All together now! Fa-la-la-la-la! Ha!
Aspen, CO Colorado OK everyone. It’s Christmas in Aspen. Take a deep breath. We’re going to get through this together. And when I say together, I mean together – stacked up side-by-side in traffic jams on Main Street and Highway 82, cutting each other off, flipping each other off and substituting blaring horns for jingling sleigh bells.We’re together in the airport, jammed side-by-side, hour after hour, in our wet socks, waiting for flights that may or may not take off, waiting for planes that may or may not ever arrive. Waiting to learn if our Christmas plans are completely destroyed or merely dented (the way our fenders were in that traffic jam on the way to the airport).We’re together in a mob, jostling for position, throwing elbows and hoping for a table where we can hunker down and eat a little dinner under the baleful watch of those who are still stuck back in the pack.We’re together as our tempers rise and our faces grow flushed and the red and green of Christmas become the red of our rage and the green of the money we’ve spent that we can’t really afford and …OK. Take another deep breath. Nothing lasts forever.And when I say nothing last forever, I mean nothing – not even the skid of that rapidly approaching SUV in your rear-view mirror, whose driver doesn’t understand that 4-wheel-drive has nothing to do with stopping on ice. That skid will end – although not, perhaps, until a fraction of a second after the SUV has permanently altered the rear end of your beloved car.Nothing lasts forever – not even the serious debt you’ve accumulated on your credit cards in a desperate attempt to impress, seduce, flatter, acknowledge, suck up to or simply express your deep love for someone who either already knows or doesn’t care or wishes you were dead or wonders who the hell you are (even after reading your name on the gift card). That debt will be paid off, somehow exactly in time for you to start the buying frenzy all over again next year.Nothing lasts forever – not even the line at the cashier at the Sundeck. Or the heartburn from eating the slice of pizza that probably wasn’t really warm when they slapped it on your tray and was certainly icy cold by the time you got through that line and found a table and spilled the Coke on your ski pants and went back to find the ski hat that slipped out from under your arm when you were paying the $27.50 for that pizza and Coke, the ski hat that has now been trampled into a sodden wad of filth. That hat. That lunch. That heartburn. That line. None of it will last forever.OK. Now take yet one more deep breath. Because here’s the trick. Here’s the punch line.We are in this together. And some things do last forever.The things that last are the memories. The memory of that incredible morning of fresh powder on Ajax. The memory of a horse-drawn sleigh ride under warm robes in the frigid dark. The memory of a roaring fire. The memory of a wonderful meal with people you really do love. The memory, oddly enough, of the lights of the snowcats on the mountain late at night. The memory of snowy peaks in the moonlight. The memory of that hike up the ridgeline to Highland Bowl. The memory of that one gift that was worth everything you paid for it – and maybe even more – when that one particular person opened it and smiled.And, yes, we are in this together because, well, how else could it be?This is Christmas in Aspen. Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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