Another hot, mostly cloudless day in Denver. I'm beginning to think this might be a very short Fall and go from late Summer to winter in a couple of weeks, it's happened before in the mountains, but I don't know if Denver sometimes does that.
I've seen times when I lived in the mountains when we didn't even have a leaf season; just as the leaves started to change, it got cold, killed the leaves, they turned brown, and fell off. And if you're in the tourist business, as was I at the time, that made for a very tough year.
As I've mentioned before, the money I earned all Summer in the restaurant business went for paying bills, mortgages, employees pay, and taxes. And the money I made during leaf season was what I had to live on. So the beauty and duration of leaf season were of prime importance not just to my family and me but to the lives of every family trying to scratch out a living in Cripple Creek.
And it wasn't just the business people that suffered when only a few tourists were in town. There was basically only two places to work in Cripple Creek, at the mine, or in a tourist business; restaurants, gift shops, and places like that. So if the tourist businesses were doing poorly, it affected everyone living and working in Cripple Creek.
It wasn't always going to be that way; sooner or later, mortgages would be paid off; probably a lot later than sooner, but if everything went according to plan, times would get better, and the work would get easier. But it's pretty hard to plan when leaf seasons can go from almost a month-long to maybe one week before the leaves are falling off the trees.
Or the time the 100-year-old single-lane railroad tunnel that became the main road to Cripple Creek partially collapsed, and since the tourists didn't know how to find the dirt road that bypassed the tunnel, most of the business folks in town had to borrow money, or take out another mortgage, to survive.
But that's life in the tourist business. Business is seasonal, so you don't have much time to cover the nut, your success or failure is highly dependent on the weather and a dozen other variables beyond your control; which is just like most other businesses except you have a very short period of time to make up your losses before all the tourists go home, and your left staring at empty sidewalks rapidly being covered with snow.
Happy little squirrel playing in the yard and enjoying the last days of summer.
My family and their friends camping at Sand Dunes National Park. One of the cell-phone pictures my daughter sent me of the kids cooking marshmallows over a campfire... Nothing says camping like flaming marshmallows over a campfire.
My granddaughters in the green shirt cooking marshmallows, and my grandson is sitting at the picnic table in the red shirt. Their too young yet to realize the significance of times like this, but when they get older they will understand the importance of time spent with the family.