Is Kremmling a good place to live?
July 30, 2008
I was reading the Fencepost magazine this past weekend to kill some time while at my daughter’s house near Windsor. She is in the graphics department for that publication and I can never resist opening up the front page to see if her name is still listed in the masthead. I always say that I am checking to see if she is still employed.
Really, I am getting a little injection of “fatherly pride.” I don’t think it ever gets old to read, see or hear of the accomplishments of your kids.
After my moment of aggrandizement, I looked further into the publication and found a column that caught my eye. The columnist, Mad Jack Hanks of Wellington, was visiting his son in a remote location in western Colorado and attended what was a regular event on Friday evenings in the summertime. The local volunteer fire department shows movies on the side of the firehouse. There is the customary concession stand, a volleyball court and a play area for the kids. In the mind of Mad Jack, that was “real country.” He went on to marvel about the fact that a couple of hundred people showed up for the movie and that, frankly, it wasn’t the movie they came to see. They caught up on the weekly happenings with neighbors and friends while the kids played together and ran around the park.
It reminded me a bit of the Concert in the Park in Kremmling this past Friday. The music was provided by BlueKrewe, which plays a style of music described as zydeco. The meal was provided by J.R.’s Grill of Grand Lake. Hosted by the Kremmling Chamber of Commerce, the concert series is sponsored by Grand Mountain Bank. It was a great evening. The food and music were excellent. The overcast skies, wind and occasional drop of rain seemed to somehow complement the evening.
As I was listening to the music, my feet unable to stop from keeping time to the music, my hunger pangs satiated, I couldn’t help thinking to myself that this was close to a perfect form of entertainment for Kremmling. I wasn’t in a particularly sociable mood, so I quietly sat to the side. However, there was a lot of visiting among the adults. A Frisbee game or two broke out and there were even a couple of gentlemen enjoying a stogie off in a remote corner of the park. There was enough shelter for those who wanted something over their head and enough chairs for those who wanted to get off of the ground.
For those of you who missed the first concerts, Grand Mountain is sponsoring two more concerts; one on Saturday, Aug. 16 and one on Friday, Sept. 5. Consider this a strong recommendation to mark those dates on your calendar.
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As is my wont, I did some pondering. I thought about the concert in Kremmling and the article written by Mad Jack. Both were about small communities and what makes them attractive to certain types of people. For some, the thought of a hamburger served by the local service club and a movie on the side of a firehouse sounds like the perfect way to spend a Friday night. It might even be something looked forward to for the entire week. For others, all they can think about are mosquitoes/chiggers, potato salad gone bad and a picture that is somewhat south of high definition.
Our family moved to Kremmling in 1989. Within a month, the town felt like home. The family we did know, Kent, Cindy Hester and their boys, did an excellent job of making us feel at home and introducing us around the community. But it was more than that.
Kremmling felt like a place where I belonged. I was so sure about my comfort level, that I started thinking about buying a cemetery plot.
Conversely, I have talked to people who moved away from town because they had never felt so lonely as when they lived in Kremmling. I always wondered about the difference. I postulated that it was the people who wanted to get involved that found a niche and found a home. I assumed it was the people who love to hunt, fish, hike, bike and snowmobile who decide to stay. There is also the theory that the people who stay are the ones who can’t afford to leave.
Early this week, I was asked if Kremmling was a good place to live. I hesitated because the answer depends entirely on the individual. For me the answer is yes, Kremmling has been a great place to live. I don’t hunt, ski, hike, bike, snowmobile, fish or drive ATVs and I still think it is a great place to live. For this person I came up with a lame answer about how people in her age bracket often find the lack of entertainment to be a detriment to long-term residency. Later, as I kicked myself for such a lame response, the answer about who likes living in a town like Kremmling flashed across my brain as clearly as a lighting bolt. Before I share my theory, I will give the usual disclaimer about there being exceptions to every postulation and there are examples that will run counter to my theory. But I think my idea holds some water.
Generally speaking, I believe that people who thrive in small towns are those who know how to entertain themselves. Those who need to be entertained by something or someone will quickly run out of things to do in a small community. If you depend on somebody else to make your life bearable, sooner or later, you will be let down. If you know how to keep yourself happy and content, you can survive anywhere. Boredom, to me, is the inability to create activities, relationships and/or entertainment on your own. Until somebody proves my theory wrong, I now have my answer to the question, “Is Kremmling a good place to live?”