Michael Martin is amazingly well-behaved for being less than 1 year old. He sits on his father's lap at a lopsided wooden table in the back of Full Belly Deli, munching on thin slices of American cheese, crunching sour-cream-and-onion chips and slurping pickle wedges.
Other children in the restaurant make loud noises and run around playing with toys, but he just watches with his huge blue eyes and reaches for a sip from a 20-oz. Fresca. His father helps tip it back for him, as he shares the same plate of child-sized appetizers.
"It's my mother's trait," said Michael's father, Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin, about his son's eyes.
"He takes after his dad," his wife, Ann Martin, said about the boy's quiet personality.
The Martins moved into a rental house in Golden Meadows more than a month ago, but the family is planning to buy a home of its own. Russ Martin will have been in his new job for a month Thursday. He and Ann both grew up in Johnstown and have spent much of their lives in small towns. They enjoy that lifestyle -- that's why they found Hayden appealing, even though it has almost one-third more people than Minturn, where they lived previously.
Part of the attraction of small-town living is everybody knowing everybody, but the Martins have yet to meet many Haydenites. To help them meet more residents, the town is hosting an open house welcoming party to meet the Martins from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Town Hall. Refreshments will be provided.
If it weren't for the obvious height difference, visitors might not be able to tell young Michael apart from his father. And while other toddlers are mostly mama's boys, Ann says Michael is a daddy's boy.
"He's waiting for his daddy at 5 o'clock," Ann said. "He knows when he's supposed to be home."
Ann has been watching Michael and looking for real estate deals at home, while Russ has been getting up to date with town issues and assisting the Town Board and Planning Commission. The family is hoping to find a permanent place in Hayden, and they plan to look at some houses this week.
Maybe Hayden residents can help them in their search for a new home. If so, make sure to drop by Town Hall on Friday.
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