Welcome to Linoleum, Colorado … now go home | AspenTimes.com
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Welcome to Linoleum, Colorado … now go home

Gaylord Guenin

What I am about to tell you is something of a confession, so I would hope that you would kindly keep what I am about to say to yourself. I’m not certain how my many friends in Woody Creek will react to my almost saying something nice about Aspen, and as they are pretty much the only friends I have, I must tread with care.

The point here is that for years I have taken great inspiration from Aspen and its government. I don’t know but there is, for me at least, a wonderful stimulation to be gained from watching a group of well-intentioned people trying to walk up a down escalator.

I am not some sort of weird masochistic devil who enjoys watching people stumble and fall, but I confess receiving a fair amount of entertainment watching the Aspen City Council at work. While the council can be thoughtful and even wise, watching that group grapple with local problems is a bit like tuning into Wrestle Mania.

As I mentioned, the council can be both entertaining and inspiring and the members of that body recently lifted me to new heights with their willingness to investigate the possibility of digging up the grass on the city’s venerable Wagner Park and replacing it with some form of artificial turf.

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Upon hearing that news I became almost giddy because some of us in Lenado, which is up where I live, have been studying a similar proposal for a number of years now. Instead of redoing our open spaces in artificial turf, we are leaning toward the possibility of covering those areas with linoleum. That’s correct, we are considering linoleum.

The Aspen City Council has given us the courage to move forward.

Linoleum is a fairly strong material, it is reasonably priced and it is available in an endless array of bizarre colors and outrageous patterns and designs. Aspen is looking at the artificial turf route in order to maintain appearances. Considering what people fork over to visit Aspen, a major park filled with dead grass and mud puddles is not precisely the presentation the community wants to put on display. Our motivation in Lenado is somewhat different. We don’t particularly give a damn if anyone ever visits Lenado.

We have no bars or restaurants or cute little gift shops where we can fleece innocent visitors, so unlike our cousins in Aspen we have no particular motivation to entice outsiders to come and visit. At best our visitors often end up costing us. In emergencies they will borrow tools, tow ropes, cans of gasoline and the like, apparently believing such items were offered to them as gifts from those backward little people who live in Lenado. It would be completely appropriate to demand a deposit (perhaps $100 would be fair) on every tow rope or screwdriver that is loaned to a stranger, but I wasn’t raised that way so I assume a stoical air and replace whatever was never returned out of my own pocket.

No, we are not trying to tempt visitors to our little corner of the world. While Aspen is continually attempting to spruce itself up, our goal is to make things as tacky and uninviting as possible, thus our desire to install linoleum wherever we can. Lenado does sit in a wonderfully verdurous valley. A major application of linoleum could change all that.

And the timing of this project may be perfect. It appears that Martha Stewart will have quite a bit of free time on her hands this summer and I’m almost certain that if we appeal to her altruistic nature, she would be willing to give us a hand.

Of course this will be one heck of a challenge for the diva of good taste. We are looking for “garish!” We want something so tasteless, so gaudy and tawdry that it will send unwanted visitors scurrying in pure panic back to their immaculate trophy homes and country clubs. Doubt lingers in Lenado, however, as to whether or not Martha is really up to such a challenge considering the weak defense she managed to muster in that stock-trade thing. But I am convinced she may be looking for new directions in her life and decorating Lenado in linoleum would definitely be a change of pace.

As with all brilliant projects, there is always the potential of a downside. Daniel Lashof, science director of the National Resources Defense Council Climate Center, was in our valley recently and suggested that our winters soon may be getting much shorter, which means less snow.

The potential problem is that with less skiing available, visitors might begin searching out other diversions and in time the great Lenado “fields of linoleum” might become an attraction. In this quirky world of ours, fads erupt with the same regularity as acne among teenagers, so it is possible that the “fields of linoleum” could become another Yellowstone National Park, thus negating our desire to drive outsiders away. We figure we can deal with that down the line.

Anyway, the linoleum movement has gained such strength locally that the Council of Lenado Elders is considering changing the name of Lenado to Linoleum. “Linoleum, Colorado!” It rolls off the tongue with unusual grace, don’t you agree?

This is the 302nd article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place where “home improvement” takes on a whole new meaning.

We want something so tasteless, so gaudy and tawdry that it will send unwanted visitors scurrying in pure panic back to their immaculate trophy homes and country clubs.


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