Chameleons

horseIn the early 1970s, Bill packed up his family and left the south side of Chicago – where he had lived his entire life, along with bad, bad Leroy Brown – and moved to the Wild, Wild West of Denver, Colorado. I’m pretty sure the engine of his station wagon wasn’t even cool before he went out and bought a pick-up truck, a horse, a trailer, and a pair of cowboy boots. It was Colorado, after all, and that’s how he rolls.

Quite frankly, my dad did the same thing when he moved to Leadville, Colorado, in 1974. While living almost an entire life in Columbus, Nebraska, doesn’t exactly qualify a person to be a city slicker, the reality was that though we lived in a farm community, we weren’t farmers. We didn’t raise crops. We didn’t feed cattle. Mom and Dad were business owners and town folk.

But when Dad bought the bakery in Colorado, the owner also offered to sell him a horse and a horse trailer.

Done.

So we were the proud (?) owners of Mike-the-Horse. None of us rode horses. In fact, horses made me fairly nervous (now that’s a shocker), though it didn’t make much difference since for the time the Gloor family owned a horse, I was still attending the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

I’m pretty sure it was my brother’s responsibility to take care of the horse. Clearly, as the bakery was in the city limits of Leadville, Mike was stabled elsewhere. So my brother – who would have been maybe junior high age – had to somehow get to the stable, feed the horse, and probably give him a bit of exercise as well.

Mike didn’t live with the Gloors for long. I’m not sure what happened to him. I’m hoping he was sold to a nice horse-loving family and not to Purina. Let’s go with that.

For a period of time while still living in Columbus, Mom and Dad bought a cabin at Wagner’s Lake. I believe for the most part, Wagner’s Lake now is mostly the location of permanent residents, but back in the 60s, there were a lot of just rudimentary cabins. We owned one of them.

We actually spent a surprising amount of time at our cabin at Wagner’s Lake, though I have no recollection of ever sleeping there. Since Columbus was fairly small and you could drive anywhere in the town in less than 15 minutes, it likely made no sense to my mom to sleep at the cabin (which might be home to mice or other critters) when in 10 minutes she could be at home sleeping in her own comfortable bed. I’m with you all the way, Mom.

But, like Mike-the-horse in Leadville, this cabin either included or had thrown in at a bargain basement price a small motor boat. I don’t want you to even BEGIN envisioning a fancy boat with which you could water ski or even cruise around the lake drinking beer and eating sandwiches. It was a crappy-looking boat with a small engine that required Dad to pull on a starter rope – over and over again — to get the engine started. It was basically a floating lawn mower.

My cousin John tells a funny story about Dad inviting some of our relatives to the cabin to celebrate some holiday or other. Dad was apparently very excited to take some of the men out on “the boat.” John was envisioning the fancy boat, and it was a surprise that he saw what basically amounted to an aluminum can. When they all got on the boat, it would barely move because of the weight. I’m pretty sure the story includes getting hung up on a sand bar out in the middle of the lake. I’m SURE it includes beer.

The boat – like Mike-the-horse – didn’t last long. The cabin lasted until they moved to Colorado. We learned that a cabin can be fun if you simply suck up to the neighbors and use THEIR boat!

Given my dad’s and my husband’s stories, I guess you can take the man out of the testosterone but you can’t take the testosterone out of the man.

2 thoughts on “Chameleons

  1. Spending time at the cabin is one of my fav childhood memories. When we would arrive at the cabin and open the car door Mac would BOLT to the lake. I prefer to forget how he typically ended his evenings there.
    Dad also bought an old jeep at the same time we bought Mike. Yep, I remember well the conversation Mom had with Dad about some of these purchases.

Comments are closed.