Young, old come together
Steamboat Springs Rambling down Colorado Highway 131 outside of town last Thursday, my co-workers and I suddenly realized we didn't have to worry about finding the Shipley residence - the swarm of cars parked along the road and at neighboring ranches tipped us off.
The party even had a "Parking" sign pointing to a grassy field stocked with vehicles.
This was a huge event.
The graduation party for Lane Shipley and Erin Gleason, now alums of Steamboat Springs High School, was an old-time, throwback Routt County gathering, with a long table overflowing with barbecued food, a pavilion thrown up over the driveway, hay bales tossed around a fire for seating, and crowds of friends who came together to celebrate a native son and daughter who first met in preschool.
The event was a celebration of two families that have, for years, been threads in the Routt County quilt. Erin's father, Pat, grew up in Steamboat. Lane's father, John, is the longtime rodeo announcer at Howelsen Hill.
"There are people here who I haven't seen in 20 years," mused a co-worker and friend of mine who is a longtime local.
Erin worked at the Pilot & Today this spring for her senior project, and will continue that employment as our intern this summer. Lane has been a newsmaker for years, whether for his athletics, academics or community involvement. These are kids who newspaper employees know well, giving us ample reason to attend a high school graduation party as grown adults.
But the reason didn't matter - we would have been welcomed anyway.
This was the kind of event where talk flowed easily, strangers soon became friends, and everyone was welcome at the table. The festivities continued well after the sun had set.
And that was one heck of a bonfire.