Barbara Lawlor, Peak to Peak. New Year’s Day was bright and cold with a brisk wind that chilled the temperature into the teens. Most streets and shops in Nederland were quiet. The Tebo Shopping Center was packed mid-afternoon with Eldora Mountain Resort guests stopping to pick up snacks at B & F Mountain Market or take a ride on the Carousel of Happiness.
Ski and snowboard traffic usually spills through town in the late afternoon. On Monday, they drove past the neighborhoods where residents were watching college football games or sitting down to dinner with friends or family.
The one-day switch from 2017 to 2018 doesn’t really change anything in one’s life, except for digital numbers declaring the year on devices. One year slides seamlessly into the next, most people have a day off and then the new year begins, one day at a time, while the past year turns into a shadow walking back down the road, becoming history.
So much to look forward to; so much to change, to make better, to learn and then to teach. It is all in front of us, all coming into focus, all the pieces needing to find their place. Or not.
When locals look back on the year, the one most significant impact occurred when Donald Trump became president of the United States and his machinations and proclamations resulted in marches of women and despair for many immigrants, whose lives and futures have been derailed.
When they look to the future they realize that 2017 might have been the best year of their life.
People of all ages express their hopes for 2018. Local residents speak idealistically about what they want for the future and they talk about the good things that are happening, along with some of the issues they feel need to be addressed.
On New Year’s Day, Nederland students Paxton Tarlip and Alex Voymas hit the skatepark, oblivious to the wind or cold. When asked what he wanted for the new year, Alex Voymas thought for a moment and said he didn’t make resolutions and that there wasn’t anything he needed or wanted. “Except world peace.”
Gilpin County resident Taffy Skudneski said: “I hope 2018 will bring good health to the community and I wish to have a closer walk with the Lord.”
Linda Dawson of Gilpin County said: “I would ask for health, happiness and love. Also, we need a good quenching for the earth.”
Donna Pearce was visiting Nederland from Mesa, Arizona and has been to Gilpin County often. She was having lunch at Roy’s Last Shot after Christmas and said, “It is great to be here, I come here a lot, but I don’t like the wind or snow. I think the world has to get back to the Lord. That’s why we are having so many problems. I am ready to leave the world because I know where I’m going. I can’t get around like I used to, but I can still think good.”
Brent Wagner said he thought that things were getting better. “I predict the new year will be better than the last year and I hope every damn soldier will come home soon.”
Clair Hathaway, a rookie with the Timberline Fire Protection District: “I plan to grow more as a firefighter and I hope the world grows more peaceful.”
Michael Garduno, 11, of Nederland, said he hopes for peace and love in the upcoming year and hopes that when president Trump raises his arm and says, “Build the Wall,” it will break.
John Smith, also a rookie with the Timberline Fire Protection District said: “I will work to be as helpful as I can, and I hope the world will become more tolerant.”
Casey Newman, a dog trainer and leader of the 4H in Gilpin County, said: “We need lots of snow and I hope we get accepted into the training program for Diabetic Alert Dogs.”
Rick Newman, Gilpin County Commissioner, said: “I would like Gilpin County to maintain its rural values. I am looking forward to 2018. We have had the wrong policy about fire for 60 years. We should have let nature take its course.
Paxton Tarlip took a break from the bowls at the skatepark and said it was his first time in the park since the beginning of winter break. He said, “I hope to improve at skateboarding this next year and go to new skateparks. I just hope the world doesn’t get blown up in the future. President Trump makes bad decisions.”
Eight-year-old Braydon Giggey, a third-grader at Nederland Elementary School said his wish for the new year was to have everything in the world. “I want peace and love, rock and roll, but also money and a mansion.”
(Originally published in the January 4, 2018 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)