by Paul Kiser
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I’m not a ‘big family celebration’ type of guy. I have about a two-hour threshold of family socializing and then I’m good for a year or two. It’s a family cultural thing. As my three older brothers and I moved out of our childhood home we didn’t make it a priority to keep close contact we each other, and in my case my parents moved out of my hometown when I went to college …., maybe that was meant to be a message.
Alexander was not impressed with the pomp.
So when it was announced that one of my spouse’s second cousins was getting married the day after the 4th of July and that all the family would be going to Colorado for a major weekend of celebrating, I was not the first one to pack my bags. It’s not that I don’t like the my spouse’s family because they are a very caring and intelligent group of souls, but I like control in my life and traveling and living in mass is about as out of control as it gets for me.
My spouse and her mother understands this character flaw of mine, but ‘no’ was not an option in this case. Initially I resisted the idea of being part of the Reno delegation but the final incentive was to add a couple of days to the trip to spend time with my daughters in Colorado. That got me to join the party … that and the potential ramifications of being a lone holdout for the event. The plan was finalized and tickets were purchased.
I was going to a family wedding in Boulder, Colorado … did I mention I don’t like family get-togethers?
A Perfect Backyard Wedding
So last week we flew to Colorado for some quality time in my home state. I prepared myself for what was to come … but I had no idea what to expect.
We spent a busy, but fun day-and-a-half with my daughters south of Denver and then drove up to Boulder for a gauntlet of family oriented parties. We were staying with one of my spouse’s first cousins, who live outside of Boulder on a ranch.
House in the Grove - Near Boulder
Sweet Home Colorado
My apprehensions about staying in someone else’s house were blown away when we got to their ranch. It was like page out of Better Homes and Gardens. We shared a ‘cottage’ with my brother/sister-in-law and their daughter. The cottage consisted of two bedrooms and a bath over a kitchen/living room. Her cousins have only lived there a little over a year, but they have done a tremendous amount of work to the main house and the cottage to make them comfortable and beautiful living spaces.
The property was among a grove of multiple types of trees with a stream running through it. In addition to the trees the landscaping showed the care and attention of thousands of hours of planning, planting, and maintenance. Across the creek and beyond the trees were horses and chickens to complete the experience for any child under 10. Did I mention the two zip lines? Well, suffice to say it was a joy to spend several days there.
(Zip Line – Wikipedia definition)
Our hosts held an excellent catered barbecue (Flatirons Catering) on the 4th of July with about 80 people attending and except for the late afternoon thunderstorm it was a one of the many highlights of the trip. Later that night some of us even rode the zip line across the stream in the dark…not advised when inebriated, but fun regardless of the state of sobriety.
(Flatirons Catering website)
View of the Flatirons over Boulder, CO
I also spent a few free hours in Boulder and I came to appreciate the beauty of the city and the warmth of the people. People in Boulder care. They care about the environment. They care about quality of life for all. They care about politics. All of that care is translated into positive, happy people who love life.
Much of our country is infested with a group of disgruntled, bitter, sarcastic people who blame everyone else for all the country’s ills. Some people have gone as far as making up problems so they can be unhappy about them. That’s not Boulder. Boulder is a no-excuses, we’re-in-this-together, make-lemonade type community. Boulder is an American-values place that kept true to our founders ‘United We Stand’ attitude. Don’t get me wrong, the city has had its share of problems and is not immune to failure, but a simple drive around the streets show that they have dealt with adversity and triumphed where other cities have failed and given up. I didn’t realize what a breath of fresh air a community of positive, happy people could be until I spent some time in the city at the foot of the Flatirons.
The Buff Restaurant in Boulder, CO
In The Buff
Boulder is a creative place with high standards in business. In America the definition of bad food is any restaurant on the property of a motel. However, in Boulder The Buff Restaurant has leased its space from a Best Western motel since 1995, and it was one of the most pleasant eating experiences I’ve had in a long time. I had the Baja Benney which was a version of Eggs Benedict with avocado, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes. They also had Bhakti Chai tea which is made by a Boulder-based company, which was the best chai tea I’ve ever had..and I’ve had a lot of chai tea. In Boulder, customer expectations are high and the business owner who is looking to sacrifice value-added service and quality for profits is not going to be around long.
Father of the Bride greets the guests
(The Buff Restaurant website) and (Bhakti Chai Tea website)
Weather to Enhance Any Occasion
During my fifteen-year absence from my home state I forgot about Colorado weather. A typical summer afternoon includes a thunderstorm to cool things down in the afternoon followed by clearing sky and a pleasant evening. It’s perfect weather to spend time outdoors … a lot.
The Main Event
The weather was a factor for the main event of the week, which was of course, the wedding. It was an intimate, but beautiful event held in the backyard of the parent’s of the bride. The vows were sincere and funny and the entire ceremony was under crystal blue afternoon skies. There was a slight breeze that made the leaves sound like gentle applause to the event being held in their midst. For a July outdoor wedding it was a perfect combination of people, weather, organization, and ambiance.
In all, the trip was a great success. I could go on about the place we stayed, the preparation and work that the Colorado families made for all of us, Boulder, the wedding, my daughters, or how exhausted we all were by the time we got home, but suffice to say it was a fun experience.
I’m still not a fan of big family get-togethers, but I’m glad I went on this one.