Su Lum: Slumming |

Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

I was driving home last week when I spotted a young couple walking their dogs – at least one of the animals was a dog, I wasn’t sure what the other one was. As I described it to my friend Hilary, “It might have been a pug puppy, but its head was too big and it looked like a large black frog!”

Not being exactly eagle-eyed, I am not known for my reliability in these matters. It could have been anything and it was minutes after I first spotted it that Hilary and I were on our way to dinner and I was telling her about it (I call these events “Su’s big adventures.”) when we turned a corner and there they were, the young man with the dog and the young woman with a something in a harness on a leash.

Hilary stepped on the brakes, gratifyingly as surprised as I had been, and asked, “What?” And it turned out that it was a black baby pig, as cute as a button, trotting along in its harness, wagging its tail like a happy puppy.

A few years ago pot bellied pigs were all the rage until they started porking up and outweighing their owners. This baby was a miniature Juliana pig who would grow to only 20 pounds, a little more than my dachshund, Nicky.

It was a brief encounter, but I hope to learn more about this little pig and how it works out as a house pet. I’m not tempted to get one (I’m afraid Nicky and Freddie would look upon a baby pig as ham on the trotters), but I’m curious if yellow.

Life is good. The days are sunny and long despite the occasional storm, we survived the recent election without a single runoff, which I would never have predicted in a million years but am very glad for, and there’s a baby pig on a leash in the East End.

A decade or so ago there was a guy in town who went around with a dog in a wagon. Atop the dog sat a placid cat and atop the cat sat a placid mouse, all out enjoying the Aspen air. Just to see them was to put a spring in your step for the rest of the day.

Last Wednesday was Trudy Ostermaier’s 100th birthday. I went to her party up at the home, which is a total disaster/war-zone area due to the hospital construction. Whitcomb Terrace sits in the middle of the Aspen equivalent of Ground Zero, with extreme Tonka toy activity on all sides – I still maintain that if sandboxes were banned in the schools, the world would be a lot quieter.

Anyway, Trudy, who is extremely sharp, was seated like a queen, her soft white hair like a halo around her head, receiving her guests, surrounded by her family and many friends. This was her second party of the day, having also been feted at lunch, and I had to admire her stamina. I would have been ready for a lie-down.

Trudy and I spent several years together in the cardiac rehab exercise class, where she was a real trooper despite a lot of aging pain and kept us laughing with her stories. A few years later, I was visiting Trudy and Becky Sparks during the Obama/Clinton campaign. Hillary Clinton was speaking on the TV and Trudy remarked, “If I haff to listen to that voice for four years I vill kill myself.” Yeah, Trudy, may you live forever.

Behind every silver lining lurks a storm cloud and, with Monday evening’s sleet and hail, comes Marilyn Marks to city council, exercising her right to pay for a mayoral recount. I don’t know how this legal clause came to be, but it seems that citizens can ask for a manual recount of an election as long as they are willing to pay for it, even if all the legal standards for winning have been met.

Marilyn Marks is exercising this right and I was surprised that the fee was only $1,000 for the time and aggravation and even more surprised to learn that if the recount demanded a run-off election, the fee would be refunded.

Marks herself said that she didn’t think a recount would change the results, and that the election had been handled impeccably; she was completely non-partisan (har) but, since the election was so close (not close enough to trigger a recount), we should take the extra step of transparency by having a recount. She was not asking for permission (permission was not required), just stating her case, such as it is.

Gore Vidal once said of Richard Nixon that Nixon was like a RAT. You take a baseball bat to the rat and whack, whack, whack, it keeps skittering just out of reach. Of course in Nixon’s case, he finally did let go.

** Tuesday afternoon news flash – Ms. Marks has now decided to withdraw her request for a recount. Lordy lord, what’s next.

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