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Thursday, March 5, 2015

We must like the cold.

We were young and adventurous.  I had disappointed my parents and left college half way through my sophomore year to move to a tiny town in Southern Colorado with my older boyfriend, now husband.  We were doing environmental work.  At the time it was the most important work that I could have done.  Looking back it seems very futile.

We were living on a historic ranch, one settled by Spaniards when that part of Colorado still flew the Mexican flag.  I was learning how to cook something out of nothing for armies of family and visitors and my boyfriend was learning all about cattle and farming.  There was half a finished house on the ranch that, prior to us moving into one of the only finished rooms, was a mouse castle.

It was February and we moved the futon I had purchased for my dorm room into the single insulated room.  We piled on the sleeping bags we owned as well as those appropriated from my parents and snuggled up.  We occasionally turned on the space heater but not often because of the cost and the fire hazard.

Culebra Peak (14,053 ft.)  sits just East of
San Luis, CO.  It is the southern most
14,000 peak in Colorado.
The 8000 ft San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado gets cold in the winter.  There are strings of days with nighttime temperatures dipping to twenty below zero.  To compound the cold, the wind blows from about November through June turning those twenty below nights much colder.

One morning I woke up to find my head all the way under the covers.  "Brrr" I thought, "it must have gotten really cold last night".  On cold nights it is hard to get out of bed when you are in a warm house let alone in a room without heat and the door to the frigid Colorado winter WIDE open.  During the night, unbeknownst to us, the door had blown open as a squall came through.  Once we realized what had happened we closed the door, shaking our heads at our own ignorance and bundled up to walk to the main house for something warm to drink.

The ranch was owned by a retired elementary principal.  He was also a WWII veteran who survived such battles as Iwo Jima.  Corpus was a character and we loved and respected him.  He did not mince words. As we walked in his only comment was, "you must like the cold."

3 comments:

  1. LOL! I love the way you snuck in the open door and punch line of your story. I could feel the cold of that morning and see the old ranch owner just shaking his head at two young people. Well done.

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  2. LOL! I love the way you snuck in the open door and punch line of your story. I could feel the cold of that morning and see the old ranch owner just shaking his head at two young people. Well done.

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  3. What an extraordinary experience! I argue against it being futile - think of the education, just in these lines, "I was learning how to cook something out of nothing for armies of family and visitors and my boyfriend was learning all about cattle and farming." The innocence and naivete of youth is amazing - love that the door blew open and you kept sleeping!

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