The saying goes that to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail.
That was true recently when a man on a motorcycle with his wife aboard set out on a summer trip into the alpine summer scenery of the Grand Mesa.
He was looking for an inspiring experience and he found it before ever leaving Cedaredge.
The town’s newly remade, three-block-long downtown is the focus of official community pride, but it was the humble little roadside rest stop park on North Grand Mesa Drive that moved the town visitor to words of inspiration.
“It (the roadside rest stop park) definitely defines what I consider small town rural living in the USA!” wrote the motorcycle-riding visitor from Clifton.
And in addition, not only does the little rest stop represent the best of rural, small town living in America, it is a symbol of all that defines “American Exceptionalism” while standing as a guiding beacon for the town’s next generation, the letter writer says.
“It gives me great hope,” the writer states, “that we will get the next generation to understand the importance of being American and not compromising our standards of freedom so crap-hole countries don’t feel so bad about how miserable they treat their populations.”
The undated letter asks that the writer remain anonymous, unlike letters published on the DCI opinion page which must carry the writer’s name in order to be published.
The letter continues, “The young people of Cedaredge have a fine set of examples to follow as they begin their journey to take the reins of this country at some point and move it forward.”
The anonymous writer identifies himself only as “a United States Marine veteran,” and as a married, middle-class motorcycle rider who sees his views as more significant than himself, the person who holds them.
“I wanted to express the thanks for having such a nice rest area available to the public… Please withhold my name as it is not important. I am just a married American veteran that carries the full scars of a middle-class existence in this great country of ours,” the letter states.
A copy of his letter to the town, which owns the park, and to the Cedaredge Rotary Club which maintains it, was provided to the DCI by a Rotary Club member and suggested for use as a feature story.
Upkeep of the Cedaredge rest stop park has been a project of the Cedaredge Rotary Club for the past three or four years, the DCI was told. Prior to that, for a time the park had been cleaned up in the spring by a volunteer group of local realtors.
The park is appointed with flowers in planters, American flags, and patriotic bunting attached to each of the two shelters. There is a cookout grate, ample table space, and bench seating. Some resin chairs have been placed there for additional comfort.
The little park provides a sunny spot for morning coffee and danish, and a shady comfort zone for a quick retreat at noontime or into the evening hours with the soothing sounds of water in Big Ditch flowing by.
Rotary members Paul Lyons, Jamie Meiklejohn, Dave Blanchette and Hoot Harlan take weekly maintenance rotation duty, keeping the park presentable and inviting. In the spring, Rotary members enlist help from a local Boy Scout troop to put the park into shape for the season. Town crews haul off accumulated trash from the container that is provided.
The letter writer appreciates all that effort. The letter states, “My wife and I were on a ride over (a recent) weekend. We were looking for a place to stop for a little while before climbing into the elevations of the Grand Mesa. We came to a roadside picnic table set up that appears to be from the old U.S. Highway days of the 40s and 50s. Upon investigation it appears that this is a spot maintained by the Cedaredge Rotary Club.
“I am sure it takes a lot of time and money to keep the area looking so well. It was very nice to see the flags and buntings as well as the petunias in the planters and baskets all done in red, white and blue.
“I have enclosed a small donation which Rotary may use as it sees fit to further your fine work in the community.”