946 and 1964 – made up the Baby Boom generation, the biggest, loudest, and, some say, most self-obsessed generation to ever move through a time line.The first members of that generation turn 60 this year. We’ve asked locals who were born in 1946 to talk a bit about their lives by answering a few questions. The first person to respond was Sandy Smith of Vail.
Birthday: Dec. 2, 1946
I ended up in Vail because, after bumming around the country for a couple of years I knew I wanted to live in the mountains. I was living in Denver at the time (1974) and knew I could find work and a place to live in Vail.
It’s difficult to pick only three major turning points. Some turning points you recognize as such when they are happening. Others, you realize their significance in retrospect. The three turning points I chose are the former kind, the kind you realize are changing you even as they occur.• Moving from Minnesota to Montana when I was 14. I had never moved more than two blocks before, and I had never had to make friends. We all had just grown up together. It was difficult for me, especially being a teenager. But the move really broadened my horizons and it also introduced me to the mountains. The mountains evoked an attraction for me, a pull that has lasted all my life.• The death of my father when I was 24. The death of someone close to you, a parent, a sibling, a spouse, really brings home your sense of mortality. So it was for me. I was a hippie and a Buddhist at the time of my father’s death. He had always supported me in whatever I chose, and his loss hit me hard. I think it was Oscar Wilde who said (and this is a paraphrase) “I know that everyone has to die some time. I just thought that an exception would be made in my case.” That had been my attitude until my father died and I came face to face with the fact that death cannot be avoided.• My return to my Christian roots when I was 48. At the time I was propelled back to church, I had been a follower of Ram Dass, the ’60s guru who had been a cohort of Timothy Leary’s in the LSD experiments. Several things converged to make me take the first step back: A conversation with a cousin who had moved to Denver in which she commented about how much she missed her church back in Minnesota, especially with Easter coming up, her favorite holiday. Then I attended a weekend workshop in Aspen that was led by Ram Dass. He told a story about his guru, Neem Karoli Baba, saying to Westerners who came to see him, “What are you doing here? Christ is your guru.”
I had heard that story more than once before, but this time it felt like maharaji was asking me that question. Finally, I read an article in the Vail Daily about a new minister coming to the Presbyterian Church in Minturn. I had been raised Presbyterian, so I decided to check it out. When I walked in the door of that little church, it felt like a homecoming. I was moved to tears by the prayers, the familiar hymns, and the sermon spoke directly to my heart. I have been going to church every Sunday since then. My friends may not be able to see the change in me, but there is such a huge difference in how I feel in my very center of being. Knowing who I am, and whose I am, brings me a calm and a quiet joy that is always present.
I am looking forward to retirement! .
Undoubtedly make the same mistakes all over again.
E-mail reporter Scott N. Miller, email@example.comVail Daily, Vail, Colorado
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