Park Hyatt’s annual senior luncheon concentrates wisdom in Beaver Creek |

Park Hyatt’s annual senior luncheon concentrates wisdom in Beaver Creek

The Annual Eagle County seniors luncheon is seen underway at Beaver Creek's Park Hyatt on Monday. Entertainment included live music, dancing and bingo.
Townsend Bessent | |

BEAVER CREEK — The secret to a long marriage is no secret, says Amadeo Gonzales, who was celebrating 69 years married to Delores on Monday.

“Always agree with your wife,” Amadeo said smiling.

The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek’s annual senior luncheon was Monday, which makes it the biggest concentration of wisdom and sage advice in our spiral arm of the universe.

Amadeo and Delores Gonzales were there, celebrating their 69th wedding anniversary, Nov. 30, 69 years ago. We’ll let you do your own math.

“It’s nice to be here,” Delores said, grinning as she leaves off the obvious punchline that “It’s nice be anywhere.”

They’ve lived in Minturn all that time. Amadeo worked the Gilman mine for 30 years, or maybe 40 years. Anyway, a long time. He turns 93 on Dec. 21.

They have five children, a daughter Lorraine Vasquez and her four younger brothers.

“They’re all our favorites,” Delores said.

The key to staying together really is staying together, Delores said.

“Nowadays, people don’t want to endure,” Delores said. “I’m very thankful we have.”

Partnership and equality is the key, Delores said.

“I’m not the boss and you’re not the boss. We’re equals,” Delores said to Amadeo.

Equal, she said, does not mean they’re exactly the same.

“We disagree on some things. That’s only natural,” she said, as Amadeo smiled and agreed, sticking with his “agree-with-your-wife” advice.

Walt and Jan Hensrud were at the luncheon for their rookie appearance. Others have been doing this a decade and a half.

We’re pretty sure it’s a decade and a half. We thought it was the Delightful Dozen, but last year Gloria Reed said it was her 14th, and In Gloria We Trust.

Park Hyatt General Manager Robert Purdy started in the hotel business as a busboy and waiter. Muscle memory served him well Monday, as he served the seniors their dinners and schlepped away dirty dishes.

“The Park Hyatt loves to do this. Our team gets so excited about this,” Purdy said. “We have so many volunteers that I have to cut it off.”

Tony Gulizia and Brian Loftus played the best jazz versions of Christmas songs ever performed.

Helmut Fricker played the Beer Belly Polka, then the Beer Barrel Polka, then a bunch of other stuff you know the words to, and then he told a bunch of great jokes, such as:

“We’re supposed to be flesh and bone, but after last night I’m half Scotch and half water.”

“I know a guy who moves so slow it takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes.”

“A friend told me, ‘You look like a million bucks.’ I said, ‘You’ve never seen a million bucks.’ He said, ‘Yeah, you look like something I’ve never seen before.’”

There’s none of this fashionably-late business. The seniors start showing up early because they can’t wait to get the party started.

And, it’s a really good party.

The room was packed with seniors — laughing, singing, doing the Chicken Dance while Helmut, Gulizia and Loftus cranked it up.

Eagle County has three senior centers, Eagle, Minturn and Basalt. Some ride the bus, some drive. They get there any way they can with the possible exception of parachuting in. Monday’s cloud cover was too low or some of them might have.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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