Customs, Traditions, And Ceremonies Move Estes Park Forward

National Philanthropy Day Proclamation Nov. 5, 2020 at YMCA of the Rockies

Despite fires, evacuations and Covid-19 spikes, life moves forward. And the good-undeterred by the disarray such events cause—shines through adversity. With these thoughts in mind, please join me in reflecting on the events of several recent days.

On the first day, Thursday, October 22, wearing Roger’s painting filter mask, I hopped in the car at 11:00 a.m. Ten minutes later, car parked downtown, I switch to a simpler, cloth mask to meet Donna Carlson, with whom I walk to Macdonald Book Shop. Where, after greeting Paula Steige, I make comments about the family business started in 1928, run by Steige since 1971. My comments include mention of Paula receiving the Estes Park Museum Pioneer Award in 2016, serving as a town trustee and being a member of the EPURA board. Not so tongue-in-cheek, I say Paula’s retirement from running the shop affords her more time to work for the good of Estes Park and opportunities for me to recognize her efforts.

Next, Kevin and Anastasia Reed are introduced as the new owners of MacDonald Book Shop. The ribbon cutting that follows transitions the shop from Paula to Kevin and Anastasia. Their heartfelt, lifelong love of books and Kevin’s experience as an author, assures all people present that the warmth and glow of the shop continues.

Returning to the car, I don the filtered paint mask, then drive to Town Hall. There I head to a study session about the town’s annual budget. But before the session starts, the blood orange sky outside darkens. A decision is made to immediately evacuate Estes Park due to the imminent threat of the East Troublesome Wildfire. What happens next, is a story for another time.

The day that I think about next is November 5. That at 2:00 p.m.-evacuation over, wildfires smoldering nearby, Covid-19 cases spiking-I pass through the YMCA entrance security. I’m headed to a meeting of the Estes Park Nonprofit Resource Center. Where I’ll read a proclamation honoring the 11th National Philanthropy Day at the YMCA and the townspeople of Estes for supporting non-profit organizations. Kudos to Laura Dale Marshall, EPNRC Executive Director, for the part she plays in this wonderful ceremonial tradition.

November 7 is the final day about which I reflect. That day, at 6:00 p.m., from the safety of my home, I use Zoom to meet with the Estes Valley Library Friends & Foundation. During which I read a proclamation honoring Dr. James Pickering as recipient of the 2020 Pioneer Award. Jim’s service to Estes is impressive, including being historian laureate here since 2006.

Reflecting on the days described above, four things become apparent. One, caught up in never-ending-rush events-as was the case for me on October 22-it’s easy to miss seeing a bigger and possibly deadly reality. Two, customs such as cutting ribbons and issuing proclamations are powerful ways to honor traditions and recognize the people who make such traditions possible. Three, when we acknowledge the good that people do, the likelihood that they and other people will do additional good increases. And lastly, collectively reflecting about where Estes Park is, and where it’s been enables us to move forward together to where we want to be.

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