Saturday, February 18, 2023

134-Uncle Albert's Mountain, Joe and The Bank; The Lure of The Mountain King; Chapter IX

     “Good to see you, Joe. How’s the season going?”

     “Best one yet, Gordon. The skier numbers are up. Why did you call me in?”

     “Let me tell you.”

Gordon Hughes was the president of the Summit County National Bank and Trust. He was the man who had pushed the hardest for the loan when Joe purchased the Basin. He unbuttoned his jacket and tucked in his western shirt into his denim jeans and motioned for Joe to sit down.

     “I’ve had a visit from Senator Blackwell’s Company yesterday.”

Joe sat bolt upright, his full attention focused on every word.

     “At first, I thought they simply wanted the loan balance. I declined any information. Then they started asking more sensitive and indiscreet questions. For example, they wanted to know what conditions would cause us to recall the loan.”

     “Jesus, by the Jesus, you didn’t discuss that with them, did you?”

    “ No, of course not. But Joe, they can easily get that information and use it against you.”

     “How can they as long as I fulfill the terms of my contract?’

     “Joe, Joe, you and I both know there are a lot of grey areas in all contracts. Any of which, brought to the attention in the wrong light, might cause us to demand the loan payment in full. The Board of Trustee’s makes the final decisions. I have absolutely no say in the matter.”


Joe was beginning to realize the lengths these people would go to get what they wanted. There was no such thing as fair play. His Dad always said, “You want fair, play baseball, they have Umpires.” It was starting to seem like he had no chance, no chance what so ever.

     “Is there anything I can do?” his voice cracked in despair.

     “Short of paying off the loan,” the president shook his head. “Absolutely nothing I’m afraid.”

     “Thanks Gordon,” Joe stood unsteadily, “I appreciate you keeping me informed.”

     “I wish I could help you,” he sat in his chair.

He was intelligent, personable. Gordon lacked creativity, there probably was something he could have done, but he would never think of it.

     “Say hello to Karen for me,” he said.

     “I will. Take care.”

Joe left the offices feeling completely violated. They were digging deeply into his personal affairs, leaving no stone unturned. Methodically, they were picking every bit of his life apart, looking for anything and everything to force him to sell. He started the Mercedes and decided to drive up to the top of Loveland Pass.

Friday, February 17, 2023

133-Uncle Albert's Mountain,( The Lure of The Mountain King;) David; Chapter VIII

It hadn't snowed in five day's, the last traces of powder in the back bowls had settled. The heavy crud and chunks were still good skiing. The trails had been groomed and packed to perfection through this cold dry period. It would have been excellent by Eastern Standards, to the hard core Rocky Mountain powder hounds, it wasn't much fun at all. Tom was busy at work in the upstairs guest rooms of the Lodge. He was replacing old bathroom faucets for new ones. This arrangement with Joe was perfect. He would spend four hours in the morning, on a dry day, and then head up the mountain around noon. If any amount of powder had fallen, he'd ski the fresh snow until he was tired, usually in the afternoon when the tourists took over. He didn't hate other skiers, they just seemed to get in the way of his fun. It was an inside joke between the skiers on the circuit. They made fun of the tourist's because of their expensive outfits. Nine out of ten fell getting off he chair, or were a mess and skiing out of control on the mountain. The local's called them rubber Larry's for the way the waved their arms chaotically to try and gain control before they had a yard sale when they fell. Most of the bum's didn't own much more than the clothes on their backs, and their skis. Jealousy is cruel no matter who catches it. It was a perfect balance, the bum's buzzed the tourists at incredible speeds, frightening and amazing them with their abilities. The tourists got their licks in by slowly crisscrossing the trails haphazardly. The ski bum's had to dodge them like racing gates.


     "Come on loosen up," he yelled at the rusted old iron fitting, with a final yank the whole pipe broke off in his hands.

     "Just great," he snapped. "Now, I have to..."

     "Not going to well, eh?" Joe stood there with his hands deep in his pockets. "There is someone here to see you. He's having lunch on the deck. You can finish tomorrow."

     "Best idea I've heard all day," Tom stood up. "Don't know my own strength," he slapped his hands on his dusty work pants. Joe Stayed behind to pack as Tom ran down the hall to the locker room.

David Randall was a handsome man, short clean cut blonde hair and a salon tan. He had made his fortune selling insurance to middle aged and old retired couples. The women loved him. The men admired him for the spark he put in their wives eyes. He was happily married with three children; Tom, Drew and Mallory. Tom knew his godson only from the pictures that David had sent to him. He felt guilty and kept promising he would spend more time with the family. Next summer, that was three summers ago. He looked at his friend with a deep envy as he approached. David had stayed behind. Tom had shown him the mountains and the freedom and the lifestyle. David had chosen to stay behind while Tom had left to find his dreams. He had built quite a life for he and his family, back East, with a fine home and all the things that make life comfortable and predictable. Tom had lived more than most men ever dream of in a lifetime. Next to David he thought he didn’t stack up. He wondered some times if it was all worth the sacrifices, the wandering, the loneliness. Tom wondered, that is, until the next powder run. He didn’t wonder one minute after that.

     “ Well, did you bring them?”

     “Bring what?”

     “Come on Dave, you know.”

     “Honestly Tom, I have no idea what you are talking about.”

     “Dave, if you didn’t bring them, you can turn around right now and go back home and get em.”

     David smiled broadly, turning toward and orange and blue Solomon ski bag, he pulled out a rectangular white box with lettering on it.

     “Here,” he tossed the box to Tom. “There’s your Freihoffer’s Choclate Chip Cookies, there are several more inside, incase you decide to hoard or share. I don’t care which!”

    “Alright Dave! I knew you’d come through. You have no idea how happy I am you remembered. It brings a tear to a Ski Bum’s eye,” Tom feigned wiping away a tear.

    “Couldn’t forget a friend.”

    “I thought you weren’t coming until next week?”

    “Change of plans old buddy, I’m on a working vacation right now. All expenses paid. Thank you very much!”

     How’d you swing that?”

     “Well, it turns out my venerable employer’s are underwriting A-Basin for the insurance of the new owner’s. I’m here to check things out and assess the risk.”

  “Joe’s selling the Basin?” Tom could not believe the news.

  “Sometime this spring, I believe. I guess he didn’t tell you. I hope I haven’t overstepped my position.”

Tom stood looking over the railing at the smiling attendant helping the long line of skiers on to the lift. He didn’t know what to say. The wind had been taken from his sails. He felt like it was his mountain being sold. It was his dream dying. Something inside of him was dying, he didn’t trust himself to speak. He had gotten so close to Joe in such a short time, he didn’t want his, whatever this was, to end. Now Joe was selling the mountain out form underneath him. Not just him, but the whole family at the Basin were losing their home.

     “I-I’m sorry,” he apologized, “It’s just shocking to hear we are being sold to a lifeless corporation. There will be no more rides to the top for a finely rolled joint. All the attendant’s will be dressed like Disney Land, with their names and hometowns embroidered on their Lands’ End Parkas’. I never thought Joe would sell out like that,”

     “I was told he had no choice, that everyone had their price,” David replied. He wondered if it was the right thing to say.

     “Some things never change. What does the song say? The man in the suit has just bought a new car, from he profit he’s made on your dreams,” Tom said facing his old friend.

    “Would you excuse me for a couple of minutes? I got to take care of something.”

    “No problem. I want to get some skiing in though.”

    “We can do it. I’ll be right back,” Tom quickly turned and headed for Joe’s office.

                                                               *  *  *    

Tom was angry now. He really shouldn’t intrude, it wasn’t his business, he had to say something. This was his home, the closest thing he had ever known to a home. Tom was a loner, a drifter, never really getting attached to anyone or any one place. He loved this mountain and couldn’t explain why, his entire world was being threatened. It was the first time he wanted to stand for something. The door was open when he arrived ay Joe’s office and he barged right in.

     “So---, You’re selling out!

     “He told you, Huh?” Joe stood up walked around his desk slowly to the door and closed it.

     “I honestly can’t believe it! Why? Why would you sell to those slimy suit and tie creeps?”

     “Can’t you see?  There is nothing I can do. They have purchased the entire valley around me, turned the sentiment toward improvement and expansion. Quad lifts to the Pali, all the things I can’t afford. I’m the last, the last of a dying breed, the last hold out. I held out for as long as I could.”

     “There is always something that can be done! It’s gutless to sell out and allow the corporate machine to perpetuate itself. We can fight them! We can win! They don’t always have to win!”

     “I’m sorry son, not this time. It’s almost over, barring Divine Intervention or a Miracle it’s not likely to happen, this time.”

     “I’m not buying it. We can beat them at their game. You just don’t have the guts.”

     “Everything that can, has already been done. I resent being called a coward.”

Joe disliked being challenged by this young man.

     “It’s not your concern Tom. You don’t know what’s going on. Keep your smart ass remarks to yourself.”

     “Fine Joe,” Tom reached for the door. “Remember the Basin fell on your watch! You can crawl away into the sunset. Forget I ever cared. Forget you and the Men of the Tenth Mountain Division ever had a dream!” Tom slammed the door.

     “I did try,” Joe said to no one.

Each day weighed heavier as they came and went. He wasn’t sure how much more of this he could take. Everyone would be broken by the news. It was his actions that were directly responsible. Joe reached for the phone and dialed the number for Station Three.

     “Lance spread the word that there will be a meeting at the Moose Jaw. Everyone is to attend, absolutely no exceptions,” Joe hung up. He turned and glanced along the East Wall and toward the summit. He suddenly felt every year of his age.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

132- Developing a Positive Attitude Through Proper Thinking

 "You have to give your best every day, under any circumstances – and then you can succeed." But most people don't commit, or they're always thinking that everything goes wrong with them - that they're always unlucky. And why should things work out?

These people don't take time to cultivate the seeds of success in their brains; they get too busy with useless things. Maybe you don't think you have any seed of success in your intimate life, but you do. You can make it, you can make it. However, if you think "I'm finished", you certainly are, for you have already declared yourself a failure.

But if you stay positive and think "alright, I've got this" and keep trying, you can. "


"How can I do this," you say. "Nothing ever works out for me." Stop Now! 

Through proper thinking, meditation, devotion, persistence you can change your outcomes in Life. Nothing comes of nothing. Do not have a defeatist attitude no matter what your circumstances. Realize that you are a Child of God and that your are here to fulfill your own destiny. Make a Promise to yourself and to your Father that you will do everything in your power to change your circumstances as of right now. Do not accept defeat or failure. It is not in the stars for you. Remember as a Child when all the World was a wonderment to you. Perhaps you laid on the ground stared at the sky and dreamed of all the great things you would achieve. Today is the day to achieve them.

The World is a place of wonder again. Do not allow the closed mind and thinking of others to cloud your horizons. Determine what it is that you want from this world and then go out and do it. No more Tomorrows, there is only today. Grab this day and shake the most from it. When you exercise your Father's will for you all things are possible. All the Miracles of the World are at your beckon call. Go forward in the knowledge and assurance that you are the Great Conquer you have always dreamed of being.

I would never have imagined that after 34 years of living in the State of Colorado, I would move to the Desert of Nevada to live in the Colorado Bay Club. God does work in mysterious ways. I will begin again working on The Lure of the Mountain King, as much as I enjoyed Mrs. Peach not everyone else seems to, besides the 2026 Winter Olympics are like Goliath and he is calling out my name.

I have Mountains to Conquer before I sleep.