Tony Vagneur: September always gives us something to remember | AspenTimes.com

Tony Vagneur: September always gives us something to remember

Tony Vagneur
Saddle Sore

Overnight, it seems, fall slipped in the back door just as we were getting used to summer. If you listen to the old-timers, everything is running about a month late this year, and maybe that’s true. The leaves are taking their time changing colors and to be honest, there’s nothing we can do about any of it, anyway, except enjoy it.

By the way, I’m not sure who the old-timers are anymore; most of them have moved on to greener pastures, a notable exception being Jim Markalunas who actually writes stuff down so you can take his word for most of what he says, particularly in reference to the weather.

The other guy who writes stuff down is the man who will never let me mention his name, but who claims to have more runs down Summit (my favorite ski run) than anyone else. You can’t argue with him, because he writes that stuff down every day when he gets off the mountain. Besides that, he used to play golf with Charles Schultz, something I never did. Maybe it was the Peanuts.

Speaking of Summit, isn’t that the ski season hovering just over the horizon? It keeps coming up in conversation and these nippy mornings with a dusting of snow on the peaks gives credence to the possibility. Pandora’s expansion seems to have hit a snag so that’s not something we can look forward to in the near future.

An opinion on that one escapes me, although I will say that Bob Snyder and I have probably put more tracks in there the past few years than most folks in recent history. Not sure how I feel about sharing it on the big board, but smiles are what it’s all about.

Before we get back to winter, we have to survive fall, which is, if nothing else, my favorite season of the year. If the months came in color, September would be gold, not only for the vibrant colors that blast forth, but a lot of good things have happened to me in September.

My birthday is Sept. 27. My little brother Steve was born on the same day of the month, as was good friend Mary Eshbaugh Hayes. There’s a clique for you right there. My dad was born Sept. 29. My first wife, Caroline, and I were married Sept. 7. There’s a group of us who grew up in Aspen whose birthdays are all in September. We usually have dinner or lunch together each year to celebrate.

That’s the most of the historical good news, date-wise. My dad died Sept. 7, and the divorce from my first wife became final Sept. 7 of the same year. My dad and brother both are dead. September is gold and bittersweet. Yes, I guess you could say bittersweet.

My grandson just started kindergarten this fall and it brings back memories of my own beginnings at the Red Brick school. However, when I was 5, there was no official kindergarten and I clearly remember driving by Florence Prechtal’s house at the northwest corner of Bleeker and Monarch, and noticing the young kids inside, lined up on either side of a long table, sitting in those same little yellow chairs we had at the Community Church Sunday school.

At my insistence, my mother had to explain that was the kindergarten class in session, a private enterprise separate from the school district and one that we couldn’t afford. That was a disappointment I’ve never been able to banish from my memory.

No matter how much school might have disinterested you, September and the start of school was always exciting, at least for me. New kids, where had they been hiding all summer, suddenly showed up on the first day and friends were made. It seems like it all happened so fast.

Recess baseball teams were soon established, or else we just played “work up,” meaning as one person was struck or thrown out, he was banished to left field and everyone else moved up one position. We never had enough kids to make it complicated.

Say what you want, there’s just a special feel to September, an ambiance that makes one’s heart a little bigger, our eyes a little sharper, and one’s mood a little better. Most days, anyway.

Tony Vagneur writes here on Saturdays and welcomes your comments at ajv@sopris.net.


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