Part 23: Summer Ends

It was a great summer in Colorado. Now fall is here according to the calendar, but it sure feels like summer. All the early rain turned my part of the state greener than I have ever seen it. During August as I took my daily walk on the trail, the growth was huge and still green—not that dried out yellow beige I often see toward the end of the month. I hope the beauty continues. And then as September turns into October, many of us, myself included, plan a trip to the mountains for an Aspen fix–as the shimmering Aspen trees cast their magic yellow golden spell on us just before going to sleep for the winter.

Summer Means Fresh Colorado Produce

It was during August that we got excited about our native gourmet crops—particularly Olathe Corn, Palisade Peaches and Rocky Ford Cantaloupe. Even living in a place where home cooking is not very popular, most of us found ourselves at the neighborhood Farmer’s Market making sure we had enough home-grown produce.

At my community is a group of live-in gardeners and it pays to have a friend among them for homegrown tomatoes and herbs. In the beginning, seven years ago, when the community first opened in August 2008, there were some residents who lobbied management for gardening plots. Not me; I had been there, done that. It took a while, but the end result was a number of well-built raised beds with good soil and easily available water. Residents sign up for plots, using either the whole one or sharing it with a partner. The gardens have flourished. As I write, I look forward to my lunch which will include some gifted tomatoes.

Our CCRC Chef Greg and his staff take nourishing, healthy food seriously and make a warmly received effort to offer us menus of all the healthy food possible, along with mouth-watering treats that aren’t always quite as healthy.

An August regular is our own Farmer’s Market on the property. Our chef arranges this when crops are at their best. Such fun; there is always a large turnout of residents. This year chef offered a cooking demonstration as well. He cooked lamb, explaining the difference between Australian Lamb and Colorado lamb. Ours is better tasting but also much more expensive, and Colorado Lamb is another name from Western lamb, which can be found in a number of surrounding states.

I asked Greg for a quote for this article and I love what he shared, “We are proud to give our residents the best food from the finest farms and dairies year-round. August is our favorite month because we are able to offer so much distinct local flavor, and everything is at its peak of ripeness—simply amazing.”

Community Happenings

What else has been noteworthy this summer? The good: every summer our Lifestyle Director books music groups for a Thursday night outdoor concert, one in June, July and August, to perform in our courtyard. Concert night also means dessert and drinks on the terrace. Since I have a balcony overlooking the courtyard, I love to invite a few friends whose apartments don’t face the courtyard to join me. I must admit that when we get rained out and the program is moved inside, I don’t go. Just lazy, I guess.

The bad: all our buildings’ roofs had to be repaired. Last summer there was a huge hailstorm that hit our location with great severity and damage. Many of the employee’s cars parked in the parking lot were seriously banged up from the pellets of ice. The damage to our buildings was the roof.  For ten days in August, we listened to hammering by a construction crew on our slopping roofs, replacing whatever it is they needed to replace. For some residents who are not able to get out much, the continual noise was hard to take. For others, we felt inconvenienced because of all the yellow plastic danger ribbon strung around our grounds. What I found so amazing was to look up and watch the workers, who ignored their safety straps, walk nonchalantly around on the roof doing their job. Viewing them from the ground, I marvel at their skill in walking and working on the steeply sloping roof. Nothing lasts forever and the roof work finally ended, to the relief of all of us.

Family Fun

During August I was part of a 100-percent turnout for our biennial family reunion in Port Townsend, Washington. Now with six great-grandbabies under six years, we are a group of 32. My grandson, his wife and their babies, aged one and two, were good sports flying from Washington DC to Washington State to be part of the gathering. With a ferry ride from Seattle, we stayed at Fort Warden, a former army base and now a state park on the Puget Sound. All the generations had a great three-day visit together and are already talking about where to go two years from now.

As we age we experience time passing so much more quickly. I don’t understand why, but I know as I write this I keep thinking where did the summer go.

This post was written by Margery Fridstein, an author and retired psychotherapist who lives in a CCRC outside of Denver, CO. She is chronicling her experience in the monthly series, The Last Stop With Margery Fridstein.