Cyndi McCoy: Love’s presence is the best present
Grand County, Colorado
The best gift is love and loved ones. No bow or curly ribbon necessary, no shiny paper.
Through the constant and caffeine-enhanced speed of the evolution of man it is rewarding to see a snippet of the true spirit of the old-fashioned holidays live on. I’m talking about the giving of simple gifts from the heart, about giving rather than receiving, and the power of simple love and togetherness.
In a time when true love seems passe, the stuff of fairy tales, it is all around us. Grandparents, parents, sons, daughters, cousins, nephews, nieces, friends ” to witness the loving embraces at the airports, and at our front doors are an inspiration in a world that seems so fragile, so hopeless and hostile.
Some of the best friends I have are those I don’t see that often. It’s not because they’re not around, and I’m not sure absence does make the heart grow fonder. I’m talking about those friends who live so far away, who are just as busy as me. We may exchange a phone call or e-mail or two a year, but when we do get to see each other it’s like a day has not passed since we were together.
This past weekend, my sister and I took a short road trip to my college town of Gunnison. A Fort Collins band that caught our eye at the Pub was playing three days in the area and we jumped at the chance to hang with the musicians (who usually bolt for Fort Collins after their Grand County shows) and to reconnect with longtime friends.
I had been there since I graduated (believe it or not a dozen years ago). So much had changed and so much had not. I was overwhelmed with nostalgia and gratitude for the down-to-earth community. The hotel where I worked as a baker in the mornings before school, ran the front desk after school, and hosted for the two restaurants is now a parking lot for Safeway. Friends sent me newspaper clippings when it burned down.
What surprised me the most was how many of my acquaintances never left town. One of the funniest reunions was with my friend Trey, who was a cook at the hotel. He is now the produce manager at City Market and knowing he’d probably not recognize me, I played a little joke on him. After a short inquiry as to where I could locate the largest zucchini, a gleam came over his eyes. “You know, you really look familiar,” he said, and we laughed a good five minutes. I’m sure both of us won’t forget that, even if it is another dozen years.
For those who would rather spend time with family and best buddies than cook for the holidays, there is a lot going on in area restaurants. Grand Elk Grille has a new menu (check out the Sunday brunch), as does the Seven Trails Grille (check out the lamb dishes), and there are quite a few new sauces on The Rapids’ new a la carte menu (the Kahlua espresso sauce and almond and date demi sound delicious).
While you are out and about, check out United Sound Pipe’s new title album on its own label and the wine dinner benefit for Toys for Tots Dec. 21 at Untamed.
Food for thought: “Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.” – Jean Anouilh.
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