The convention in Denver is in full swing. Wasn’t Ted Kennedy inspiring last night? The Wall Street Journal had a comparison of St. Paul/Minneapolis and Denver restaurants last week. The only Denver place I recognized was the Buckhorn Exchange, a place I ate with my father, many, many moons ago. He undoubtedly had a medium well T-bone, and I just remember the excellent bean soup. Unlike me not to recall the meat dish.
I’ve been a denizen of Denver off and on since childhood, long enough, in fact, to recall when Larimer was the street where the bums hung out, and the Daniels and Fishers tower was the tallest in town. As kids, we used to spit from the top of the tower, well-bred young ladies that we were, but that’s a different story.
I attended 5th grade in Denver, in Lakewood, and for the first, last and only time, I was the teacher’s pet. Never knew why, but it was a heady feeling and everyone should experience that once in a lifetime. We did fractions and long division and the last 20 minutes of every day the class got to show off the talents of the various members. I played the piano with major stage fright. I still recall how a classmate, Jacqueline Emerson played so beautifully and without trembly fingers.
At the teacher’s behest, I ran for some class office, and did not realize that you were supposed to vote for yourself. It still goes against the grain. I wasn’t raised to have high self-esteem. That was for boys and girls who were “too forward.”
Back to Denver. The day after I graduated from high school, we moved back to Denver, way the hell in Southeast Denver by the new Valley Highway. A nice little two-bedroom house with a fireplace in the living room that my mom would never use because it would become “dirty.”
For some reason, the day after I was married, my parents moved again, eventually ending up in Aurora, where my dad had an auto parts store. Summers from from college, I went to the main library, hung out a bit at D.U., patronized art films somewhere, maybe Englewood, and ate at the Palace Arms, actually drank at the Palace Arms. I took trig one summer at East High and there was a Coors kid in the class. Harry Belafonte sang Island In The Sun every day on the car radio as I drove home from class to Southeast Denver. Cherry Hills was always "The" neighborhood.
Returning with kids, we stayed at the Brown Palace in a suite, and you would faint if I told you how cheap it was then. I remember drying diapers on the radiators. This was obviously in a different life.
Denver was cool, and the Colorado School of Mines sign that lights up the mountain in Golden was my beacon.
Last summer we returned to Colorado for a class reunion, flew into DIA, and the city was smoggy and you couldn’t even see the mountains, which just about killed me. My town and it’s been ruined. I feel that way about Montana, too. Excessive Californication and all the big shots moving in, building these god-awful ugly mansions, and then selling them, blighting the land. Their punishment should be to have to live there in the wide-open spaces forever.
Last year before the reunion, we spent a most pleasant evening at Las Margaritas, an excellent and casual Mexican restaurant where they understand the drink as well as the cuisine, and I couldn’t have liked it more.
The art museum also rocks. Denver is so cool.
I hope the smog is gone for the convention. God knows, there’s always enough hot air.
I will lift my eyes until the hills, from whence cometh my help. Thought for the day in Denver.