Stapleton Reborn and Some BSK/HG Memories

March 2nd, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

HG/BSK began living in Colorado in 1985 (part-time) and full time in 1986. First on a 100-acre horse ranch some 9,100 feet above sea level in unincorporated Jefferson County. It was a mountainous area between the towns of Golden and Black Hawk. (Yes, HG/BSK had as many as six horses, rode the scenic mountain trails for hours and took equestrian lessons from BSK’s talented sister, Noel. She was a Colorado neighbor back then and, with her husband, Yossi, is now a happy permanent resident of Prince Edward Island some miles from HG/BSK’s PEI oceanfront paradise). BSK’s very effective environmental and political activism led HG/BSK back into the public relations business which grew into a formidable enterprise. Thus, HG/BSK said a sad farewell to their horse pals and moved to Denver. New residence was a fabulous full floor apartment resembling a New York Park Avenue residence transplanted a few blocks from the Colorado Governor’s Mansion. Some of the apartment features: 3,200 feet of space; private elevator landing; huge living/dining room with a wood burning fireplace tucked into a wall of white marble; two big bedrooms; wood paneled library/TV room; built-in living room mirrored wet bar with space for glasses, mixers, spirits, and wine; large kitchen with spacious dining area and lots of light; large, windowed terrace with built-in grill and dumbwaiter–HG/BSK would unload groceries into the dumbwaiter which was adjacent to HG/BSK/’s indoor parking spot. Some more apartment features: Three baths; closets galore; laundry area with washer, dryer, and shelving. Residents were given notice. The building was to be completely reconstructed and converted to condominiums. So, off to Santa Fe and the Land of Enchantment (and green chile). Incidentally, HG/BSK’s apartment is now valued at about $2,000,000. HG/BSK chatted about these memories as they battled the traffic to the suburb of Stapleton. When HG/BSK arrived in Denver, Stapleton was the friendly, mid-sized airport conveniently close to the city. (Miles away, the huge Denver International Airport has replaced it). Now Stapleton is a diverse residential community of 19,000 with schools, office buildings, hospitals, restaurants, markets, etc. Have to give the developers credit. They’ve given a neighborly feel to the houses on small plots of land and the architecture ranges from conventional to mid-century and cutting edge contemporary. There’s housing for every lifestyle and budget (including some five-bedroom, 4.5 bath homes selling at close to $1,000,000). Many parks, playgrounds, walking and cycling trails. Don’t want to live there but it seems much better than the developer horrors that continue to despoil the American landscape. Managed to get a quick lunch at Mici, the Stapleton location of a four-restaurant Italian food chain. Surprisingly good food and the luncheon special is a bargain. The sum of $8.75 buys you 1/2 of a 10-inch pizza or 1/2 of a Ciabatta sandwich plus a bowl of soup. HG had Giardino, a pizza with mushrooms, garlic, roasted red pepper, spinach, artichokes, zucchini, mozzarella. Soup was Fagioli, white beans with chicken broth, spinach, Parmigiano-Reggiano. BSK had Pomodoro, creamy crushed tomato soup, fresh basil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Both soups were accompanied by ample garlic bread. BSK’s Ciabatta sandwich was Toscana, chicken breast (hormone free); pesto, fontina, sun-dried tomatoes. HG/BSK thought they were getting snacks but it turned into a lavish meal. (HG would have transported gallons of the bean soup back to New Mexico if it were possible. It had a true Tuscan soul).


October 5th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

HG often reads the Prince Edward Island Guardian (“We cover the Island like the dew”) with a second cup of breakfast latte. A story caught HG’s attention yesterday: It concerned a dog lover’s organization in Britain that was teaching Newfoundland dogs to swim, search and rescue. Yes, that was their function living on the ships of the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing fleets where they originated. But, when these gentle giants moved inland as household pets in the United States and Canada these skills were lost. So glad these dedicated Britons are trying to bring them back. Bobo was the name of HG/BSK’s Newfie companion on HG/BSK’s horse ranch in the Colorado Rocky Mountain foothills. Gentle and loving with children, obedient, very intelligent. For example, when HG was ready for sleep, HG would pat Bobo on his massive head and say: “Bedtime, Bobo.” Without any urging, Bobo would rise and hop down the stairs to the garage level (because of his heavy coat, Bobo liked to sleep in the cool garage). Using his paw, Bobo would open the garage door. Would carefully close it behind him before he slept. The procedure was reversed at breakfast time. Big dogs like Bobo (he weighed 150 pounds) don’t have much longevity. In the vet’s office, just before his demise, Bobo turned to HG, licked his hand and received a final nuzzle. One, last soulful look at HG. Goodbye. HG sobbed. Tears rolled down HG’s face. HG vowed. No more dogs. The end is too heartbreaking. However, many years later came Toby, The Wonder Dog. HG will be 89 in one month. The odds are in favor of Toby outliving the old guy.

Eloquent Old Gringo

August 2nd, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

Happy Birthday. Have many more. Continue to enlighten, illuminate and amuse with inimitable Box Cox prose. Bob Cox is HG/BSK’s friend. They met in Colorado when Bob was a columnist and publisher of weekly newspapers. He was a very positive force in the Jefferson County community and his columns were witty and sharp political thrusts. Bob sold the papers some time ago and settled in Abiquiu, New Mexico (not far from Georgia O Keefe’s former home). Unlike HG, Bob takes a minimal interest in cuisine. He reserves his passions for political comment, the outdoors and horses. Though a bit too rickety these days for equestrianism, HG shares Bob’s affection for horses. During the years when HG/BSK lived on their Colorado mountain ranch, HG spent hours each day on horseback, riding through forests and admiring endless views from mountain slopes. HG can get quite sentimental remembering HG’s favorite mounts, Peaches and Twist. Bob is still writing (HG believes there is a novel in the works) and a good way, to become acquainted with his talent is to log into his blog Recently, Bob did a very moving piece on the final days of a 35-year-old horse. Even if you’ve never been on a horse’s back you’ll enjoy the eloquence and emotion of Bob’s prose. At the same time, Bob skewered that eminent hypocrite, Jeb Bush. So, log into the Old Gringo and become acquainted with a singularly human and insightful writer.


Cool Place In the Colorado Blaze

July 9th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

The fire news from Colorado has been tragic. Many of HG’s friends have been in real danger of losing their homes. But, amid all the horror there has been a cool place to escape and dine. HG refers to 240 Union Restaurant in the Denver suburb of Lakewood. When HG and BSK stop in Denver (to make flight connections) they always have a meal there. One of the delights of 240 is the owner/host, Michael Coughlin. Besides having loads of Irish charm and conviviality, Michael knows how to assemble a wine list. His 23 for 23 group is an affordable pleasure — 23 varied (and tasty) wines for 23 bucks each. At dinner recently, HG and BSK had a dozen oysters (six Atlantic and six Pacific) with glasses of Prosecco. Michael uncorked a bottle of Oregon Pinot Gris from the “23” list (very crisp and similar to the British Columbia Okanogan Valley wines HG and BSK cherish). A platter of fried calamari imaginatively accompanied by fried shishito peppers followed. HG and BSK then shared some traditional English fish and chips (better than any HG has had in London). Dessert was a shared bit of very light lemon cheesecake with a blueberry coulis.

Colorado cuisine has come a long way from the days when it was dominated by hamburgers and tacos. Hope the fire season is over and gracious Western living — as exemplified by 240 Union — returns.

Betty Miller R.I.P.

January 29th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Betty Miller, a wonderful woman, died this week at her retirement home in Florida. The words “public servant” are very misused these days. But, that is what Betty was — a person who served the public. And, served it well. In Colorado, where she spent much of her life, Betty had many important jobs. She was a significant aide to former Colorado Senator Tim Wirth. She was the mayor of one of Colorado’s largest cities. She was a county commissioner of populous Jefferson County. She was an FHA official. She served on the board of a major educational institution. She was loved, admired and respected by many. An active Democrat, she was a tireless battler for the party and its principles. Even her Republican foes had to grudgingly admit that Betty was special. Betty was down to earth, effective and incorruptible. She got things done. Betty was a good friend and ally of HG and BSK.

Betty grew up in North Carolina and HG once mentioned his fondness for Southern cuisine. Soon afterward, HG and BSK were asked to dinner where Betty cooked a dinner of stuffed peppers and macaroni and cheese. Plenty of sweet iced tea. Pure Carolina soul. Best ever. Topped anything HG ever had in the citadels of down home Southern cooking. A delicious memory. Rest in peace, dear Betty.

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