Arts & Entertainment – The Pagosa Springs SUN The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Wed, 29 Jul 2020 20:13:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Arts & Entertainment – The Pagosa Springs SUN 32 32 Curtains Up Pagosa welcomes new president and treasurer Mon, 03 Aug 2020 11:00:32 +0000

Photo courtesy Dale Johnson
Ricardo and Nora Martinez, the new president and treasurer, respectively, for Curtains Up Pagosa.

By Dale Johnson
Curtains Up Pagosa

In the fall of 2018 during auditions for Curtains Up Pagosa’s (CUP) “Nutcracker the Musical,” we were delighted to meet a young newcomer to Pagosa, Sophie Martinez, who stole our hearts with her song and dance, and kindness. Little did we know then how big a part she and her family would play in our organization. 

So, this year when Kim and Walt Moore announced they would be stepping back from their board roles and we were pondering who might fill their shoes, I went straight to Ricardo and Nora Martinez, Sophie’s parents. They had already been active in volunteering with CUP since they moved here, helping out with every aspect of productions. We had already observed their kindness and support with our cast, especially our young actors. We were beyond excited and very grateful when they accepted taking on the responsibilities of Ricardo as president and Nora as treasurer.

The Martinez family came to us from Laredo, Texas, where they both worked in public health. They actually learned about Pagosa from an article in Cowboys and Indians Magazine. They came to Pagosa initially to escape the Texas heat and then, like so many of us, fell in love with the mountains, the beauty, the peace of this place. Ricardo and Nora Martinez also were touched and impressed with Pagosa’s hospitality and the kindness of its people.

Ricardo Martinez is the clinic director at Archuleta Integrated Healthcare, part of the Axis Health System, while Nora Martinez is the director of Head Start locally. Sophie Martinez will enter sixth grade in the fall.

When I asked Ricardo Martinez why he would be willing to take on this challenging role, he said that while watching many rehearsals and being part of CUP productions that he had “been touched and inspired to see kids of all ages, from 9-90, give so much of themselves, for the love of performing and music and dance and theater.” 

Watching them interact, mentor and support each other, seeing self-confidence grow, and watching personal transformations had a big impact on both Ricardo and Nora Martinez. CUP is wrapping its arms in a virtual hug around the Martinez family as they step into CUP.

Artist’s Lane: Who’s thinking anyways Mon, 03 Aug 2020 11:00:05 +0000 By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

Are we being conditioned or conformed by what we are hearing and seeing? I’d like to know. Are we beating the air, asking the wrong questions, taking things at face value? Maybe it’s time to flip the script and ask God what he thinks.

In the ‘70s, there was a nightclub that catered to thousands of young people. The successful hot spot was called the Mind Bender; a drug den by no better name. I wondered if those who frequented the place knew their minds were being altered. Similar to how I view things today, it certainly makes me wonder if the narrative of today’s media is doing the same.

A Facebook post caught my attention: “God, do my thinking for me.” Now that is one sound-minded statement. 

Look around. It seems as if people are beating the air in every conceivable direction. Each new day is about as scattered as the direction of the wind. 

What does God think about what is happening in the world today?

The Bible tells us that in the last days, things will be altered, even unrecognizable. Is that what’s happening? Did we move from what we once called normal, into isolation, now the unknown, all without reason or thought? 

As we come out of hiding with our faces covered, are we asking the right questions, even more so, holding steadfast for answers? 

I went to Durango to have some car repairs done. A distant voice shouted with great emotion, “It’s a city ordinance, you must wear a mask.” Within seconds, I had made an enemy. I didn’t mean to. I wanted to ask why I had to wear a mask if alone and in my own car, but didn’t push for the answers I was seeking. 

I can respect an “ordinance,” but the unwelcoming voice was different than what I had heard before. It was shrouded in fear and judgment, all because I didn’t know the new rules. Now, understanding the science behind the mask, I know that what I had heard was a dictate of social behavior, not an explanation of the line to toe.

Yes, we need to be mindful and purposeful with our words and actions when it comes to the environment that we are in. We also need to ensure that we never lose sight of our destiny and the path that leads us there. 

Paul was just as perplexed as some today when he wrote these words to the church of Corinth: “Run in such a way that you may obtain the prize. I run thus, not with uncertainty. Thus I fight, not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest I become disqualified.”

Evidently, Paul saw something similar to today, in his day. People were running around beating the air without regard for where they should place their focus. The mask of the present Christian community? Prophetic interpretation. So much man-made noise causing us to take our eyes off of the prize. 

Unfortunately, as in Paul’s day, the lack of focus on sound biblical doctrine caused people to turn away from the faith. We have become so focused on that which masks, that we have forgotten basic hygienic principles. 

In the book of Hebrews 13:8-9, the writer says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace …”

Like wearing a mask, I believe in the prophetic. However, the mask is not going to cure us, just as the prophetic is not going to save us. These things need to come with truth labeling. 

We are told in 2 Corinthians 2:17, “For we are not as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.” (NKJV)

Final brushstroke: As Christians, we know we are in a race, running on a track that is rough and constantly changing. While we have to be aware of the hurdles and detours, we don’t want to be thrown off course. One thing we can be sure of is that God will complete what he started. He even knows how all of this will end. So, the next time you just don’t get it or need wisdom, ask God to do the thinking for you. It’s a safe bet he knows exactly how to keep you on track.

New column: The Writers’ Circle 

A call to all writers in the community: A new column is coming to The Pagosa Springs SUN, written by the people of Pagosa. Be it about daily adventures or those things that have taken you far and wide. Stories should be approximately 500-800 words. Send your submission, along with your name and telephone number, to Photos will only be published with your expressed permission. 

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Virtual Sunday Night Unplugged offered Sat, 01 Aug 2020 11:00:12 +0000 By Sally Neel
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church

One of the many downsides of being sequestered by COVID-19 has been the hiatus of Sunday Night Unplugged, a monthly service of music and meditation at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church. Though the church is offering limited-attendance Sunday morning services of morning prayer (no communion), the meditation service has not yet resumed. 

However, Fr. Doug Neel, retiring rector of St. Patrick’s, determined that it was important to have a videoed documentation of the service before leaving his post. 

“Although there are no guarantees as to the direction the parish will go with new leadership, it is the hope that Sunday Night Unplugged will remain a part of the church’s ministry,” Neel said. “The service has reached many in our community that do not attend regular church services or who attend church elsewhere.”

Sunday Night Unplugged is designed as a nondenominational service. It includes beautiful music, scriptural and secular readings, and prayers. The entire service is punctuated by periods of silence. The altar area is adorned with candles and other visual designs that offer a focal point of peace and an aid in prayer. Candles are also available to be lit by those who attend to symbolize specific prayers. 

The video includes music provided by violinist Heidi Tanner and pianist Sally Neel, two friends and musical colleagues who have played together for many years. 

“It is only fitting that I conclude my music ministry at St. Patrick’s with my friend, Heidi, who has so willingly offered her talents to us, both in our church services on Sunday mornings and at Sunday Night Unplugged. She is a wonderful artist and a special friend,” said Sally Neel, retiring music minister of St. Patrick’s. 

Sally Neel and Tanner are part of NightSong Trio that includes the very talented flutist Jessica Peterson. Due to the pandemic, the trio has not been able to play together over the past months, but they hope to resume their weekly rehearsals and occasional concerts as soon as it is possible to do so. 

“We hope the community will enjoy the recording of Sunday Night Unplugged,” Doug Neel said. “I would recommend that when you listen to it, that you find a quiet place where you can enjoy it without interruptions. There are spaces for silence on the video that are indicated by a bell. If you want to create your own time span for silence, I suggest you pause the video and resume whenever you choose. Though doing the service online is experimental, I feel it is a successful attempt. I hope that during this time of pandemic that you will refer to it whenever you feel the need or desire.”

The video is posted on the St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church Facebook page and on the website 

Thingamajig’s Perry Davis Harper wins best actor Fri, 31 Jul 2020 11:00:55 +0000

Photo courtesy Carole Howard
Perry Davis Harper, star of Thingamajig Theatre Company’s summer 2019 production of “Jekyll and Hyde,” won best actor in a musical from the Denver-based Henry Awards, known informally among actors as Colorado’s Tony Awards.

By Carole Howard
Thingamajig Theatre Company

Perry Davis Harper, star of Thingamajig Theatre Company’s summer 2019 production of “Jekyll and Hyde,” won best actor in a musical from the Denver-based Henry Awards, known informally among actors as Colorado’s Tony Awards.

Winners of these distinguished annual awards normally are honored at a gala event in Denver. Because of COVID-19, however, this year’s celebration was a virtual ceremony streamed live on YouTube on Sunday, July 26, that was available for viewing by thousands of friends and family of the nominees and fans of theaters throughout the state. 

Thanks to gremlins in cyberspace, however, Harper almost missed seeing the announcement of his win when the Internet went down at his new home in Charleston, Mo., just as his honor was being broadcast. He quickly reached for his phone, where he and his family watched the exciting news on its small screen. 

Reactions from Moore and Harper

“We are incredibly proud to have Perry honored with this award,” said Tim Moore, producing artistic director and co-founder of the theater with his wife, Laura. “When I first auditioned Perry in 2014, I knew he was something extraordinary. Not only is he a once-in-a-lifetime vocalist, but more important, he was actively seeking ‘community’ and meaningful artistic endeavors. 

“Perry is one of those unique performers you meet who you instantly want on your theatrical team. He inspires greatness with his commitment to excellence, is an amazing collaborative partner, and cares deeply about the work and the people he’s surrounded by.” 

Said Harper, “I am deeply humbled by this win. ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ was one of the most exciting and rewarding shows I have ever been a part of. I am so grateful to Tim and Laura for the opportunity, and to Melissa Firlit for her brilliant direction.” 

Harper became a local favorite when he first came to Pagosa in 2014 to play Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables.” Since then, he has performed in a variety of roles in six more Thingamajig productions, including “A Very Perry Christmas” and “Grand Night for Singing” over the holidays last December. Had the coronavirus not made Thingamajig go dark, Harper would have been on its stage this summer in the lead role of “Sweeney Todd,” another production that is an ideal platform for his amazing voice.

Other Thingamajig

This year, the prestigious Henry Awards also honored Thingamajig’s “Jekyll and Hyde” with two other major nominations — Melissa Firlit for best direction of a musical, and Thingamajig Theatre Company plus Firlit and music director Boni McIntyre for outstanding production of a musical. 

As well, Kathleen (“Kat”) Macari was nominated last year for outstanding actress in a musical for her performance in the lead role in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” directed by Dennis Elkins, during the summer 2018 season.

Nominations for the Henry Awards are determined through a judging process conducted by a panel of more than 100 statewide peer professionals, academics/educators and other theater lovers.

“Jekyll and Hyde” is a horror thriller musical loosely based on the Robert Louis Stevenson novella. It was part of Thingamajig’s highly successful Broadway in the Mountains 2019 summer musicals season that also included “Ring of Fire,” “The Who’s Tommy,” “Mamma Mia!” and “Alice in Wonderland.” 

Henry Awards

Established in 2006, the annual Henry Awards showcase outstanding achievements among members of the Colorado Theatre Guild, the largest not-for-profit theater organization in the U.S. 

Thingamajig competes in Tier 1 of the Henry rankings against prominent theaters with stellar reputations in Colorado. They include Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Creede Repertory Theatre, Arvada Center, Cherry Creek Theatre, Vintage Theatre and more. 

Normally, the Henry Awards season runs from June 1 through May 31 of the following year. Because of the shortened theater season due to COVID-19, this year the awards season closed on March 31. In the 2018-2019 season, judges saw 206 shows in Colorado. Because of the shortened season, judges saw only 157 shows for 2019-2020. About 40 shows were either canceled or postponed across the state because of the coronavirus.

More about Thingamajig

Thingamajig is an award-winning professional nonprofit 501(c)(3) theater in residence within the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. Its talented actors, directors and designers come from across the U.S. and around the world to produce musicals, comedies and dramas year-round. The theater closed in March because of public health directives relating to the coronavirus pandemic just as it was about to begin its 10th season. 

Thingamajig’s mission is to provide high-quality theater experiences at a low cost to our community, thereby making art accessible, as well as providing a major economic driver for our tourist industry. They also provide youth, many of whom are recipients of scholarships, with low-cost, hands-on educational opportunities to see and participate in professional productions of important plays.

Meet this year’s Pagosa stars who are dancing for your votes Tue, 28 Jul 2020 11:00:58 +0000

Photos courtesy Ursala Hudson, Jonathan Dobson and Robert Bonham
Top left to bottom right: Quinlan Quiros, Theresa Snyder, Blue Haas, Jonathan Dobson, Gabriel Heraty and Robert Bonham.

By Gabrielle Dorr
Seeds of Learning

Seeds of Learning is honored to announce the 2020 dancers who will be winning your hearts in our annual Dancing with the Pagosa Stars event. We selected these “Stars” for their community leadership, personality, and a belief in Seed’s education. 

If you have been following this event since April, then you will notice that our lineup of “Stars” and coaches has changed. Currently, our talented female “Stars” are Quinlan Quiros and Theresa Snyder. Our respected male “Stars” are Gabriel Heraty, Blue Haas, Jonathan Dobson and Robert Bonham. Due to safety precautions, we will be streaming this year’s Dancing with the Pagosa Stars online on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. 

Our incredibly generous stars have agreed to be paired with this year’s professional coaches including Ashley Butcher, Sharina Ramsay-Adams, Alora Pelligrino, Haley Hudson, Nolan King and John Gilliam. Our stars learn a dance routine choreographed just for them and then perform for your votes now through our broadcast on Sept. 26. It will be a magical night for everyone joining in and witnessing these stars performing their dance of a lifetime.

Right now, you can go to the Seeds website at to see the biography of each star who is competing for your votes. Voting is now open and each $1 vote moves a star closer to winning the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy and bragging rights as the winner of this year’s event. More importantly, all the proceeds go to sustaining the important work that Seeds of Learning does to prepare preschoolers for their successful future both in school and in life.

This year, ticket sales will open to the public in August. Watch our website and Facebook page ( for specific instructions on ticket purchase and other important event information.

During the next few weeks we will tell you more about our Pagosa stars and why they have agreed to support Seeds. Each has a unique story and everyone associated with Seeds feels very lucky to have their amazing support. Their commitment to raise critically needed funds to educate vulnerable at-risk preschool children is truly inspiring. When you see these folks around town, be sure to let them know how special they are, and don’t forget to vote.

Artist’s Lane: A serious dinner conversation Mon, 27 Jul 2020 11:00:11 +0000 By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

When our family gets together, we take turns telling stories that usually end up with an eruption of laughter. That is, until last Sunday’s family dinner. 

“Since you are all here, I’d like to read the instructions I wrote for my funeral.”

They looked at me in shock and then one of them said, “Well, I guess we should hear what you have to say.”

Another one asked, “Now? Is this really the most appropriate time?”

As I stood, the table groaned. I heard someone say under their breath, ”I hope she makes this fast, I’m sure I have somewhere else I need to be.”

I opened up our trust documents and prefaced my reading by saying, “We never know what tomorrow brings. I have given this a lot of thought. These pages reflect my last words on earth. This is a very solemn moment for me.”

All dry eyes were on me as my family sat back, ready to butt in with a joke or a few one-liners.

“OK, here goes. I’ve titled this ‘Upward Flux.’”

I had no more gotten that far into my reading when the table burst out in laughter. 

“Upward Flux. You mean like acid reflux or is that gastric reflux?”

“No, an upward movement to heaven. Flux, like the action or process of moving upward -— in faith.” 

The sound of rolling eyes was deafening. “Well, I guess I need to change the title.” 

“No, it’s perfect. Don’t change it. Keep reading.” 

The outbreak of comic relief kept my words anything but serious. Determined to get my last wishes out, I looked down at my typed pages and continued. 

“Since the Blanco River runs by our house and has always meant a lot to this family, I have decided to have my ashes placed in a nice urn and buried in a hole on the high ground next to the river. I know your dad feels the same way about his ashes.”

Our son, “Precious” said, ”Why don’t we just toss your ashes in the river. It would be less work and you would get to see the country side.”

My response was vehement. “My life has always been in an upward flux. I certainly don’t want to start floating down stream now. Please, do as I ask and make sure the hole is dug deep and on high ground. You remember June of 2019? The river rose so high that it ran over the banks and flooded the lower portion of our property. There must have been a hundred prairie dogs floating across its surface. I don’t want my next appearance after death to be bobbing around in a sea of rodents. And if you don’t mind, please install a nice headstone and plant a few flowers. This way I have some assurance that you will come visit out of obligation for watering the flowers.”

Again, with the wisecracks. “Note to self: Plastic flowers don’t require watering.”

“Bobbing urn and floating prairie dogs, now that’s a country song that writes itself.”

I don’t know why I bothered, but I continued. “A small intimate memorial to remember the things that were important about me would be nice. A picnic by the Blanco River would be a special touch. I want to have a festive day full of music. 

“Spring or fall would probably be a beautiful time for a little get-together, although June is full of pesky bugs and July can be so hot. Whenever the time is to be, I just want to look down at happy faces, and enjoy stories that celebrate my life. Promise me my memorial will not be marked by sad faces drenched in sweat while people swat at mosquitoes.”

I gave instructions to my artistic granddaughter. “I saved all my old paintbrushes. I’d like you to decorate them with red or turquoise ribbon. I spent years holding those brushes in my hand and have a crooked middle finger on my left hand to prove it.”

“Hold it up. Let us see it.” Laughter again.

“You’re making fun. This is serious.” 

“I’d like for my memorial to be by the river. Although, most of my friends are older and might not be able to make a 40-yard dash back to the bathroom in time. You better have a four-wheeler lined up and available for those who need a quick exit.”

“I love my Sweet Al, but I refuse to have Whiskey ruin the day. Besides, if she digs me up, you will have no other choice but to place me on the mantle. Angel, please hold your dad’s hand during the ceremony. I’m not sure what will make him cry more, me not being there or him not having Whiskey by his side.”

Final brushstroke: These conversations in life are never easy, but for family, very necessary. For me, I want to be remembered for Jesus who lives in me, who has allowed me to take the higher road, even when those around me poked fun or tried to drag me down. My children will probably do what they want and my son will probably try to see if urns float. But at least they know where my heart is and that is the greatest legacy I could ever hope to leave behind. 

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Curtains Up Pagosa says goodbye to long-time board members Sun, 26 Jul 2020 11:00:46 +0000

Photo courtesy Dale Johnson
Kim and Walt Moore, who served six years on the board of Curtains Up Pagosa, are stepping down as board members.

By Dale Johnson
Curtains Up Pagosa

Curtains Up Pagosa (CUP) has been quite busy with transitions and changes this year. 

For the past six years, we have been honored and extraordinarily blessed with having Kim Moore as our president and Walt Moore as our treasurer. The Moores are well-known locals who have worked here for years, raised their family and volunteered with many, many organizations. We were thrilled when they chose CUP to give their time and hearts to. 

They were not your typical board members, as in addition to their officer roles and responsibilities, you could find Kim Moore baking her signature cookies and cupcakes for show concessions, coming to rehearsal to give some love to our cast or helping with productions at the bus barn. Walt Moore was always running some show errand, hanging a sign at the library or picking up something at the store, again. 

We will always appreciate the endless hours of work and, more importantly, their belief in CUP’s music, and their service to kids and community. They gave their love and hearts freely. We will miss the meetings in front of the fire, with the dogs at our feet, talking and listening and dreaming and creating. 

Yes, the Moores have stepped down from their official roles, but will still continue to work with, support and believe in Curtains Up as volunteers. 

Artist’s Lane: A view from the top Mon, 20 Jul 2020 11:00:54 +0000 By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

We are living in a time when walls of division, disruption and distraction are appearing all around us. They have likely always been there; we just see them bigger and more solid than before. 

Some are made to keep us in, while others are there to keep us out. What used to be for personal safety now confines anxiety and memorializes pride. Constructed as a center line between the left and the right, or as a quarantine zone for religious dogma. What was once built as a demarcation of fact now marks the anomalous and perceived.

I take a day trip to see my family every summer. They own a cabin at the top of Cumbres Pass. As if left untouched by time, we can see the Toltec Railroad in the near distance. From the wrap-around porch, we can imagine a time much harder than today, but less complicated, to be sure. 

My family consists of many cousins and an only living aunt. Our kitchen table talk? Stories from the homestead. When a train ride down the mountain to sell milk and eggs meant buying fabric for clothes or oil for lamps. 

We love and care for each other, something that has been passed down throughout the generations. But our lineage is not seamless. My family members have a different theology than I do, which has created an invisible wall. It’s a partition that creates a certain restriction in any conversation.

We are all very passionate about our faith and how we worship God. To the casual observer, one would think we were perfectly aligned. Although we speak a similar language, our belief is not the same. 

There is a barrier between us, something we have learned to silently agree to let be. After our visit, we always make plans to see each other again. After all, we are still family. 

This year’s trip atop the mountain was just as the times before. We laughed about Uncle Donald antics and marveled over Grandma Jesse’s cooking. But to my surprise, the invisible wall of difference began to fall. There was a common concern and cry in all our hearts. Nothing we talked about seemed to be more important than the people of our nation and those we love.

When we were ready to leave, we prayed together and became united in our resolve. We experienced being one in heart and spirit for the first time since I left my family’s church at the age of 18.

The next day, I asked my Sweet Al what he thought about the visit and if he felt a difference. I said, “I feel like we folded our cards.”

“What do you mean?”

“We have always concealed a part of ourselves from each other, because we knew where the boundary lay. This last visit, we looked beyond that boundary, and came together in prayer for a singular purpose — to let what is, be, and to seek wisdom for what we do not understand.” 

The subject of walls brought me back to a story in the scriptures — a skipping gazelle, an allegory of King Solomon and the Shulamite girl.

The voice of the beloved, like a gazelle leaping upon the mountain and gazing through the lattice on the wall. He called, “Come away with me. The winter is past and the voice of the turtledove is heard in the land.” -— Song of Solomon 2:8 (NJK).

She refused and turned him away, “Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away, turn my Beloved, and be like a gazelle upon the mountains of Separation.”

Final brushstroke: There will always be walls of some measure on earth. Even those that have been pulled down can still cast a shadow. But if we follow the path of the gazelle, a symbol for the resurrected Jesus, we will see things from a vantage point that levels the height of anything that separates us, only serving to outline those things that define us. 

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Artist’s Lane: Family trip on a shoestring Tue, 14 Jul 2020 11:00:45 +0000 By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

Each year, our family comes from out of town to visit. We tell stories and bring up memories we’ve made together. One of the stories that surfaced this year was our trip to Hawaii -— on a shoestring.

Our youngest daughter lived in Albuquerque at the time and worked at a travel agency. Needless to say, she had access to some amazing discounts. She said to my Sweet Al and me, “The family is planning a vacation. It will only cost you $500 each, which will include airfare and hotel.” 

We will go to Hawaii for 10 days and travel from island to island. We will stay at the King Ranch on Molokai, then go to the southern point of the Big Island and see a live volcano. We will walk through the rain forest and travel between islands on small planes or a ferry. We will even get to visit a pineapple farm, feast at a luau with real hula dancers and place a lei on the statue of a famous swimmer. 

Snorkeling in the ocean and walks on a black sand beach? It all sounded so wonderful. I should have known better when I realized my children wanted to travel on comp passes, determined to see how much fun they could have as they made a game out of traveling on a shoestring.

Our son was in the Philippines and couldn’t get away, so three sisters, my Sweet Al and I packed our bags and headed out for this “trip of a lifetime.” 

No more had I kicked off my shoes and thrown myself on a five-star hotel bed when I found the first clue of the mystery that was to unravel. Traveling on comp passes meant all five of us would stay in one room together and only for one or two nights at each location. 

“It will be cozy and fun,” my middle daughter said. “Besides, we get unlimited chi chis served poolside.”

“And food?”

 “Meals aren’t included, but we have it all figured out. We have an extra-large suitcase packed with snacks, instant oatmeal, rice-in-a-bag, peanut butter, instant coffee and a hot plate. There is also a Costco on one of the islands where we will shop. We will eat in the room and take picnic lunches with us when we travel.”

I was too exhausted to think about what I had gotten myself into. Certainly, there were things I couldn’t deny once we headed to the airport on day two for our first island transfer. Would you believe that an extra-large suitcase full of food weighed 75 pounds? I know this because it was over the limit. The only way we could board the plane was to evenly distribute our daily snack rations into the other nine suitcases. I told one of our daughters that I didn’t even want to know how much the airline charged for over-weight baggage. 

Her response, “Don’t worry, we will eat as we go, which will lighten the load.”

To our children, our vacation on a shoestring was the ultimate family adventure. They would spring for a rental car and move us from one tourist attraction to another. We visited everything from a museum to a graveyard and everything in between.

When we needed to switch hotels, the five of us and our 10 suitcases piled in the car, my Sweet Al bungeed the hatch and off we went. Picture the opening credits of the Beverly Hillbillies if you want to relive that moment. 

A trip to Costco would supply us with everything we needed to make burritos. And how would we cook the hamburger meat? In the coffee pot, of course. 

It was about this time that I had enough of “the fun.” And then the fire alarm went off and there was a knock at the door. My Sweet Al and my three daughters scrambled for cover. Two in the bathroom, the other two out on the balcony. 

“Get the door, Mother. See who it is.” 

I opened the door and there stood a security guard, a retired policeman from Chicago. 

“Ma’am, there is no smoking in the room.”

“Trust me, none of us were smoking.” I couldn’t bring myself to tell him how we were cooking our dinner, but I think he figured it out. The whiff of Hatch green chile surely gave us away. 

Every activity was like a roll of the dice, including a ride on one of the deadliest roads in the world, Kahekill Highway. It is unforgivably known as the “death highway of Maui.” The road was not in any condition for travel, but we went on it anyway. It was one of our daughters’ birthdays and she insisted on seeing the sunset at the end of the road.

We scraped the bottom and tore off the tailpipe on the rental car. Back at our five-star hotel, in the valet parking area, my Sweet Al asked a construction worker for some wire. He lay under the car and tied up the parts to hide the evidence. I just looked the other way in complete disbelief. 

After 10 days of hopping from one place to another, I told my family, “My nerves are frayed.” They couldn’t believe I felt that way. For them, the experience was nothing short of playing with a barrel of monkeys. 

Final brushstroke: Counting cost is different to each person. For some, the adventure of tripping on a shoe string is worth more than paying full price to someone else. But, when it comes to telling stories and laughing with family, the cost of being part of an experience is invaluable. While I am certain I will question my decision, if asked by my children to “do it again,” count me in. 

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Car Hop Movie Nights: A drive-in fundraiser Fri, 10 Jul 2020 11:00:42 +0000 By Alison Beach
Pagosa Peak Open School

Looking for something fun to do this summer? Swing by the charter school and catch a movie in your car. It’s the perfect social distancing night out.

Pagosa Peak Open School is proud to present Car Hop Movie Nights. All summer long, we will host showings in the style of a drive-in in our parking lot at 7 Parelli Way. Movie showings are on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights starting at 8:30 p.m. (or dusk). Entrance is by donation. Concessions will be available for purchase.

Email for movie information,showtimes and to reserve your spot. 

All donations from Car Hop Movie Nights will benefit the school’s capital campaign for building renovations. Pagosa Peak Open School is a tuition-free,public charter school serving Archuleta County dedicated to creating a community of empowered lifelong learners by providing a multiage learning environment designed to foster confidence, high academic achievement and the joy of learning through original and meaningful work.