The sun’s out, the hill is open, so give thanks |

The sun’s out, the hill is open, so give thanks

Scott N. Miller
Scott Miller/Vail DailyGaylen Johnson is thankful for her 15-month-old daughter Madalyn.

EAGLE COUNTY ” Dan Ryan had apparently thought out his thankfulness.

Ryan, sitting in the sun and surfing the Web on the deck at Loaded Joe’s in Avon, had a fairly quick response when asked what he was thankful for.

“I’m thankful for my teeth, which I can eat my turkey with,” Ryan said. “I’m thankful for my oven, so I can cook the turkey. I’m thankful for my discount at the liquor store so I can buy wine for dinner, and I’m thankful for friends I can spend the day with.”

Most of the folks contacted for this story were thankful for friends, family and health, but there were a few twists thrown in.

Local radio icon Tony Mauro sent his love and thankfulness for his wife, Mindy and son Alec. He gave thanks for a long career in the valley.

“I’m also thankful that my son’s orthodontics bill won’t be as big as we originally thought,” he added.

At Pazzo’s in Avon, a small group of friends were gathered around the bar.

Heather Schneiber and her husband had come for a visit from Las Vegas.

“I used to live here, so I’m thankful to be here with all my friends,” she said.

One of those friends, Gaylen Johnson, was at Pazzo’s with her 15-month-old daughter Madalyn. It’s easy to be thankful with a happy, healthy infant daughter on your lap.

On a sunny fall day in the Vail Valley, it can be hard to narrow down how much there is to be thankful for. That was the case with Heidi Hanssen.

“I just got off the mountain,” Hanssen said. “I have friends to ski with and family here, so I’m thankful.”

The beauty of this place struck many of those asked about their lists of things to be thankful for.

“I’m living and working in a beautiful place that sells a great black pint of Guinness,” said Kerren Hertzler, a bartender at Finnegan’s Wake in Avon.

“I’ve been on the mountain nine times already,” Alex Wood said. “I haven’t injured myself, and I’m thankful for not having a girlfriend during ski season. You can’t be locked down.”

The best thankfulness story, though, came from Jeff Cerovich, one of the sales people at the Vail Plaza Club.

“I’m thankful for my family, and for God’s blessings on us, particularly my father-in-law,” Cerovich said.

On Halloween, Cerovich’s father-in-law answered the door at his home in Jacksonville, Fla. As he was bent down to hand out some candy, one of the three teens at his door shot him in the head with a .22 caliber pistol.

“He stayed on his feet long enough to scare them away,” Cerovich said. “And, except for losing his sight in one eye, he’s going to be fine. If the bullet would have gone a quarter-inch in any direction, he’d have been killed.

“We’re very thankful he’s still with us.”

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO

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