With fall comes quiet, and a measure of civility | AspenTimes.com
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With fall comes quiet, and a measure of civility

Gaylord Guenin

The long shadows of autumn are returning to our valley, an event I applaud knowing full well that winter is snoozing just around the corner, ready to unleash numerous ugly moments for the unprepared.I suppose fear may be a major factor in the fact that I am invigorated by the arrival of fall each year, while spring normally sets me off in search of a couch and a warm nap on a sunny afternoon. Unless you are a serious gardener, spring is little more than an opportunity to search your closets for your summer togs. Fall is a tad more serious period of time.As anyone who lives in the Rocky Mountains knows, winter is sadistically skilled at throwing and landing the sucker punch. Spring may be inviting, stimulating you to dig out the golf clubs or the mountain bike, but fall is threatening – time to get off your duff and take care of those projects you ignored all summer.This past weekend was a chilly reminder that the warm and cozy summer days may be fading faster than we would like. It is time to stock up on firewood, to check your automobile tires to see if they have enough tread to handle another winter, to repair those holes in your roof, to collect all those lawn and garden tools scattered around your property, and so on and so on. You know the drill, I am certain. It’s fall and suddenly you are faced with numerous tedious and uninteresting projects that refuse to be ignored.And while fall may be accompanied with a bunch of unwanted work, it also brings a most welcome moment of tranquility to our valley. Around Labor Day, it is as if some mysterious antibiotic is carried on our mountain breezes and suddenly those pesky and irritating visitors we call “tourists” begin to disappear. The downside of that is the fact they take their wallets and purses and their huge credit cards with them. Unfortunately, I have never figured out a legal way to dip into their money and because they put no bread on my table, I view them much as I view West Nile mosquitoes – as potentially deadly pests.My many friends in the food-service industry, friends who are bartenders and waitresses, have conflicting emotions about the exodus of tourists. It has been a long summer and they are ready for their own vacations, yet they will miss that extra income, even if many tourists are dyed-in-the-wool skinflints, not to mention being pompous jerks.My guess is that I am talking about the exceptions, that the majority of our visitors are warm and caring individuals, folks who not only know how to say “thank you” and “please” but also seem to genuinely mean what they say. About the best those other folk can do is to utter an order, something that usually comes out as “Give me, give me, give me.” Apparently saying, “May I have …” is far too complicated.I spend too much time hanging around the Woody Creek Tavern and am continually amazed at the lack of good manners so many people bring with them on vacation. The Tavern staff goes out of its way not only to provide excellent and fast service but to make the stranger feel at home, to let visitors know that “this is their place.” Yet there are those who seem to see some form of weakness in being welcomed in such a warm and courteous manner, a weakness they are intent to take advantage of.Call it the Donald Trump Syndrome, if you like, an infliction that causes the victim to become delusional, to actually believe he or she truly is a superior being, above any rules that may be adhered to in a little roadside place such as the Tavern. These are people who seem to believe that they are too important to wait in line or too important to be satisfied by the fare as it appears on the menu. They are accustomed to pushing and shoving, and they expect to get their way.Because they are customers, most businesses will do their best to soothe their inflated egos without abandoning the basic standards of their operation. There are, however, those of us in Woody Creek who do not defer to bad manners in such a pleasant manner. In fact, we can become downright cranky.To the haughty and arrogant visitor (or local), we have a rather standard response: “Woody Creek ain’t Mayberry!” Woody Creek is not some desperate backwater, filled with inbred simpletons who happen to be skilled in boot licking. If you really want to find such people, you might check the White House. We do know that a fair amount of bootlicking occurs there. You can attempt to throw your weight around in Woody Creek but beware of what might be thrown back. It could be something quite disgusting.And while those Styrofoam VIPs may continue to plague us, even during the “offseason,” at least our county roads will slowly become free of the hordes of sprocket trash on their rental bikes, individuals who seem to believe that our public highways simply are wide bike paths. But regardless of the many irritations that the summer crowd can create, fall awaits with at least a touch of quiet and civility and, as always, some delightful changes in the scenery. One change that probably will not occur is my general attitude: “This ain’t Mayberry, after all!”This is the 308th article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place where we only attempt to offend the offensive..


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