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Grand Lake: Citizen of the Year chosen for his character, kindness, service

by Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News
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Bob Scott points to a bowl of bright red Gala apples on his kitchen counter.

“Would you like an apple?” he asks. “There are the prettiest Gala apples right now at Circle D. Aren’t they just beautiful?”

It’s just like Bob Scott to be this hospitable. A Texas native, he has an air of grace and refinement.

Boots first, jumping into the world of Bob Scott one finds said grace, but not without some humor.

With schoolmasterly spunk and southern vowels, he says things like, “God has given you a choice for each day, and it’s your attitude ” You may be happy and kind, or . . .”

This Grand Laker allows moments to stop and find awe in juniper berries, or examine wild rose hip while speaking of its use herbal tea or homemade jams.

In his world, the highest respect is paid to grandmothers’ mothers and their tried-and-true recipes. He believes there is never an evening too ordinary for fine china and lives for those nights when an eclectic mix of town folk sit around a table sipping wine, telling stories and enjoying a batch of his skillet cornbread, baked chicken and homemade pie (the ingredient lard not be substituted).

In the world of Scott, tradition is cherished. New ways are not always the best ways.

He volunteers tempered and polite telephone skills when answering the telephone at the nostalgic Grand Lake resort where he has worked for more than 39 years. Each time it rings, he sings the following greeting, “Scenic and colorful Grand Lake Lodge, how may I serve you?”

In the world of Scott, sending beautifully handwritten notes to friends is an effort never to be outdated, nor are endangered skills, such as darning socks.

And creativity is definitely the key to happiness, he said.

His charm is extended to children, who gravitate when he’s around. Scott’s gentle nature has been known to calm the wildest of them, and it’s not uncommon to see him as the quintessential maitre d’, holding a toddler in his arms, waltzing around a restaurant filling water glasses as mom and dad are given the rare chance to enjoy mealtime in peace.

“Children need to be taught that each of them has a God-given gift to create,” Scott said. “Human hands can make anything, only at the direction of those gifts given to use by the Almighty. With an appreciation of the arts, people become accepting, open-minded and willing to think about other cultures and other nations.”

As a florist and a seeker of Native American art, Scott’s world is comforting. It’s artistic and interesting ” filled with Bohemian crystal, sterling silver belt buckles, nuggets of turquoise, hand-crafted pottery and bold arrangements of flowers with hand-twisted bows.

Bob Scott is never too shy to don a Scottish kilt in celebration of his descent, nor to use an old-fashioned surgery table for a kitchen island, an obscure furnishing passed down from his father, a respected veterinarian. Nor is he too shy to sing the “Texas national anthem” in its entirety.

By and large, through his exactness of etiquette and charm, Scott is one of those people everyone knows in Grand Lake.

For his character, his business sense and his exemplary ambassadorship, he was honored as this year’s Grand Lake Citizen of the Year.

“Isn’t life great in this little town?” he asked a congratulator, following Grand Lake Rotary’s fifth annual award presentation, held last Friday night.

Longtime friends Reed James and Carol Wolff talked about what Scott has meant to their lives.

As a trustee of the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, Scott offered to “adopt” one of the Off-Broadway cabins, the Loft House, where performers stay for the summer, said Wolf, three-year theatre Executive Director. “Each week, Bob would make a meal for these kids, who (according to Scott) ‘work hard and need their nourishment.'”

Word got out about Scott’s home-cooked meals, Wolff said, and soon everyone in the theatre wanted to live in the Loft House. It was Scott who found a solution. During the following seasons on his own accord, he prepared and delivered meals to the entire company after rehearsal, once a week.

“Service to others is the only rent we are asked to pay on this life,” Scott offers as his personal motto.

His “rent” is rich, with a long history of community involvement, whether it be an organization, affiliation or a civic club ” from Stephensville, Texas, to Grand Lake.

Scott was a Rotarian from 1982 to 2000. (“I plan to join again, it’s a wonderful organization,” he said). He was on the board of directors for the United Way, various arts councils, museums, historical associations and Texas governor-appointed committees. He’s achieved teaching, antiques and fine arts credentials, and served 10 years as a driver for Meals on Wheels.

With degrees in both history and English, he holds a Lifetime Teaching Certificate from Tarleton State University, Texas.

And just around Grand Lake, he has donated service to Catch the Spirit, Grand Lake Friends of the Library, the Grand Lake Variance board, the Grand Lake Chamber, the Grand Lake Arts Council, the historical society and the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. On top of all that, if a friend takes ill or is injured, Scott has been known to rush to his or her bedside with a heating pad and a remedy.

But Scott is most recognized as Grand Lake’s premier “Lodgeling,” where he has worked with its owners, the James family “in too many roles and positions to list,” said Lodge President James, who nominated Scott for the citizen award. Scott has known Reed since he was a small child.

It’s at the Lodge where Scott met countless vacationers, finding their way into and out of Rocky Mountain National Park.

“An ever-changing audience,” he calls it. “We’re so fortunate that we get to stay here in this perfect place, where they are only visiting for a short time. And we have such and opportunity and a privilege to share this place with others.”

The Rotary chose Scott for his exceptional service to the quality of life in Grand Lake.

He was surprised by the award. “I’m on cloud nine,” he said Saturday. “I feel so honored, so humbled. I was completely surprised. You know, Reed has never in his entire life been able to keep a secret of any sort. I was in complete shock.”

“Pink, rainbow, peach, chartreuse, royal blue and cobalt blue, he’s fun to be around,” James said in his own tribute to Scott.

“Bob Scott has color, and Grand Lake is all about color.”

” To reach Tonya Bina call 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.


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