In a recent letter to the editor, Jim Donaldson waves goodbye forever to an Aspen that is no longer the Aspen of the '40s through '60s that he loved ("It was fun while it lasted," Feb. 22, The Aspen Times). He tells us how good it used to be and how Aspen is now "mean and old."
Jim, don't be such a grumpy old fart. What place in the world is as it was in the '50s? It isn't just Aspen that has changed, Jim; the world has changed.
Donaldson worries that the former owners of the Holland House must be "sick" to see it gone. People act like the owners of small businesses that they love should never leave. That somehow when they retire it is a community failure. Bunk.
I think that the owners of the Holland House, La Cocina and others worked their patooties off for decades in this town, and when they sold, they made enough to retire comfortably. I say that is great and is just another example of community success - prosperity for its residents. What does Jim want, to have these small-business owners work to their deathbeds so good ol' Jim can try and relive the '50s? Should we pass a law that these small-business owners may never retire or die so that we can still get the enchiladas we love?
In my view, there is one thing we absolutely can't do - no matter how hard we try or what laws we pass - and that is to stay the same. That's impossible. Change will happen, and we can't stop it; all we can do is try and direct it. I say to Jim that I am proud of our efforts here in Aspen to deal with a changing world. Have we made all the right decisions? No. But have we done a helluva a great job making Aspen better now in so many ways than it was? I say "yes."
See ya, Jim, I understand your lament, and I wish I could stop getting older, too. Of course the new Aspen isn't for everyone (nor was the old one), but good luck finding the '50s out there Jim, and if you do, let us all know how it turns out to be a senior citizen there or a time traveler. This place is great, and I still love it (43-year love affair and counting). Aspen is the best place in the world.