Janet Sheridan: More things to love about Craig
Problems persist in Craig. On every block, small black-and-white signs, “Coal: It Keeps Our Lights On,” reflect our threatened economy. Too many houses stand empty, too many small businesses struggle, and too many families worry about making ends meet. But Craig is where I choose to live. After Joel and I retired, we frequently heard, “When will you be leaving?” We won’t. Here are some of the reasons why.
The Yampa River edges our town and marks our seasons. In the spring, it erupts in a turbulent flood of water, muddied by runoff and boisterous with power. During the summer, it chuckles, tickles toes and invites participation. When fall begins, the river’s water — patterned by yellow leaves and shadowed by migrating geese — shrinks and slows. Then the river of winter peeks out blue-gray between patches of iced snow where elk bend to drink in the morning fog.
If I were to take up a game where you wallop, lose, drown, and curse little white balls, I’d want to do so in Craig. Yampa Valley Golf Course is blessed with nature’s bounty: a scenic river, mature trees, pockets of flowers and ponds where fishing osprey drop as though weighted from sky to water. It has flocks of flickers winging in the sun, sand cranes parading their young, eagles nesting in aged trees of size and an over-arching backdrop of clear blue sky.
Craig’s water tastes good.
The Museum of Northwest Colorado and Wyman Living History Museum tell the stories of those who populated our area and built our town. Both museums detail the exhausting work done by determined settlers and display the innovations that eased their work loads — miners’ lamps, apple peelers, tractors — along with items the settlers created to add beauty, comfort and enjoyment to their lives: homemade quilts, sock dolls, sleds and checkerboards. Our museums remind us of our past and enrich our present.
Good people live in Craig. People who work hard to provide for their families yet still find time to help others. They provide transportation to medical appointments for those who can’t drive themselves, buy band instruments for students who can’t afford them and cook free meals twice a week for those in need of food or fellowship. They created and maintain a colorful garden that welcomes visitors to town. They staff the food bank, assist victims of abuse and clean up the Yampa. In addition, they open their wallets to help neighbors in need and keep nonprofits afloat, giving to United Way so generously that Craig’s donations are in the top tier per capita in the nation.They also find time to be friendly. Business owners greet customers by name, drivers wave, neighbors chat, teenagers make eye contact, children smile, and most folks control their dogs. We even have an ice cream truck that roams our summer streets, sometimes playing “Jingle Bells.”
The multi-faceted county park, Loudy-Simpson, provides entertainment for us year-round. We use its fishing pond, picnic shelters, playgrounds, baseball diamonds and soccer fields. We enjoy its disc course, depend on its river access and walk, run, or bike its trails. When winter discourages these activities, we cross-country ski or snowshoe its vast expanse and skate or play hockey in its arena. We attend the many games, concerts and community celebrations it hosts. Loudy-Simpson also allows us to appreciate our rural surroundings: the river flows a natural course, paths wander, trees tower and grasses bend to the wind. Geese and ducks fly in formation, landing and taking off on waters where pelicans play in the spring. And, occasionally, sand cranes surprise us with their croaking.
Craig makes me happy.
Sheridan’s book, “A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns,” is available in Craig at Downtown Books and Steamboat Springs at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. She also blogs at http://www.auntbeulah.com on the 1st and 15th of every month.Sheridan’s book, “A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns,” is available in Craig at Downtown Books and Steamboat Springs at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. She also blogs at http://www.auntbeulah.com on the 1st and 15th of every month.Sheridan’s book, “A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns,” is available in Craig at Downtown Books and Steamboat Springs at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. She also blogs at http://www.auntbeulah.com on the 1st and 15th of every month.
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