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Carnes: Shooting 1,100 non-Neanderthals in one day

Last Friday at Vail Health Hospital reminded me of election days long gone, back before we had statewide mail-in ballot elections.

It was kind of like the old Vail Ski Swap, where only locals would show up for Friday night to actually “swap” equipment before all the tourists came the next day or waiting in line for an early or late season Tuesday night concert at the Ford Amphitheater.

While waiting in those lines, we’d see people that we hadn’t seen in years, waving up and down the line, shouting, “Hey …you!” when we couldn’t remember their name, but still happy to see them.



My bride and I arrived at the never-ending “New & Improved!” hospital promptly for our 1:30 appointment, only to find a line snaking its way out to the edges of the parking lot, at first afraid we might miss our time slot.

Instead we were greeted by mask-covered faces saying, “Hi, Richard … Hi Lise!” from neighbors, friends, old co-workers and even a few readers of this very page.



One guy, whose initials are JM (he might not want his name in the paper) was polite enough to let me know he was a customer from back in the Poor Richard days, and had questions concerning Butch Mazzuca and Michael Cacioppo. I told him they were both friends of mine, and Butch is much more likable than he sometimes comes across in the paper, and Michael is …well, he’ll always be Michael.

I saw people I worked with at the old Westin back in the mid-80’s (formerly known as the Cascade, then Hotel Talisa and now the Grand Hyatt), town council members, faces I recognized but was clueless for names, and think we knew about half of the volunteers working diligently to keep the lines moving and everyone smiling.

With wristbands completed, we were swiftly shuffled into one of the old emergency rooms, where memories of raising three boys who spent more than their fair share of time “visiting” flashed before our eyes, two quick jabs, a few dorky photos (you-know-who insisted) with our official vaccination cards, and we were back out in the lobby in minutes, waiting another fifteen to make sure nothing fell off or our skin didn’t turn blue.

The procedural efficiency was truly impressive, the J&J shot felt no different than every other shot I’ve ever had, and we were back out in the car in about 45 minutes.

Wanting to celebrate, we (okay, I … ) stopped for a quick beer on the way home, she drove, and my brother-in-law (who was also vaccinated that day) came over for dinner and a bottle of wine.

Big mistake, in hangover hindsight.

Alka-Seltzer didn’t make a dent in the sudden all-over body aches we both awoke with at 1a.m. Sleep was fleeting, to say the least, and the entirety of Saturday was spent on the couch watching movies I’ve already forgotten.

Dr. Dick’s recommendation for those local’s still waiting their turn: Take two Tylenol before bed, drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic, duh …) and plan to take the next day off.

Being told they were doing 1,400 down in Eagle the same day, at this rate we’ll have all of Eagle County vaccinated in just a few weeks.

So as long as the Neanderthal-thinkers stay out of the way, we just might get past this COVID thing sooner than later.


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