Meredith Carroll: The 2021 Christmas bonus list
Playgroup Aspen and Mountain Tots
A Christmas bonus plus a lifetime achievement award to the cherished preschools in the Yellow Brick Building who have worked tirelessly, masterfully and with endless heart for decades to remain a guiding light in the dawn of so many little Aspenites’ lives.
It’s one thing to sing along to Michael Jackson in the car with your kids and talk about what it means to separate the art from the artist. It’s another thing when your dog is named Harry Potter and one day J.K. Rowling starts aggressively discharging transphobic rhetoric as if bigotry and intolerance are involuntary muscular contractions. While no one is canceling Harry Potter (either the imaginary wizard or my actual dog), his creator nevertheless gets a bonus for indelibly illustrating for my children why not all great writers deserve canonization.
A Christmas bonus plus an extra basket of chips to the last remaining local non-pizza or barbecue restaurant where my family could eat without anyone complaining, feigning food poisoning, or declaring bankruptcy — a rare dining-in-Aspen-with-kids hat trick. Your absence next year will be felt acutely.
Congresswoman Lauren Boebert
A Christmas bonus in the form of an acronym for Aspen’s congresswoman, Lauren Boebert: Woman in Name Only (WINO). What else would you call the WINO who broke girl (human) code by declaring parental leave is extraneous on account of having birthed one of her own four children in the front seat of a truck? “Ain’t nobody got time for two-and-a-half months of maternity leave. We have a world to save here,” Boebert said on a video that she appeared in voluntarily. In other news, paid leave now joins bodily autonomy as a privilege reserved only for extra special people, like men and Congress.
A little something extra for everyone
A bonus for all of Aspen’s holiday visitors: Service industry workers are scarce compared to last year notwithstanding prices and visitors, which are way up this year. Cheers!
Buttermilk Ski Patrol
A bonus for the patrollers working at the top of Buttermilk on Sunday afternoon who may or may not have been kind enough to loan a pair of goggles to a hapless mom just trying to get in a few turns with one of her kids without going blind (the mom, that is — the kid was wearing her mom’s goggles so her eyes were just fine). Kind human beings on top of saints, sweethearts and superheroes is what y’all on ski patrol are.
Senator Joe Manchin
If it were up to me, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) would get nothing and like it as a reward for killing the Build Back Better plan that would have extended a benefit expiring this month for West Virginia coal miners suffering from black lung disease. Alas, it was Fox News who sent over the cash-stuffed bonus envelope with Manchin’s name written on it. They said he’d know what it’s for.
“Avid Reader from the Roaring Fork Valley”
A bonus for my fan club’s newest member, who has taken time after each of my recent columns to sit down and email me sweet nothings (“I can’t tell if you are trying to be humorous because your writing is so bad it evades common critique”). As my husband told me when I first started writing an opinion column over 16 years ago, “They have to read you to hate you.” Anyway, dear “Avid Reader,” there’s an envelope here for you. My husband said you’d know what it’s for.
A bonus to the CBS sports analyst who, during Sunday’s Broncos-Bengals game at Empower Field in Denver, gave a shout-out to Steamboat Springs’ famed Champagne powder™. I’m just over here echoing that not only does The Boat, indeed, have the lightest and fluffiest snow in all the West, it’s so good that they literally trademarked it. Ski Steamboat and have a Merry Christmas from all of us over here languishing in the generic snow of Aspen and Snowmass.
More at MeredithCarroll.com and on Twitter @MCCarroll.
I watched from that other valley for nearly two decades as the ATW flagged, then was reborn, re-energized, surely for good this time, at last, things looking up. Only to slip and the cycle begin again.