Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Did this post last Friday, but just now able to put it up.

It's Friday morning, July 5, early, and I'm sitting here in the Canfield's (Ken's parents) living room, the only one up so far, looking out at the remnants of an overnight rain, just enjoying the quiet.  We've been here in Aspen since Monday, and it's been a busy, but totally fun filled few days.  This living room is so beautiful, with some architectural touches that evoke aspects of a southwestern heritage, plus a gorgeous network of massive wooden beams below a wood paneled ceiling, buttressing the roof structure.  There are all these unique lighting features throughout, giving it just a warm and cozy feel.  And Carleen has decorated it with lots of southwestern artifacts, along with a number of paintings Ken did over the years, just a wonderful place to be.  Ken and Carleen are such gracious hosts, and just make you feel like you're so welcome when you're here.  We've been so happy to establish this new tradition of coming here over July 4, a wonderful way to connect with them and to enjoy the incredible array of outdoor activities the area has to offer.

Ken's dad had fallen and broken his hip this past February, and has had a long and sometimes arduous recovery, which is still ongoing.  So Tuesday Ken and his mom took his dad to the doctor for an update evaluation, and while they were doing that, Shelley and Trisha walked into Aspen to explore the shops and I went for a 3 hour bike ride along the wonderful trail system they have here--Ken's dad let me ride his bike, which has many more speeds than the ours, so it was wonderful to ride the hills!  Rode to the end of the East of Aspen Trail, then back past their house and on into downtown, where I connected with the Rio Grande Trail, riding along the Roaring Fork River through town and on toward Woody Creek.  It's a spectacular trail, with the roar of the rapids on one side, and the mountains on the other, as the trail ascends high above the river and the mountain vistas are just stunning.

Shelley and Trisha were having a ball going into all these shops, and just enjoying the spectacular flowers that proliferate downtown.  There are beautiful window boxes full of petunias, massive hanging baskets full of glorious colors of all different flowers, little plots on corners bursting with lupin, larkspur, peonies, paper poppies, and, a sight you're likely to see nowhere else, along a construction barrier, they have long window boxes full of flowers!  Just a sight to behold!  And, there is a thrift store here that's unlike anything you've ever seen.  Ken's mom worked there as a volunteer for years, and it has an amazing selection of clothes, many of which are virtually new.  They found several things for me to come look at the next day---and it paid off!  I was able to find some wonderful new shirts, a beautiful sweater (red, of course!!), and a good jacket that I will need when we get to cooler climes, since the one I brought with us when we left is now way too big.

Ken got a good report from the doctor, for which we were all very happy!  He still has a long way to go, but it's wonderful to see progress.  He and Carleen have always been so physically active, it's been a tough situation with this fall limiting activities for both of them, so we're hoping for continued progress and recovery.

Wednesday, Ken Sr. had an appointment with the physical therapist, so while Ken and his mom took him to the doctor, Shelley, Trisha and I went for a hike, doing the Upper Lost Man Trail up to Independence Lake.  This is near Independence Pass, and you start out at a fairly high altitude, so we could feel it as we gained nearly a thousand more feet up to the lake.  But it was just so beautiful, with tons of glorious wildflowers, spectacular views of snow capped rugged mountains, brilliant green foliage of many different hues--it's all such an alpine feel to it, evokes memories of Switzerland--almost expected Julie Andrews to appear singing The Sound of Music!  We got up to the lake and there was a big snowbank, still rather deep, not yet melted, along one side of the lake, so I was able to make a few snowballs!  There were two couples at the lake when we arrived, with a chocolate lab, and they were throwing a stick out into the lake for him to retrieve.  At first he was quite enthusiastic, but the longer the game went on, the more he seemed to hesitate before jumping back into the icy cold waters--once we tested how cold the water was, I can hardly blame the pooch, especially when we learned how old he was!  Hiking down was much quicker, and Trisha had it in her "airport mode," (for some reason that none of us in the family can explain, when she gets into an airport, she just takes off at breakneck speed walking to the gate--she would make the old OJ Simpson ads look like he was crawling!!) and I had a hard time keeping up with her!  But it was a fantastic hike, and very exhilarating.  So glad we did it.

We were so glad that Ken Sr. got a great report from the physical therapist, and is now able to use just his cane, and no longer has to use the walker, and was cleared to start going up and down stairs!  This is great news!  Still has a good deal of pain sometimes, but good to see progress.  We went to another wonderful restaurant  for a lovely dinner--I had the most delicious roasted acorn squash stuffed with curried quinoa and cauliflower stew, just totally yummy!!  Carleen knows the chef there, and is going to try to get us the recipe--sure hope she can!

Yesterday was the annual 4th of July parade, always a highlight of the time here.  Ken Sr. always loves marching in the parade with his fellow WWII vets, and I have enjoyed marching with veterans of my era as well, since we started coming here for the 4th.  Well, when he got up in the morning, he was afraid he may not be feeling up to the parade, even riding in one of the vehicles, and that was a real downer for all of us, as he so looks forward to this every year.  But Ken was able to arrange for him to drive his dad in his car, which made it possible for Ken Sr. to participate--we were all so happy this could work out.  It's a wonderful experience to march with the veterans--everyone is cheering and so supportive.  People come running out to shake your hand and say thanks for your service.  Last year I had made a Tshirt that said "Yes, Santa was in the Army!" and had a lot of fun with that.  This year that shirt was just too big, but I had a red shirt on anyway and had lots of fun joking with spectators about Santa's Army service.  This parade is a wonderfully chaotic affair, with anyone and everyone who wants to participate being able to do so, just a joyful, fun time.  Since the veterans section is pretty early on in the parade, after we finished, Ken, his dad and I were able to join Carleen, Trisha and Shelley at the bleachers they had set up at the Senior Center to watch the rest of the parade.

Came home for a luxurious afternoon nap before heading to the Music Tent of the Aspen Music Festival for the annual 4th of July patriotic orchestra concert.  The Aspen Music Festival is a wonderful series of tremendous performances throughout the summer, and they also have a music school for performers and conductors.  The orchestra for this concert is composed completely of students at the music school, who volunteer to participate, which is wonderful, since they have such a rigorous schedule of classes all summer long.  The conductor is wonderful, and so energetic, himself an alum of the conductor program at the music school.  He always adds a new red white or blue accessory to his outfit, and it's a tradition to see what new item he will be sporting when he comes on stage.  This year it was a pair of bright red shoes to complement his sparkling red and blue vest and his red bow tie!  The concert was really wonderful, with a rendition of Aaron Copeland's Lincoln Portrait, with Anna Deveare Smith performing an emotionally thrilling narration of excerpts from a number of Lincoln's speeches--just brought me to tears when she was quoting from the Gettysburg Address.  It brought back memories of when my father took my brother and me to the Lincoln Memorial in DC, and, as we stood before that impressive statue and read the words of that address, Daddy said, son, this was the greatest American President ever, and I looked up and saw tears running down his cheeks, a memory I'll never forget and an experience that was so formative in my views on equality.  And they did a heart stopping rendition of the 1812 Overture--Trisha was so excited, since she played the bass clarinet when her high school band did this piece--she said her fingers were automatically moving to mime the notes!

After the concert we had drinks at the home of Joe and Edith, dear friends of Shelley and Ken and his parents, who are lawyers with offices in both Alabama and New York, and have been Ken's colleagues in cases through the years.  They have a home here in Aspen and are in the process of moving their law offices here permanently.  Joe is from Monroe County, Alabama, and was a high school football star heavily recruited by Bear Bryant for the Crimson Tide.  He went to Harvard instead, but when he came back to U of Alabama for law school, he had a funny encounter with the Bear.  As he was walking across campus, the Bear hailed him down, calling him by name.  When Joe commented on how impressed he was that Coach Bryant remembered his name after three years when he never even played for him, Bryant replied, "Son, you're the only guy who's ever turned me down to go to Harvard!"

Then we went for dinner at Cache Cache, one of Aspen's most outstanding restaurants, and had the most incredible dinner.  The restaurant is owned by one of Shelley's classmates from Northside High School in Atlanta, and he's also the chef.  We saw Chris when we first arrived and had a nice visit with him before they seated us in the lovely outdoor patio area.  Well, we were in for a delightful treat, as the waiters kept bringing out these wonderful unique courses that the chef just sent out for us.  There aren't words to describe how delicious it all was--more than three hours later when we left we were all so pleasantly full and happy!  And we had a delightful visit with a young man who joined us for dinner--he is a classmate at Lawrence University with Ken's son, Jack.  Both Jack and his friend, Alex, are serious music students and budding opera singers.  Jack is studying in Italy this year, while Alex was accepted into the music school here.  After much prompting, he told us that he's one of the few undergraduate students selected for this program, most of the students having either masters or doctorate degrees, and some already performing professionally.  He's been cast with a great part in Candide, for later in the summer, but it was fun to be with him.  Since Trisha has a good friend in Atlanta who is involved with the Southeast auditions for the Met in New York, she hopes she can help him make a contact there.  A delightful way to end the 4th!

Some of the beautiful flowers in downtown Aspen

Some shots along the route of my bike ride--this first is a bridge across a waterway in a nature preserve

 Love seeing groves of aspen trees with the evergreens!
 On the Rio Grande Trail, the Roaring Fork River down below, if you enlarge this you can see a cyclist on the trail above the river
 Pretty spectacular scenery along the ride!

 Lots of lupin!

Heading up the Upper Lost Man Trail

Trisha and Shelley on the trail
 The Roaring Fork, fed by the snowmelt

Just some of the beautiful wild flowers on the trail
 Looking back down into the valley we had hiked through

 At Independence Lake
 Still a good bit of snow by the lake
 Couldn't resist making some snowballs!

 Leroy, retrieving a stick in the icy waters of Independence Lake--his owners kept throwing the stick, ut after a while, Leroy got a little tired of the cold water!
 Just magnificent views!

 Heading back down

 Back at the RV
4th of July Parade

 Passing by where Trisha, Shelley and Carleen were watching
 Here come two vets from quite different eras!

Ken and his dad--his dad still has his WWII cap
 Ken and Carleen after the parade
 Gorgeous flowers along a construction barrier downtown
 Look at these amazing window boxes!


  1. Love the post and pictures............


  2. Trish, I KNOW the restaurant Cache, Cache had to have a geocache there - that would be too good to pass up! You should have looked!Jennifer