Carnes: Despite turmoil in the world, here in Happy Valley, life could be worse (column) |

Carnes: Despite turmoil in the world, here in Happy Valley, life could be worse (column)

The sun has been shining, the mountain is muddy, the grass is turning green, flowers are blooming and, of course, it’s probably snowing while you’re reading these words. Such is life amongst our Rocky Purple Mountain Majesties.

Another end to another winter season, this one perhaps a bit more challenging than others, especially from a financial point of view, yet still a success because we’re able to live here through it all. Not to begrudge those who do not, but hey, that’s their problem.

We hoped for abundant snowfall, but it only came in brief spurts. We hoped for lower temperatures to keep what little snow we had, but it, too, only came in brief spurts. We hoped for guests to show up in droves in spite of both, but they only came at the annually designated times and not so much in between.

Life could be worse.

Yet through it all, we persevered as a community, each of us performing our own personal version of balance between work and play, with some balanced a lot more in one direction than the other. It all depends upon one’s perspective, forced or not.

Even with the uniqueness of our locale, I like to think of us as just a normal part of America, albeit a more expensive, tougher to make a decent living part but still a part nonetheless.

Nothing drove the point home stronger than the memorial for the beautiful — inside and out — Louise Hoyt, who sadly succumbed to a 20-year battle with cancer a few weeks ago. A touching celebration of her life, my wife and I recognized nine out of every 10 faces in the crowd, proving, at least to me, the solidarity of our small town resort community.

We come together when we should, divide over local issues like typical neighbors and, for the most part, actually like one another, although like every spot on the planet we have our fair share of crackpots, but they’re easy to ignore. Just poke fun of ’em once or twice, point out their glaring hypocrisy on an issue, and pretty soon they crawl back into their insecure holes.

Although outside of our little happy bubble we once again have to face the prospect of yet another war in the Middle East and probably a few more years of a national crackpot, we can relish in the fact that here in Happy Valley, our biggest concern at the moment is the water table for this summer.

Yes, we have idiotic bomb threats in Minturn and at a school, mental issues with those tossing themselves in trashcans and an apparently never-ending debate over a multitude of control issues in Eagle-Vail, but water is the real topic for the summer.

Will there be enough for those wishing to have green lawns?

How soon will a ban on campfires be announced, and how long will it last?

Will the golf courses stay green, and will guests still come if they’re not?

Either way, aspens are budding, parking is again free (except overnight), going-out-of-business sales are about to begin, trips to Mexico are being booked and property taxes are being paid.

Seriously, life could be worse.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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