David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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This is the time of year when we have visitors. It’s true we have them all year long, but we have many more in the summer, and they’re a different sort.

Almost every year someone calls or just appears out of the distant past. For many years we had people stop by who knew my grandfather. Most were students of his, and as the years went by they got older and older. The last of his students would be in their seventies by now, so I don’t expect to see any more of them. Increasingly, the ones we hear from now are those who knew me or my brother when we were kids just spending our summers here.

The other day I got an interesting phone call from a woman who had a summer romance with my brother and now, 37 years later, she called to find out what had become of him. Since he won’t be here until August and she was here for just a few days, it fell to me to fill her in.

She hastened to point out that she’s been happily married for 33 years and has no interest in rekindling the old fires, but was just curious.

I suspect that’s a common experience. If there was a place made for summer romance for the young, this is probably it. A great many ships pass in the cool mountain nights, and there’s always that curiosity about “What if…”

For my part, I’ve kept track, partially by chance, of a few of the young women I knew here in the 40s and 50s, some of whom I’m ashamed to say I treated very badly. But I’ve lost track of most of them, and I’m content with the memories of the hikes we went on, the campfires we sat around, the fireworks we saw together at the Village, the horseback rides and the square dances all along the valley.

The idea of seeing them again and finding out what their lives have been like isn’t something that appeals to me. I wouldn’t avoid it, but I wouldn’t look for them.

So why do older people, when they return here, seek out these people from their past? I suspect it’s because when they come, they find the valley just as it was 40 years ago. Of course there are more people and new houses, but the valley is essentially just as it was. Only we have changed. And we see the laughing ghosts of ourselves as children, and wonder, “What became of…?”




© 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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