John F. Russell: Keeping in touch from afar

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John Russell

John Russell's sports column appears Sundays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by John here.

— In a world filled with fast cars, high-speed Internet and self-checkout lines, the winds of change seem to blow faster than a hurricane. Keeping in touch with the important things in life is more difficult than watching the Rockies play baseball.

But I’m lucky.

The past few years, I’ve spent my Labor Day weekends in a cabin owned by my father’s family on the backside of Lake Granby. The 1950s-era cabin affords all the comforts of home with a few exceptions.

As long as the portable generator my dad brings is running, there is electricity. The hot water depends on how much gas is left in the propane tank just outside the back door. The small tank also provides the heat we use for the gas stove and oven, but the gas refrigerator — which was purchased before I was born — stopped working a few years back and replacement parts are hard to come by.

For generations, the basic cabin has provided everything a person needs. A mudroom was added a few years back, but it’s still the same place I visited when I was a child growing up in Denver a few decades ago.

Back then, I would wait for my dad to get home from work on a Friday afternoon and the two of us would head to the cabin just about every weekend in the summer. I always looked forward to the moment we would load our fishing gear and sleeping bags into the back of his car and make the two-hour trip to the cabin.

It was always the same — a place where memories were formed and great times could be found away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

It was normally dark when we arrived, but by the time the sun climbed over the tall mountain peaks that surround the cabin the next morning, we were ready for a day of hiking and fishing.

Many of my best childhood memories were formed inside the walls of the one-bedroom, one-bath cabin that seemed dated even back then. Today, I make that same trip every year, but these days I make it with my own children.

It’s a place without televisions, computers and video games. I let my children take their iPods, but the rule is that when we arrive at the cabin, the electronics stay in the car. It’s a rule that is easy to enforce along the banks of the creek that flows in front of my dad’s place.

It’s funny how easy it is to replace a $300 portable entertainment system with a $40 fishing pole, a worm and the chance to pull a trout out of chilly waters of a mountain lake. It’s also funny how fast things can change in the real world. Having a place to get away from it — well, that’s priceless.

— To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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