David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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We go to the Central City Opera almost every summer. My mother pays for it, which is nice, This year we saw "The Ballad of Baby Doe," and it was a very good production. The restoration of the opera house is holding up well. The seating is too crowded, as usual, but on the whole we were very glad we went.

My mother was at the reopening of Central City in 1932, when she saw Lillian Gish in "Camille." The first play I saw there was "Mrs. McThing," a very undistinguished play with Helen Hayes, in 1952. In 1962 I took my bride to see "The Girl of the Golden West," with the original David Belasco staging. It was too long, and the horses fell off the treadmills and destroyed some of the scenery. It had three intermissions and we spent them in the Teller House Bar. By the end we didn't much care what happened to the hero¬ine.

There are several family traditions connected to this annual trip. Perhaps the best one is that we pack a picnic lunch, with fried chicken and whiskey sours, find an abandoned mine, eat lunch and throw our chicken bones down the mine shaft.

My father used to spend quite a bit of time and energy on the whisky sours. These days I just use a mix. After the first one, no one seems to notice the difference.

But it's become more and more difficult to find a suitable mine. For years we went to a beauti¬ful place just beyond the Glory Hole. When the children were fed, they wandered over and stared at that huge hole in the ground. But one year we found our way barred, as the Glory Hole re¬opened, and we had to look elsewhere. We found a less interesting place about a mile away, and for several years our biodegradables found a resting place at the bottom of that shaft. We took everything else home with us, but we liked the long wait as the bones went down the shaft to plunk in the water at the bottom.

This year we returned to find the shaft filled with the detritus of civilization: rusted space heaters, mattresses, seats out of trucks, wall¬board and plastic. At the lip of the shaft was a litter of bright green plastic shards that will be there long after we and all our chicken bones are dust.

We have looked for other sites for our annual picnic, but it's always the same story; someone has been there before us with piles of more of less permanent garbage.

We would like to think our children and their children will continue to enjoy their trips to Central City with this fine, old tradition, but it looks as though it won't be long before we'll be forced to have our picnic in the parking lot simply because it's a cleaner place than the surrounding countryside. In some ways, it seems to me, it's a worse problem than the national debt, which can be wiped out without a trace. This is a mess (and it's not restricted to Cen¬tral City, by any means) our grandchildren will surely have to face, and I wonder what they'll say about us.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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