Photo by Reinhard Tiburzy, dreamstime.com
As we approached Frank’s place, he pointed to a For Sale sign on a large cabin – a two-story house really. “Guy only lasted one season,” Frank said.
At 8,000 plus feet in elevation, a cabin in the northern Colorado mountains might not be everyone’s idea of paradise, but my brother Frank and his family love it. Pulling into his driveway, blooming blue columbines nodded in the breeze to welcome us. As we began unloading bundles of roofing shingles for the weekend’s project, I almost stepped in a pile of manure that looked like horse apples, but darker. “Moose poop,” Frank said.
I asked why his neighbor pulled up stakes so soon.
“I don’t think he thought it through,” Frank said. “Buying a cabin up here. A day or two after he moved in, he asked me whom to call to turn on the cable TV. Said he wanted to watch Rockies baseball and all he could get was a fuzzy picture from Laramie. ‘No cable,’ I told him. He seemed a little upset.”
“Well, he could always go down to Potbelly’s bar to watch a game, couldn’t he?” I asked.
“Sure. And he did.
“But then in a few days, he came around and asked what day is trash pick-up. ‘Wasn’t any,’ I said. ‘You have to haul it out yourself.’
Frank continued, “Next, he found out he couldn’t get the Wall Street Journal delivered. Then he learned the Piggly Wiggly didn’t carry sun-dried tomatoes. And – he was already tired of Potbelly’s.
“The locals were betting how long he’d last. I hear he’s roughing it now in a condo down in Ft. Collins.”
“So he just quits the mountains?” I asked. “Must be more to it.”
“Aw, I thought he was coping okay up here,” Frank replied. “But then last fall he heard his chocolate lab barking out back. He thought the dog was answering howling coyotes so he ignored it. Then he catches a flash of something big moving quickly down by the creek.
“A bull moose comes crashing out of the aspens and charges the dog, who gives a few yips and flees to safety behind the deck railing. The bull sees he can’t reach the dog and stops just short of the deck, swings his rack a couple of times, paws the ground and snorts snot at the guy and his dog and then ambles back into the aspens. When the guy found out a moose recently killed two dogs – that was it for him. Said it spooked him worse than a margin call by his stock broker and he was leaving before his luck ran out.”
As daylight faded, I said “Let’s knock off for 15 minutes and then quit altogether. We can finish roofing tomorrow.”
Later that evening, we sat on the deck, drank good scotch whiskey and watched stars dimpling the lapis-blue sky. “If you’re lucky enough to live in the mountains,” Frank said, “you’re lucky enough.”
Paul Sullivan has never met a cabin he didn’t like.