Lessons from a Covid vacation

As one might expect, it is hard to contain a virus in a single-family home. We tried, but shortly after Thanksgiving, I saw the dreaded two lines on the Covid test and went into suburban quarantine. 

My bout was less fever and chills and more drippy and bored. Social media and the screen portal sucked me in for a couple days, but it was easy to disengage after seeing one too many photos of leftover pie or someone shredding Peanut. 

The news feeds on the screen were filled with the horror of Gaza and the geriatric couple rerunning their presidential race. While his team seems to still be impactful, ‘ol Joe is looking pretty feeble these days. We all wonder what he’ll look like in five years. Just sayin.’ I’ll vote for him over the other old guy but…I’m one of those who would love to see him take a bow and step aside. Meanwhile, the best description I saw online about Donald and his age came from a conservative columnist who described him as “manically vigorous, like an alligator that swallowed a bottle of Cialis.” Where is Nikki Haley or Gavin Newsom when you need them?

Moving away from the computer and to old-school books, I got caught in what normally would be a summer beach read for several days. Reading is transportive and I found myself in the Florida Keys, London and on an Indonesian island. Maybe staying up well past a typical bedtime for a guy with a bad cold didn’t help to shake the sniffles, but I had to finish the swashbuckling Ted Bell adventure that was for some reason on my shelf with an autograph addressed to me. Maybe he was in CB?

Knowing that just the Red Lady Express was running on the mountain for the first week of the 2023-24 ski season, I admit I still missed it. Friends were taking lap after lap and having a good time sliding on the snow. I keep being told that is how to get your legs in shape for Banana in February. Probably, so I’m behind the curve. It is the start of the winter tourism season, and it is good to have that energy back.

Taking several walks a day with our slow dog was the primary exercise and I discovered through socially distanced conversations that the big neighborhood news was that a school bus was scheduled to start serving the kids this week. That’s big news for anyone and I saw the now local hero, bus driver Chris Keogh, picking up the kids Tuesday morning. There are no happier moms (and dads) in the North Valley right now. A big yellow bus should also be seen in CB South as well. Progress!

Another subtle hero with a local connection to the valley was laid to rest this week. Rosalynn Carter spent most of her life working on humanitarian projects alongside her husband, former president Jimmy Carter. She was a staunch advocate of mental health reform and destigmatizing mental illness. She died on November 19 at the age of 96. By all accounts she was full of grace and touched people all over the world including in Crested Butte. 

Our friend John Norton got to know her well through her work helping to get what is now known as the Crested Butte Adaptive Sports Center off the ground. Norton was on the guest list for the funeral and reports that her family is still doing good work for people in need. “The whole remembrance was a celebration of her life in Christ and her life helping others,” he relayed Tuesday. “That she had the energy to help us create Adaptive is remarkable. I had tears coming down my cheeks several times during the service. A remarkable person.”

This place attracts remarkable people.

Assistant county manager for Health and Human Services Joni Reynolds said the county team is seeing some increase in respiratory illness numbers in the community of late. That would include RSV, influenza and covid. Quarantine is no vacation, no matter how mild the case or how pleasant the surroundings. To see the single line on the test Tuesday was not only a relief but actually joyful. It meant I could leave the suburban quarantine and re-engage with this place. I could again experience life through more than a screen or a 400-page book. Both of those things are okay and actually really good in doses, but it will be nice to again have the option to physically ski Peanut and head back to work and talk to people face-to-face. 

As is obvious with the chaos that is happening in the rest of the world, being confined to a house in the mountains for a week with a fun book is not the most painful experience in the world…but it can be a reminder of how good we actually have it. And we have it pretty good. 

—Mark Reaman

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