Rest in peace
In a town full of first names, they were some of the most well-known. Whenever someone said Hunter, Harley or Bonnie, everyone knew who you were talking about. As varied and different as they were, each was a vital cog in the way in which this community perceives itself.Now, in a just a couple of months, all are gone. And with them goes a chunk of modern Aspen history.The death of Hunter Thompson has been a media phenomenon. Not just here in Aspen, though it does seem that every local scribe has weighed in on the enormity of the loss, but around the world as well. The New York Times played the story on the front page of the second section, in the obituary section and on the editorial page. Remarkable, really, for a guy who over the last couple of decades largely wrote letters.Oh sure, some of Hunter’s books, especially “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” had literary import, but Hunter was mostly famous for being Hunter. He created a persona that smacked of eccentricity (to say the least) and married that persona to the place where he lived and died: Woody Creek, Colorado.In death, at least partly because of the circumstances of the act, he became a tragic figure for folks of a certain age. And for them, a vestige of their own sense of self and sense of youth died that Sunday evening as well.It could be argued that Harley Baldwin’s death, though less widely reported, could have a greater impact on the future of the town Thompson wanted to rename Fat City. Certainly no one individual had a greater hand in creating Fat City as it exists today than Baldwin. The Caribou Club is the very center of a lifestyle that many in this town resent, but ultimately has taken over the downtown core.What will happen to the Brand Building without Harley? How about the Caribou Club? His extensive holdings are not only linchpins in this town, but are representative of a significant part of the community.And then there’s Bonnie. Surely the sweetest of the three, she leaves a legacy in the form of an on-mountain restaurant that defined the good life worldwide. How many suntanned faces have sat on the deck at Bonnie’s facing uphill feeling full and self-satisfied? Bonnie’s hard work and innate ability to please so many different kinds of people from around the world will most certainly be lamented as we move forward. At least she left us apple strudel to remember her by. Have a slice before the season ends.Hunter, Harley and Bonnie. First names gone, but not forgotten.
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