Janet Sheridan: Things to love about Craig
I’m happy in Craig. I enjoy its scenic surroundings, distinctive seasons and slow pace. This summer, a thickheaded relative reminded me of additional attractions our town possesses.
“I drove through Craig last summer but didn’t have time to look around,” a second cousin told me at a family reunion. “I was in a hurry, I admit; but beyond the weird one-way highway, I didn’t see much of interest.”
I smiled politely at my cousin, who has yet to master either tact or his comb-over, and thought, “Well, Stan, you’re no smarter than you were in high school. You’d probably arrive at the turnoff to the Grand Canyon and drive on because it didn’t look promising.”
Fortunately, before I answered and bruised familial feelings, Stan began consuming cupcakes, and I escaped. Later, I thought, “I’m not sure a tree stump can be educated, but I should have told Stan there is much to love about Craig.” I wish I’d shared the following with him:
1) Thanks to Craig’s Parks and Recreation Department, we have Whittle the Wood, an annual celebration that has branded our town with unique artwork: A happy hippie flashes the peace sign near the swimming pool; a handsome American Indian greets those entering the mall; and last spring, I saw a young lady posing for graduation pictures on the intricately carved bench in Alice Pleasant Park. Then in July, a couple in a car with Nebraska plates interrupted my morning walk: They’d seen the carvings at City Park wanted to know where there were more. I stopped short of climbing into the backseat to guide them to my favorites.
2) Craig has a well-maintained, user-friendly outdoor swimming complex in welcoming surroundings. Most small-town swimming pools have one pool bordered by blistering concrete; chairs, if any, are few and dilapidated. Craig’s two pools adjoin grassy areas with trees, shrubs, flowers and a variety of colorful chairs, benches, and picnic tables. In addition — thanks to a clever Craig resident — we have a carved bear on Sixth Street, which sported a swimsuit all summer to point the way to the pool.
3) Cedar Mountain graces our town. I like the way the mountain’s profile varies depending on my vantage point around town. From some locations, it seems to shoot fiercely from the earth, towering high; at others, it appears gentle and approachable; always, its isolation is unique.
Joel and I enjoy the trail that traces the mountain and offers a perfect short hike: steep climbs interspersed with long cruising stretches parallel to the mountain’s crest. In spring, we go to the mountain. Fresh green unfurls in all directions, softening the world, lifting our winter-weary hearts, cushioning strong-willed wildflowers. As summer gains dominance, birds powdered with blue gather on favored bushes to fret about our passing. Grasshoppers bounce off our legs. The fields stretching below wear a purposeful green, and the sky melts away. I’m always happy on Cedar Mountain.
4) We have only five traffic lights and no need for more.
5) Dotted around town, eight city parks host swimmers, picnickers, playground lovers, birthday partiers, skate boarders, bicycle riders, dog walkers, ball players and disc throwers along with frolickers, sitters, eaters, shriekers and thinkers.
Woodbury Park is the largest at 24 acres; the smallest, Alice Pleasant, is an oasis of green decorating downtown. City Park offers multiple amenities; and Breeze Park has a new playground and parking area with plans for a gazebo, smaller shelters, a walking-fitness trail and — oh my — a restroom with flush toilets. Its fanciful playground has already re-vitalized the older neighborhood where I live.
If this short list of things to love about Craig didn’t impress Stan, who by then was devouring watermelon, I could have followed him and continued, as I will in a future column.
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 first 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 first 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 first and 15th of every month.
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