'Tis a privilege to live in Colorado: Cal-orado reunion finally pulls into Denver

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The Calhoun family Cal-orado reunion -- a crazy jumble of travel by planes (although not many from the snowbound East Coast), trains and automobiles -- started yesterday morning at Snow Mountain Ranch outside of Granby, where I'd snapped a photo of a New Year's Day rainbow, and ended last night at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, the only stop my Chicago brother-in-law had demanded be placed on our itinerary.

As we sipped Patty's Chile Beer (yes, named after me two decades ago, when the Westword office was across the street and the late Russell Scherer, the Wynkoop's original brewer, called me over after he'd brewed a batch of chile beer that everyone else thought was too hot), we watched the eastbound California Zephyr pull into the station (22 members of my family had taken the Zephyr from Chicago to Granby four days before) and talked about how remarkable it was to sit in a brewpub still bearing the stamp of another co-founder, John Hickenlooper, who's about to become governor of Colorado.

By then, just about every family member who does not already live in Colorado -- and eight of us do, including my parents' first great-grandchild -- was trying to figure out how they could relocate here. My parents are already planning to make a move to a retirement community in the Denver suburbs -- surely their last move, since the Cal-orado celebration was planned to mark their sixtieth anniversary and my father's 85th birthday. (Last night, my father calculated that this trip -- which included a stay at Snow Mountain, a bargain of a YMCA facility -- cost more than the first house he and my mother bought.) Other relatives face bigger hurdles: finding jobs, for example, and selling houses in cash-strapped states.

But just as I was drawn to Colorado 34 years ago, they're intoxicated by the endless promise of this place: the opportunities to build a business, build a life, amidst awe-inspiring vistas. Including New Year's Day rainbows. Read more about this trip in the Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archives.

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