Biff America column: ‘Extremely right wing’
He came running toward me with an ax.
We left our car at a trailhead about four hours earlier on the Leadville side of Independence Pass. We skied up a jeep road to make some turns off a small peak about 2 miles up the trail. At day’s end, we headed back down the road toward our car.
As we returned to the trailhead, I saw ours was not the only vehicle. About 50 feet from our small car, which was parked in a plowed section, there was a full-sized pickup buried in snow almost up to its doors.
I saw the guy before he saw me. He was in his mid-30s, fit looking and dressed warmly. He was trying to shovel out his truck with the flat side of an ax. When he saw me skiing toward my car, he ran at me with a look of relief.
“Hey, I’m happy to see you.” He held up his ax with about a cup of snow on it and said, “You wouldn’t have a real shovel in your car would you?”
I told him that we had one in our car and each of us had one in our packs. I added that we’d be happy to help.
As I mentioned, we had parked in a plowed spot. There was room for more cars there, but this guy looked to have burrowed into an area of soft snow that might have been part of the summer parking lot but wasn’t cleared in wintertime.
‘HE JUST DOESN’T THINK’
I opened our car, got out a shovel and handed it to him. Then I unzipped my pack and got out the avalanche shovel I had in there — but I had to ask, “Why’d you park in the unplowed spot? Was the plowed area full when you got here?”
“Because sometimes he just doesn’t think.”
The voice came from behind me from a young lady who was dressed like the guy and similar in age. In her hand she held a coffee cup full of snow. They were trying to shovel out a huge truck with an ax and a coffee cup.
NOT AS CLUELESS AS THEY APPEARED
Turns out they had been there for almost an hour waiting for someone to show up. I was soon to learn they weren’t as clueless and unprepared as they appeared. They had spent the day snowmobiling down at St. Elmo but had left their trailer, with snow machines and shovels, at the base of the pass just to take a quick drive to where the road stops being plowed.
That all made sense, but what didn’t was why he decided to ignore the cleared area and plow his truck into deep snow. As if reading my thoughts, his wife said, “I love this man but sometimes he’s not too bright.”
Introductions were made — Carol and Pete were from Colorado Springs and, coincidently, had spent the night at the same cluster of cabins where Ellie and I stayed the evening before. They were a pleasant couple, confident, funny and grateful.
The four of us made short work of the shoveling job.
To say they were appreciative is an understatement. They tried to pay us, offered to buy us lunch in BV and Carol actually hugged me and said, “Thanks for bailing out my lunkhead husband.”
They were just about to pull away when I noticed both headlights and turn signals were caked with snow. So I went to the front and brushed off the lights, license plate and grille. As I brushed the bumper I saw a sticker that read “Extremely Right Wing.”
Before they drove away, I approached the window and said, “Pete, don’t do anything else crazy today. I think Carol has reached the end of her rope.” She leaned across and said, “You got that right. I’d make him cook me dinner tonight but I’m afraid he burn our house down.”
WE’RE NOT THAT DIFFERENT
Extremely right wing. I wonder if they had guessed I was extremely left wing. I bet that other than our chosen labels we had much in common. In my opinion, there is less difference between those of us who define ourselves as one or the other than the pundits, commentators and politicos who profess to speak for us would have us believe.
While driving back down the pass, Ellie and I were trying to find places where she and I and Pete and Carol might agree or differ. Sure, we might conflict in our opinions of our current president. I would also speculate we might have differing thoughts on our former president. But, again, many of those opinions come from the people we read, listen to or watch in the news. It behooves those people to keep us suspicious and angry.
In the media and in the halls of government there are extremists on both sides. But out in the real world — though, granted, there are some weirdos — mostly there are just folks trying to enjoy their lives, balance work and fun, and keep from getting stuck in the morass. Sometimes we need reminding, we are people, not bumper stickers.
Jeffrey Bergeron, aka Biff America, can be seen on TV-8-Summit and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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