As I write this on Sunday evening, the snow is coming down quite heavily, the Denver Broncos have just locked up a first-round bye in the National Football League playoffs by thumping the Oakland Raiders (always a good thing) for the second time this year, and there isn’t a soul to be seen on the streets of Meeker amid the heavy snow.
It could be considered an idyllic winter night in a small Colorado mountain town. Not one single vehicle did I see moving about on the streets and it is almost like a Christmas carol where everyone, despite it being about 6 p.m. is already home snuggled in front of a fire.
It lends one to be somewhat reflective, and I was feeling a bit reflective of the past year as I remember those days and nights that were not so calm and quiet.
Looking past the extreme cold that cost me one car and sent my other one to intensive care, we had a good winter last year with lots of precipitation that saw the melt-off reach but not go over the banks to any major extent on the White River.
We saw a late-arriving spring as snow continued to cover our nearby mountains until very late spring, then we saw a mostly cool summer without intense humidity or heat, up until after the Meeker Classic. The 2013 event was incredibly hot and humid, making it uncomfortable for nearly all to catch the five days of action for any length of time in one sitting.
After the Meeker Classic in 2014, it continued on with the beautiful days full of sunshine and warm but not-hot days until the second weekend in December, when winter did finally fit in.
In between the doses of winter, Rio Blanco County, by the account of many area residents, had one of its mildest, most-beautiful summers ever. Some rain but not much. Low humidity. A small dose of wind and a lot of pretty nice outdoors-type days. It was a grand summer.
Rangely, Meeker and Rio Blanco County had a number of activities, and each one of these seemingly went off without a hitch, bringing large numbers of residents and area visitors to attend, where fun was noticeably had by all.
The rec centers in both towns kept the local folks hopping.
And there were such events as the Colorado Northwestern Community College Foundation banquet, The Meeker Range Call, the Rangely Fourth of July, the Ride With James Snowmobile Rally, the Rio Blanco County Fair, the White River fishing derby to catch white fish to benefit the Buford School, Rangely’s Septemberfest, the Meeker Sheepdog Classic, Mountain Valley Bank’s Fall Festival, the Meeker OHV Rally, the Rangely Pumpkinfest and Fall Festival, etc. In all, there are too many to mention each one but there were very few weekends when there wasn’t some kind of event planned.
(By the way, I am still trying to find the woman at Rangely’s Septemberfest who made the best tamales I have ever eaten. She was a Rangely woman and her booth was located in the upper left part of Elks Park as far as possible from the car show. I believe she works in some form of a state or county government office. If you read this, call me. I want a lot more of your spicy tamales.)
Throughout the summer, event after event pulled in hundreds of area folks and more than a handful of visitors traveling through. Rio Blanco as well as Rangely and Meeker did themselves proud as hosts to residents and visitors.
Both towns should hold their figurative heads up high because, despite it not being the best of economic years, you did yourselves proud and made a lot of friends from outside the area and outside the state.
We had a long election year this past year, but it all made for an exciting election night. What made it great here is the 81 percent voter turnout and the reality that those who gave a darn and voted won with the majority. That is what makes a democracy and that is what makes this a great county.
One can’t ignore the bad, and there was plenty of that, but the reality is, we are surviving and becoming a tougher country through it all, and it never has been the American way to do just what is easiest.
We have a county to be proud of, service men and women to be proud of and those who serve our towns, counties, states and nation to be proud of. While we may disagree over certain matters, it is with little doubt that we can say, they all tried to do their best for us.
Yes, there were some bumpy roads—as there always are—but for us in Rio Blanco County, overall, it was a darned good year.
Many of us lost loved ones during the past year, but we must know that with life comes death, and we move on. Death means no more suffering, no more intolerances and, hopefully, our lost friends, neighbors and loved ones moved closer to life everlasting.
There is also the hope and comfort that we will see our friends and loved ones again after we move on.
There is also the hope that peace takes a stronger hold on our planet than it has in years and that millions of people, here or abroad, find themselves better off during 2015 than 2014, and that 2015 is filled with good health, happiness and prosperity.
Happy New Year and welcome to 2015!
It keeps snowing and snowing, and as I continue my column on Monday morning, I look at my phone and it tells me it is not going to snow today. Yet, for the second time this weekend I am looking out my window and the sky is filled with snow.
There is about six inches more snow on the ground now than there was 12 hours ago.
We had a white Christmas, it looks like we will have a white New Year’s and so on, for a while yet.
This corner of the state, for the third winter in a row, has an abundance of snow even days before the new year begins.
Snow is a good thing. Wind is not a good thing. Sub-zero temperatures are not a good thing although we haven’t really had much to complain about so far.
Let’s keep hoping that when we all look out our windows we see snow but no wind or nordic temperatures, and this will be a pretty good winter once again.
‘Twas a mighty good thing to see the Broncos stomp the Raiders on Sunday and get a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs.
It was also good to see the New England Patriots falter to the Buffalo Bills. That proves once again that the Patriots are vulnerable—even at home.
The sad thing is that if Denver/Peyton Manning hadn’t had such a dismal showing against the Bengals last weekend and the Broncos had defeated Cincinnati, which they should have, the Broncos would have had the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs by virtue of a better record than the Patriots.
As it is now, the Patriots received the No. 1 seed despite both teams being 12-4 on the season because the Patriots beat the Broncos in their only head-to-head matchup, and that is the first tie-breaker. Denver has a better conference record and a better division record, but the first tie-breaker is head-to-head play and the Patriots won that one on a dismal, cold day in Foxboro, Mass.
For your information, the Broncos were 8-0 at home this season and 4-4 on the road. It certainly looks like the home field is an advantage, and we know that a cold, dismal day in Foxboro has not been a very lucky charm for Denver.
Enjoy your bye, Broncos. Get better! Get more consistent. Get ready for the Patriots!
It will be quite nice to get back to a normal schedule this following week. Schools will be back in session, sports will once again be taking place, there will be basketball games and wrestling matches to report on.
There will also be more time to prepare the paper for publication. The deadline can run until 10 a.m. on Tuesday during a normal week, but because we have to go to press a day early when Thursdays are a holiday, that has meant a 5 p.m. deadline on Sundays.
Many people don’t see that we have early deadlines. Many people don’t care that we had early deadlines and a rare few pay attention to what the deadlines are. That makes for a tough Monday.
But we are back to normal this coming week, and that is the first good news of the new year.