Colorado Rocky Mountain High


sing it with me… “I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky…”

As I’ve said many times. Nothing goes over better than John Denver in a Korean Karaoke bar!

Fortunately I am not in a Korean Karaoke bar tonight, I am in Fort Collins, Colorado. Yee Haw!!!!

No, it’s not more vacation, and I didn’t quit my job and decide to become a dirty stinkin’ hippie. (If that were the case, I’d be in Boulder). Nope, I’m doing the bidding of my Dark Corporate Overlords again. Luckily, unlike the days when I was a courtin’ Mrs. 20 Prospect, I got to fly to Colorado! All things considered, this is marginally better than an 18 hour drive across the plains.

But lest you think that air travel has become a boring old grind, I have exciting news to report. It involves the kid below in the Zapruder quality photo. Take a look.

Buy the friendly skies


Your average everyday, 20 something guy in a blue Delta Airlines T-shirt and a back pack. Why that’s nothing unusual, it’s not like he’s some crazy, google eyed Mullah fiddling with a ticking bag of McDonald’s. What could be so interesting about him?

Well, it’s not what he looked like, but what he was doing that amazed me. He was working the crowd in the gate area, passing out flyers and extolling the virtues of the “GoGo on board wifi” to the passengers.

Yes, the airlines have now sunk to this. They are using us as a captive audience and selling the right to solicit us to the highest bidder. How much longer will it be before walking down the jet way is like walking the Vegas strip, pushing your way past Hispanic kids trying to hand you advertisements for pr0stitutes?

Hell, why not go all the way and install slots and video poker on the planes?

(I’m not holding my breath waiting for the $4.99 prime rib buffet though)

Holy Jumping Jeez-o-man! WTF are they thinking? I gotta find a job that doesn’t require air travel.

Still, it feels good to be back beneath the crooked shadow of the Front Range. As I have mentioned in previous stories, from 1991 to 1993, I spent a lot of time out here in the Inter-mountain West, as I worked out of the Denver regional office for ABB Combustion Engineering. Oh, what days those were. Never before in my life had I been as free, and as happy as I was then. Of course, meeting the Mrs. 20 Prospect only added to that joy. However, being young and in love I left the West behind to live in Minnesota and be near to her.

God how I do miss the mountains though.

I haven’t been back in Colorado since 1997. I’m not sure if it’s changed much. The new Denver International Airport that they built in Nebraska is no longer new. I think they’ve even managed to get the automated baggage mangling system functioning. The outskirts of Ft. Collins seem to be 10 miles further out than I remember them. But not everything is new. The 90 Shilling Ale is still as sweet, and quaff-able as I remember it. And that great crooked shadow still looms over town in the late afternoon, while the clouds and planes shine overhead in the waning golden rays of the sun.

This is beautiful country, and it has held a magical sway over the men of 20 Prospect for generations. The original Mr. 20 Prospect fell in love with the mountains when he was stationed in Denver during his Air Force days in the early 50’s. If he hadn’t been introduced to the original Mrs. 20 Prospect while sitting at Dick’s Bar in Riverside, drinking a beer poured by my Granny, well, there’s just no telling. He used to like to tell people that they met when she fell off of a bar stool and he caught her, but I’m not sure she was ever tall enough to actually climb up on a bar stool.

The original Mr. 20 Prospect and an Air Force buddy in Idaho Springs, Colorado, May 1951


My Big Bruddah fell for the west after he dropped out of college and hitchhiked around the country to find himself. Eventually, he found himself in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Better than finding yourself in a ditch, or a shallow grave on the outskirts of town, which is where hitch hikers end up these days. But it was the 70’s and people did stuff like that. He found a job bar tending at the Buffalo Bar, and seemed destined to stay in Colorado. Until one day he had the great misfortune of meeting his ex-wife when she was in town visiting friends. So he moved back to Long Island, N.Y. to be by her, and hasn’t been west of the NY State line since.

Yup, still there...


Do you sense a theme here? 20 Prospect male moves to Colorado, falls in love with the mountains, meets a girl, and gives it all up to be with her. I’m telling 20 Prospect Jr. to stay the hell out of Colorado until he’s ready to settle down. I’m guessing he’ll be married at 27 just like the rest of us were, to some girl from east of the Rockies.

So as the sky slowly darkens, and the streetlights blink on around Ft. Collins, I will raise this glass of 90 Shilling Ale, and make a toast to the past, current and future men of 20 Prospect. “May the mountains always rise up to meet you, and may the sun shine warmly on your back shoulders.”

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2 thoughts on “Colorado Rocky Mountain High

  1. Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy…………sunshine in my eyes can make me cry……….ay ay ay ay.

    John Denver’s greatest hits. Even snuck “Leavin on a Jet Plane” – will it ever stop?

    • John Denver was the J.S. Bach of our times. Someday, centuries from now, people will look back and marvel at his other wordly genius!

      Grandma’s Feather Bed is his Brandenburg Concerto No. 3

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