So I’m sitting in the Crested Butte Town Council chambers before the start of last Monday’s meeting and former councilman Skip Berkshire sits down. He mentions my apparently rapidly graying hair and I make a comment about his apparently failing eyesight.
The room is chock full of people from toddlers to parents there to hear mayor Jim Schmidt read a proclamation declaring December 18 the International Day of the Migrant in the town of Crested Butte. Before he begins, the mayor notes that he is the grandson of migrants who fled Europe in 1911 just before the start of World War I. A translator conveys his words to the crowd in Spanish and they nod in appreciation. As he reads the proclamation the room is quiet and then there is applause as the translator ends the proclamation that concludes “…I urge all citizens to observe the day by encouraging fair, just and comprehensive immigration reform to provide principled and ethical solutions to our nation’s and community’s immigration situation.”
I like that. It calls for fairness and justice. It acknowledges a problem in need of addressing. It doesn’t advocate opening the borders and it doesn’t say it’s okay to take people’s children away from them when they try to flee a nightmare for a better life.
Another part of the proclamation states that the United States and its founding documents “have become beacons of hope for people all over the globe seeking a better life and peaceful future.”
I like that too because it is true. We should be thankful we live in such a country that is indeed a beacon of hope as opposed to a dungeon of hate and fear. One could extrapolate that Crested Butte provides a beacon for those who are a little weirder than the average and also want a better but different life.
While I could argue that a certain segment of our country, including the current occupant of the Oval Office, appears more comfortable fanning flames of fear and divisiveness, the majority of people in this nation still believe in the beacon of hope that is the United States of America. Yeah, the place isn’t perfect and there are problems but the great experiment in representative democracy is still working. The man who would be king is still accountable to the people … and that is just one of the rays of light coming from that beacon of hope that is our country. For that we can be thankful. And the courts. Thank you judges.
And I must say, the room full of smiling faces, there to celebrate migration—a place we all have ties to, by the way—was heartwarming.
A similar proclamation and scene took place Tuesday in Mt. Crested Butte. Some people in the audience said they were immigrants who worked hard in Mt. Crested Butte and didn’t have the time to take advantage of the amenities. Mayor Todd Barnes thanked them for all their hard work and appreciated all their contributions to the community.
It is a weekend to be thankful.
As a ski resort community, we can be thankful for a weather forecast that is calling for real snow this weekend.
We can be thankful for family and friends who make the trek back to this mountain village to share good cheer and memories.
We can be thankful for a quintessential small town community parade that stops traffic with a championship soccer team displaying the coach’s pants and being led by a grinning cop shaking his pompom. Thanks, Anthony.
We can be thankful the ski season has begun and it already includes a chance to hitch a ride on Paradise. I hear the Bowl is phenomenal.
We can be thankful for those who choose to celebrate the holiday in this valley. And why wouldn’t they? Look around. The views are stupendous, the alpenglow brilliant and small town vibe is still real.
Skip was so taken with the idea of thankfulness he came to the Town Council meeting Monday to do nothing more than express gratitude. He thanked the council for their hard work and dedication. He thanked the staff for keeping a pretty wonderful town running pretty smoothly. He thanked everyone in town government for contributing to the making of a pretty special place.
And I’ll second Skip’s exuberance. It goes for not just the town of Crested Butte but everyone in this unique valley. We are still a place where people lift a finger off the steering wheel to “wave” at neighbors. We can still argue with one another and then buy each other a beer. We can still walk in an establishment and at least recognize a face and start a conversation with nothing more than a “Did you get on the Paradise Lift today?” question that starts an hour discussion.
This place is not always easy but it is still one great community. As Skip pointed out, that is the case all of the time but it is not always acknowledged.
So on this Thanksgiving Weekend, do that. Look around. Breathe the crisp air. Pray that a forecast for 3 to 5 turns into 10 to 14 … but be thankful if we get 3 to 5. Look at the glistening night sky and ride a free bus that happens to be a work of moving art. Tell someone new that you appreciate or even love them.
If you are in Crested Butte as a local or a visitor you are one of the fortunate souls in this world. Honest. So muster up some thankful … and enjoy a wonderful holiday weekend in a wonderful mountain town.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.