Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.



Like most families, my parents took us on several vacations while we were growing up But for us, vaca didn’t usually mean Disney. Often, it meant visiting relatives. The trips I enjoyed most were usually in Colorado.

Mama had a sister who lived out there, who had only one daughter–a year younger than me. We visited them when I was going into 2nd grade when they lived in Pueblo.

That year we had a red and white Pontiac station wagon. I don’t remember packing in suitcases. It seems as if Mom packed our stuff in a compartment, and they put the backseat down over it. They put in a mattress that filled the back so Deb and I could lay down, play or nap on the way. (Yep, it was before the day of seatbelts.)

I don’t remember much about Pueblo, but the Royal Gorge, Cave of the Winds and Pikes Peak made a big hit with me. In fact, on our way up the Peak, we followed a truck hauling a small jet. I couldn’t figure why anyone would take their jet for a ride to the top of PP, but Dad thought they were going to leave the jet up there and make it look as if it had just landed.

It was several years before we went out to visit my aunt and uncle and cousin again, and by that time they’d moved to Gunnison. That town is near Crested Butte, a ski town in the mountains, and goooorgeous! And even when Okie-land is hot, it’s cool.

One of our visits was the summer after my first year in college. I was still trying to decide whether to be a cheerleader another year in college or do something else, when my cousin greeted us with a wedding ring on her finger. She married straight out of high school, and she got lucky on her first try. He’s one of the nicest men I’ve known in my life.

We went to the Alpine Tunnel on that trip. If you haven’t been there or Pitkin or any of the old gold mining camps in the area, you’ve missed a great trip. On the way to the tunnel, I rode in the back of a truck up the narrow road. When you’re going up and meet a car coming down, you squeeze to the outside as far as possible.

We’d get so far over, we could see nothing but air on the other side of the truck bed. I spent a lot of time with my face on the floor of the truck on that trip. Makes my toes tingle just to think about it.

I like that area so much, G-Man and I went there on our honeymoon. We took his motorcycle along with us on a trailer, and rode it in the mountains. The beautiful scenery was all around us on the back of that bike! But in that part of the world, it still snows in May (our anniversary month) and the rain can be icy, which is painful when it hits you in the face and you’re moving at 4o mph.

We’d packed for Okie-land weather, and nearly froze to death. We quickly learned the merits of layering! When we tried to go up Pikes Peak on his cycle, we found they hadn’t opened the road all the way to the top.

We watched as a tour bus did a three point turn on that two lane road. Most of the people on the inside of that bus were on the outside before the turn was complete. 🙂

I love visiting Colorado, so I”m putting my bid in now to go back one of these days. I’d buy a place and live there in the summer if I could. 😉

Can anyone tell me Colorado’s state song?


Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

4 thoughts on “Vacation

  1. I cheated, but do enjoy your stories. 🙂
    Where the Columbines Grow
    Written & Music by A.J. Fynn

    Where the snowy peaks gleam in the moonlight,
    above the dark forests of pine,
    And the wild foaming waters dash onward,
    toward lands where the tropic stars shine;
    Where the scream of the bold mountain eagle,
    responds to the notes of the dove
    Is the purple robed West, the land that is best,
    the pioneer land that we love.


    The bison is gone from the upland,
    the deer from the canyon has fled,
    The home of the wolf is deserted,
    the antelope moans for his dead,
    The war whoop re-echoes no longer,
    the Indian’s only a name,
    And the nymphs of the grove in their loneliness rove,
    but the columbine blooms just the same.


    Let the violet brighten the brookside,
    in sunlight of earlier spring,
    Let the fair clover bedeck the green meadow,
    in days when the orioles sing,
    Let the golden rod herald the autumn,
    but, under the midsummer sky,
    In its fair Western home, may the columbine bloom
    till our great mountain rivers run dry.


    Tis the land where the columbines grow,
    Overlooking the plains far below,
    While the cool summer breeze in the evergreen trees
    Softly sings where the columbines gro

    • Thanks, Larry. I can always depend on you. 🙂
      That chorus is just a little bit depressing, isn’t it?
      “The bison is gone from the upland,
      the deer from the canyon has fled,
      The home of the wolf is deserted,
      the antelope moans for his dead,
      The war whoop re-echoes no longer,
      the Indian’s only a name,
      And the nymphs of the grove in their loneliness rove,
      but the columbine blooms just the same.”
      Wonder what the tune sounds like?

  2. I’ll come stay with you when you buy your ‘Colorado Summer Home’!!! 😉

I'm so glad you dropped by my Small Town World! Hope you'll leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing from you!

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