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Rumors About a Visit by the Pope
I attended institutions of higher education for 10 years, I take two daily newspapers, I watch the evening news, but I still find out the most interesting things when I get a haircut.
It was there, the other day, I was told all about the Pope’s visit. And because I get my hair cut infrequently, I was among the last people in the Estes/Allenspark area to know it.
It may all be rumors, of course, but the barber shop grapevine has been right too often for me to ignore it. This time I heard that the Pope will arrive by helicopter and commute back and forth to Denver while he’s here. And I was also informed that either President Clinton or Vice-President Al Gore will be here to greet him.
As I listened to these predictions I thought about the implications of all this for a small town without a mayor and no public toilets and a postmaster who is likely to asked about 15,000 times this summer, “Which way to Camp San Malo?”
And those of us who live fairly close to San Malo (which I still irreverently call “Saint Malo”) may have to put up with intrusions by all manner of security forces, from the county sheriff to the Secret Service.
Who ever thought we’d see the Secret Service in our valley?
It’s still four and a half months away and a number of things could happen that could change the Pope’s itinerary. Even so, preparations are already under way and we can expect to see the phone company (I think this means I’m going to have to wait awhile for my private line), the power company, maybe some construction work, some new signs (perhaps even one on the highway near the fire station that says “Camp San Malo, 5 miles?) and I expect we’ll all be extra good about the highway trash pickup this spring. We wouldn’t want the Pope to think the valley is inhabited by a bunch of litterbugs.
According the Boulder Daily Camera, Allenspark residents view the Pope’s visit as either exciting or annoying. Our little community is overwhelmingly Protestant or lapsed something-or-other, so I expect annoyance will be the dominant mood. We can’t ignore the idea that it will be very good for business, however, so we’ll probably be enthusiastic in public and whine about it in private. Come to think of it, that’s how we respond to ‘most everything.
Anyway, for a place whose idea of real excitement is watching Miller moths drop into a pan of soapy water, a visit by the Pope may be more than we can handle. I was planning a visit to Oregon this summer. As a result of my barber shop intelligence gathering expedition, I’m thinking the first couple of weeks in August sounds about right.
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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