New adventure: Dog Sledding

February 21, 2011

Saw a story about Colorado dog sledding it in Denver Magazine and decided it might be a fun adventure for Clare and I. She digs outdoor winter activities, like snowmobiling, so I thought this might fit the bill. We stayed at small, but clean and reasonable, Wayside Inn off Highway 9 on the way to Breckinridge. The outfitter, Good Times, was at the end of Tiger Road – the same as our Inn. After breakfast at Breck’s Salt Creek – LOVE late Sunday breakfast there – we headed to Good Times.

After gearing up – we brought our own ski pants and parkas – we headed out to the trails where the dogs were. They barked and yelped and whined (in anticipation?). I used to have an Alaskan malamute mix (RIP Kisha), so the Huskys are a breed I’ve always liked. There were eight to a sled. There were about four sleds with dogs, and a snowmobile with a bench-equipped sled where four people could sit. The groups of six were called out to their sleds, after the obligatory pictures with the dogs they could sell you later for $20. One person sits on the sled (where the gear should go, I imagine) and the driver rides behind. There he can put his feet on the rails, or on the brake in the middle, which digs into the snow. Our guide Brendan asked for volunteers for the first shift, and since no one spoke up, I did. Clare was not enthused, especially after he warned that if we didn’t lean in the turns we’d spill over and the dogs would continue on without us.

There’s no whip, obviously, and no “mush” yelling – though I couldn’t resist at several points. The dogs take off after the Brendan-driven snowmobile. He stays to groomed trails that head out to the woods. The thrill of being pulled by the dogs was pretty cool. Heading down hills was a little scary, but I only had to tap on the brakes a couple of times to keep it from running into the back of the dogs. Clare and I traded driver/rider. The ride lasted about 10 minutes for both of us, then we switched out with two of the other four in the larger sled. We had a second shift that was more curvy and hilly. One guy fell off the back of the sled and his wife had to lean on her own, as Branden kept reminding her, lest she’d eat snow, too. The guy finally caught up after we stopped a ways down the trail. On hills, you’d have to either get off and help push the sled, or push it along like a skateboard. I kind of felt sorry for the dogs, but was assured they loved the running/pulling and wouldn’t have it any other way. He said the Iditarod dogs could pull up to 80 miles per day, slowly and with breaks, but wow. These dogs run an hour on, three off, six days a week. On rest breaks, the dogs would plunge their faces into the snow, sit in it or roll around as much as they could while harnessed.

The hour-long ride was over much too quickly –  but what a rush. We all rubbed down the dogs and thanked them. The leaders, pure white, were strong bothers. Branden said the last two were the worst of the group and had many bad habits. I could tell when one of them kept trying to mark his territory as his buddies were pulling the rider-loaded sleigh!

It was kind of expensive at $70 each, but we got free hot chocolate at the end. It was worth it, though. Next time I’d like to rent the dogs with just Clare and I and head out for like a 1/2 day. Doubt they do that, however, without an experienced handler nearby. The dogs pull for about seven years, then get put up for adoption. What a life!



Frustrated with website

February 19, 2011

I should have just gone with a WordPress website. was designed by someone who went to work for a lager company and has since forgotten about little old me. Now I need to learn how to master Z

Joomla in order to update my page properly. The big guys want you to pay a lot for their SEO building capabilities and I can’t find anyone to work on my little operation. Navigating the Joomla site is frustrating and my two-page cliff notes version is not cutting it. We’ll keep plodding along.

RIP Charlie Meyers. Truly one of the greatest Colorado journalists of all time.

January 6, 2010
 In a Denver Post story in 1996, he described my uncle Arnie Perez’s goose calling as that of a maestro.
“Later, as the fog lifted and geese flew closer, Perez went to work. Alternating the penetrating clarion of the mystery flute with the seductive cackles of the Fleming, he became a symphony of goose calls, Louis Armstrong with a wooden trumpet.”
My tribute to Charlie is to re-print that aticle here. Thanks to the Denver Post.

The Denver Post

The Magic Flute: Calling all geese

December 4, 1996
Section: Sports
Page: D-12
   Charlie Meyers Denver Post Outdoor Editor
Caption: Caption: PHOTOS: The Denver Post/Charlie Meyers With a call to the wild, Arnie Perez trumpets his goose-pit sorcery. For Arnie Perez, the proof of performance comes with geese in the bag. Arnie Perez makes his call of the geese.

SEVERANCE – With the meticulous care of a concert violinist revealing a Stradivarius, the man produced a small case, unzipped it and extracted two long, slender cylinders.

I’d seen this sort of loving ceremony with artists before, such as in the movies, when Minnesota Fats takes out his pool cue or Clint Eastwood cleans his gun. These wooden tubes were goose calls – not the stubby, clumsy kind I had in my bag, but real instruments, the kind called flutes. One carried a brand label, a Dale Fleming; the other mysteriously blank.

“It’s my secret weapon. I got it from somewhere back East,” he nodded in the general direction the sun might rise if not for a dense layer of fog that held much of north-central Colorado in a velvet vise. “With all the competition out here, I need an advantage here and there.”

I’d suspected some sort of intrigue, ever since I’d received a call from a hunting companion a couple weeks earlier.

“I think I’ve found the best goose caller in Colorado, certainly the best I ever heard,” the friend said.

The words would seize the attention of any waterfowl enthusiast, but I was more than that. I also was an outdoor writer in search of a good story. In the parlayance of goose hunting, I had been called in. With apologies to Mozart, I was off to hear The Magic Flute.

Even though it happened 30 years ago, Arnie Perez remembers the first goose he bagged in Colorado for one key reason.

“Those were the days when you had just six tags for the season. I shot this goose and a Division of Wildlife guy came out to the pit to check me. It was Gurney Crawford.”

A lot has transpired in Colorado goose hunting, most of it good unless you’re a golf-course greens keeper, since Crawford (now deceased), a latter-day pied piper of waterfowl, began his grand experiment to attract migrating Canada geese to a Fort Collins lake. Birds by the barely counted thousands now flock to an area stretching far to the eastern plains and hunters multiplied apace.

Nowhere is hunting pressure more intense than around the reservoirs east of Fort Collins, where rivalry for hunting places, and geese, reaches epic proportions. With so many people trying to tempt geese that already have seen, and heard, everything that hunters from Alberta south can throw at them, Perez figures he has little room for error.

The predawn drill begins with decoys, 10 dozen lifelike full-bodies, which he arranges in painstaking detail: a large crescent with the pit as its epicenter, a family group here, a landing party there. Perez examines the set with a critic’s eye, then changes position for another angle.

“No sharp edges. Everything must be soft and rounded, an invitation to land.”

Hidden beneath an immaculately groomed pit cover, Perez speaks his only reservation of the day, one that, from the start, hung over us like, well, a fog. “Geese don’t like to land when they can’t see what’s there.”

Somewhere out in the growing light, a plaintive chorus of goose voices sounded from a neighboring lake, lifted and trailed away to the northwest.

“They’ve already got a place on their minds. We’ve got no chance at birds going off that way,” Perez said.

Later, as the fog lifted and geese flew closer, Perez went to work. Alternating the penetrating clarion of the mystery flute with the seductive cackles of the Fleming, he became a symphony of goose calls, Louis Armstrong with a wooden trumpet.

A broad-faced man with a grizzled beard, Perez puffed his cheeks even wider as he spoke to the birds, crooning, pleading and, as they flew closer, winning them with a chatter of excitement.

Like puppets, the geese spiraled down, as many as three groups working at once. Such is Perez‘s magic that, when a flock of 20 birds had been duped and three shot from it, he managed to convince the group to come back for another pass.

“I’ve learned never to predict what a goose will do.” Perez fills his pit with a torrent of cheerful enthusiasm. “Listen to that sound. There’s nothing like a flock of geese to get your attention, except maybe an elk bugling.”

Perez, 52, works as a painting contractor, but manages to hunt two or three days a week, rising from his Commerce City home at 4 a.m. for yet another trek north. So what does he do about sleep?

“When I’m old and in a rocking chair, I can sleep the rest of my life away.”

Perez offers hunting and calling lessons. You can reach him at 288-9613. SEVEN DEADLY SINS Maestro Arnie Perez advises against these common errors:

1. Decoy fatigue. “I repaint every year, touching up scratched spots and restoring highlights. I think it makes a big difference.”

2. Mismatched set. “I’ve seen whole flocks of decoys with their heads up. Use a blend of feeders and watchers, with lots of feeders for a look of contentment.”

3. Camouflage confusion. “Remember, your pit will be inspected by experts.” Perez takes extra care with his pit cover and, as a final touch, gathers local vegetation to complete the deception.

4. Nervous in the service. “Move very slowly inside the pit when geese are working. I’ve watched other pits through binoculars and been amazed at all the bobbing and weaving. You can imagine what the geese saw from up in the air.”

5. See no evil. “Always be alert for anything that might have gone wrong with your set, such as a decoy tipped over by wind. If the geese keep looking but refuse to come in, something is wrong and you’d better fix it.”

6. Dialing long distance. “Most people shoot when the geese are too far out and either miss or wound birds. I hate to see geese wounded.”

7. Location, location, location. “It’s just like real estate. If you don’t have a field with a good food supply near a consistent flight pattern, you won’t get many geese.” 



All content © 1996- The Denver Post and may not be republished without permission.
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When the Dove Cries

September 4, 2009

“This is what is sounds like. When the doves cry.” Prince


          It’s the quote I wrote on my daughter’s napkin that day. Silly little thing I do. When I make her lunch for school, I always write a quote on a napkin for her. It’s probably something I picked up from Ma. She always made my lunch and would include words of love or encouragement. But this quote was meaningful on several levels. The boy she likes, Brian, is a metal head but he also has a soft spot for Prince and Michael Jackson (RIP). One of his favorite songs is that Dove one off Purple Rain. But she also knew I was going dove hunting that day.

Hunting with Uncle Chinky. One of my favorite things in the world to do. I was about giddy that morning because he was taking me dove hunting. I’ve hunted elk, turkey, goose, pheasant, quail, grouse, rabbit and duck, but never had the opportunity to hunt the small, darting birds. I was prepared with gun, license, shells, lunch, water, vest and chair. Course I didn’t know there was a small problem with my prized Mossberg shotgun.

More on that later.

          I got to his house and let myself in through the back door. The newspaper was on the table – he’s a newspaper man like myself after all. Usually when I show up for goose hunting, Arnold has the truck loaded and running and his ready to hit the pre-dawn morning field to wait for geese beneath a chilly corn field.

But on this morning, it was slow going. We chatted and he finished his coffee. My Aunt Irene was up, getting ready to go teach the children. He seemed to know the birds would be there waiting for us. And plenty of them if his friend Terry was right. We finished packing his truck and headed off to Loveland.

We talked about life and family with ease, but the ride still seemed excruciatingly long. I was anxious to try my shotgun skills on the challenging bird and hoped I wouldn’t come away empty handed. That’s the case in many of our hunts, but as Uncle Chinky says: “It’s the hunt, not the kill.”

As soon as we unhinged the barbed-wire fence at his friend Terry’s farm, we saw the gray birds streaking from the fields into the trees nearby. I was already reaching for my gun as he warned again not to shoot by the heavily-trafficked road not 100 yards behind where we were to hunt.

I loaded the shells into my vest pockets, trying not to spill any as I looked to the morning sky for doves skimming the trees. I took several shots, missed badly. But I got lucky with a long shot and knocked one down across the stream cutting the farmland in two.

My first kill! You gotta be kidding me! When elk, goose or turkey hunting it takes hours – not minutes – to get a target. I love this stuff. I raced across the bridge to get my bird, trying to keep my eyes on the spot where I thought it went down. Bam! Bam! Arnold was easily dropping birds from the sky on his own.

I HAD to find that bird!

I walked the part where it went down over and over again, but couldn’t find it. My cousin Dave called then and I frantically told him I had to find the damn bird before Arnold came across that bridge and took my man card! Couldn’t find the thing. Did it fly away somehow? I thought it came down. Of course I was still distracted by the birds still flying over – shooting now and then. Finally he crossed the bridge.

“It’s right here, ya dummy.”

He pointed to the gray lump right next to the walking path – I ‘d crossed her at least three times. I got a little blood on my finger as I picked her up and handed her to my uncle. He helped me find the vest pocket where she belonged – I had never used that pocket before in 7 years of ownership. Felt good to have that warm lump by my side – trophy is an important thing, for some reason, to a hunter.

I dropped another bird shortly after that – then proceeded to plow through some 50 shells as I vainly tried to shoot the birds. They seemed to laugh at me as they would dip in altitude at the last minute. Dart sideways instantly. Leap into the sky on dancing wings. My right ear was ringing. Uncle Chinky was alternately laughing at me, trying to help me shoot straight, complimenting me on how quick I could pump three shells through the Mossberg and insulting my aiming abilities.

When he gave me a double-barrel to shoot, I dropped one more bird and hit the tails of several I tried for. We were literally having a blast. After we used the three boxes of shells he brought (that’s 125 shells for you folks counting), we decided to go to town and buy some more. The birds had stopped flying but would be coming back to the trees in the late afternoon. We put the 12 birds we had in a paint bucket, under a bag of ice, in the shade.

As we drove to town, we started talking about chokes. The things on the end of a shotgun to make the BB pattern wider or smaller. Turns out I had my turkey choke in. Designed for hitting the small head and neck of a turkey, the pattern is much smaller. Arnold was actually impressed I was able to drop even two birds (or maybe he was just not pouring it on my wounded pride). When we got to the sports store, we asked for a better choke. “On opening day. Are you kidding?” Turns out dove hunting is a big deal to a lot of folks in Colorado. How could I have lived here my whole life and never heard of such fun! All he had left was a skeet choke. I almost snatched it from his hands.

When we got back to the field, the birds had started returning all right. My new shells were in the back, but I still had two shells left from the morning. I popped them in my Mossberg. Bam Bam. Two shots, two birds down. I was jumping around like I’d scored a touchdown. The birds started dropping then.

I lost one I’d dropped over a thick weed field. The green stalks were chest high and so thick, you had to pull apart each one to see six inches of ground. Even Arnold couldn’t find it. We finished cleaning our morning birds. Hell of a lot easier than a goose, turkey or elk. Then the shooting continued. I was the only one shooting – Arnold had his fill of killing for the day. I was still in the rush of shooting the birds. Almost dropped a hawk until my uncle yelled at me.

“Ten more, then we’re out,” he said.

At the rate they were flying, I didn’t think it would take long.  Dove number 3 – an Eurasian – turned out to be the last bird of the day.

I shot him flying over the old barn and close to the dreaded weed field where Arnold told me not to shoot them anymore. But I swore it fell just outside that. We searched but couldn’t find him. We thought he flew away, even though we both saw him go down. I saw him cowered next to the barn. My uncle had come up on wounded birds that morning and showed  me how to bang their heads off your boot heel to quickly put them out of pain. But this guy bolted, one bloody wing dragging behind him. I tried to outrun him, but he was too quick and I was holding a shotgun with one hand while trying to grab him with the other.

He ran to the irrigation ditch, which had steep sides bordered by stout elm trees. He slid half-way down the slope, still hanging on and looking up at me. I tossed a branch at him hoping to drop him in the water and drown him. I had picked a bird from the stream earlier. He went into the water alright. But swam to shore, under the thick root of the tree and out of sight from me. Arnold showed up by then and was on the bridge. That bird hung on.

“I’ve never seen one with such a will to live,” he said. “Those damn Eurasians are tough. That’s why they’re killing off the other doves.”

He handed me his painters pole and I tried to dislodge the poor beast without being able to see it while hanging on to the tree and trying not to fall into the water.

“You got him!”

He went into the water, only to crawl back up on the bank and out of reach.

“You’re going to have to shoot him.”

I walked back out the bridge. He left for the truck. Arnold never believes in killing just for killing sake. He had chided me earlier because he thought I shot a bird sitting in a tree (It took off from the branch, I swear!). Just like he won’t let me shoot a goose that’s already on the ground. Got to give the game a fighting, fair chance. But this bird was suffering by my hand. So I brought my gun up, aimed carefully (like that was necessary with a shotgun) and pulled the trigger. The bird disappeared in a cloud of dirt and feathers. But it wouldn’t be that easy. As he slid into the water, I watching him desperately try to keep his head above water. He gulped three last breaths, then slowly his head slid into the water. I watched him drift away.

“You had to.” Arnold assured me.

I knew that, too. But somehow the fun of the hunt was gone, slowly drifting down the stream.

I Watched Your Kids Sunday or How the Vans Tour didn’t warp them

August 11, 2009

Or How The Vans Tour hasn’t warped them
 By Dennis Huspeni
Sunday started with glorious sunshine and a teenager happier than I’d seen her in what seemed like years. It ended with us holding hands (clutching desperately is a more accurate description) while walking quickly (“Don’t run. I’ll fall”) through driving hail with a lightening storm to match, In between was the 15th Vans Warped Tour.
In the car it was: “I’m SO excited to see 3OH!3.” But when we got Invesco Field @ Mile High Stadium an hour before the gates were set to open, it was cool detachment. Just standing in the forked line (the sidewalk split on the south side and for whatever reason, the line split. When it rejoined an hour later, some were pissed how it swelled) and watching the show which has already started without any bands – today’s youth. One 16-year-old looking boy with dark hair held a sign up high as he walked the line “Need a Drummer?” Another in the line said to his buddy, “Hey I’m a drummer” obviously missing the question mark on the sign. Everyone else periodically looked down at their hands to text some friends, so they could hook up. (What did we do 23 years ago without cell phones? Oh yeah, danced around to get in the door so we could pee off all the beer)
Brittany’s friend Ashley mentioned, when the security guards removed the cap from every bottle of water, some liked to throw bottles of urine at these things. Every time a drop hit me from then on, I couldn’t help but cringe a little.
At 15, Brittany thought she was old enough to attend one of these day-long festivals of music and blatant consumerism (there were no water fountains, but plenty of $4 bottles of water). My wife and I almost agreed (Brit has been to at least two live shows without us at similar pop/rock/metal-rap concerts). But Ashley’s parents were wary. In retrospect, all you really had to worry about was getting pushed by a wayward mosh pit, if you happened to press close enough to get into the crowd. Sure you could smell grass, but it’s not like people were trying to push it on anyone. With the violence (no fights I saw, but very violent most pits), profanity (some bands dropped “F” bombs like candy), drug use and exposed flesh it was definitely rated “R.” So anyway, I agreed to accompany the teens. Sure Brittany was pissed her Dad had to go, but at least she was going.
Once we got in the gates on the south side of the massive stadium where the Broncos play, it was an assault on the senses. Smell the BBQ meats roasting. Hear the music already stared on the six stages. See the colorful tents shielding from the glaring sun vendors hawking belts, clothes, video games, beverages, posters, jewelry, bags, tech devices, accessories and the band representatives (and members themselves before the day ended). The touch would come later as thousands of bodies pressed together to both shelter themselves from the driving rain and bounce to the music of 3OH!3. The taste of water, water and more water (with some of the previously-mentioned BBQ, fried chicken pieces, fries and a little beer tossed in for bubbly coldness more than any high).
I vainly tried to ask what the “plan” was. But I should have known. A real one-day vacation from the house in Brittany’s case would be a day with no-such things as plans – including any contingent meeting place if (I mean when) we got split up. Silly old guy. That’s what cell phones are for.
The girls immediately found the biggest crowd and ditched dear old dad as quick as they could. Sure I could have stayed on their trail close enough they never could have ditched me, but how un-cool would that have been? Hey you were at least here to “supervise” best you could. You have to let her grow up sometimes. And taking care of herself in a big crowd with God-knows-who is part of that process. So I let them go. But I was a bit hurt, since I had no one to “hang” with myself and knew only two bands playing – neither playing until much later in the afternoon/evening. I sent a few tart messages in an attempt to be firm. Sent a guilt-inducing “thanks for ditching me” text to her then decided to find out what all the fuss was about.
For bands whose names I misspell, I’m apologizing in advance. My first show was Rockincide. Clad in my white “Cabo Wabo” shirt with a large red 55 with a “no” circle around it on my back, short gray hair, cargo pants with 11 pockets and white tennis shoes (I had lived through enough hot, sun-scorching Colorado summer days and knew better than to wear anything black, despite the fashion statement I could have made) I had no illusions that I was tagged by the youth as anything but a parent, not participant. But I can appreciate a driving beat, pounding lyrics, head-banging and jumping around. Hell I cut my teeth on AC/DC, Van Halen, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourn, Motley Crew, Cinderella, Def Leppard, Cinderella, Quiet Riot, Rush and many more hair-bands than I can remember. Growing up in Denver, I’d seen them all live and had more than my fair share of sore necks and shredded T-shirts to prove it. What about the youth today could be so scary? So I wandered into the edge of the crowd and jumped around a little. Pumping my fist and enjoying the music. I couldn’t help but shake my head at the mow-hawks, tattoos, short skirts, fish nets, piercings, earrings that looked positively tribal – but I wrote that off to getting old. There wasn’t anything menacing about them.
Brittany had to find me before too long. After all, I had the money. The concerts were free after you bought your $45 admission ticket. But precious little else was. At this stage in her life, she always returns to me when she needs money or a ride somewhere. So I bought them lunch and we found a tiny spot of shade under a young tree. People flocked to the shade like animals in the desert to the water hole. Though we didn’t bring sunscreen – Brittany insisted she didn’t need it despite her exposed ivory shoulders – we were smart enough to buy a $10 CD where the man had promised we’d get “free water” all day as long as we had a bottle or cup. That disc became our “Magic Free Water CD” (Thanks to the nice folks who sold the soundtrack to National Lampoon’s Endless Bummer). And a nice kid in line shared his sunscreen. We re-applied at about 2 p.m., thanks to the cool lady handing out the “free CD” water. So there- I couldn’t protect her from the cursing, smell of weed and sight of different, wilder, youth – but at least I stopped her skin from burning (it did anyway) and kept her and her friends fed and watered. I’d do the symbolic tend-a-child-like-a-growing plant line here, but don’t want to jeopardize my attempt at still being cool.
So after I let it go (my parental control along with my sweet and innocent baby girl), she and Ashley went their way and I went mine. I love exploring and that’s exactly what I was doing. Exploring what the kids are listening to, talking about and doing nowadays. I twisted my ankle at the Lucky 13 show. The lead guitarist had a stand put in the middle of the meager crowd (maybe 50-75) and the band urged everyone to crowd in and start a rotating mosh pit. I ran into the circle and got bumped and pushed as I ran around in the dirt like a kid – banging my head and pumping my fists. A boy fell in front of me and I twisted my ankle stepping on his shoe. I helped him up and apologized – he just kept going unfazed. Just before that, I was thinking: “I can still do this! Never too old to ROCK.” The twisted ankle still hurts two days later, but – like Brittany’s sunburn – sometimes you have to suffer for the music. Pain is part of life and with all the tats, piercings, violent fight-like mosh pits – these kids seem to know that and grasp it. So in that respect, I still haven’t grown up. Thank God. An old skiing cliché goes “If you’re not falling, you’re not skiing hard enough.”
Then I hooked up with the girls again and we caught the Tat show. The London-based band rocked and the female lead singer was having a great time with the crowd. A couple of people fired up a joint right next to my daughter. I hovered close enough to watch, but knew she would make the right choice if offered anything illegal, immoral or unethical.
We wandered over to the All Time Low show on the Main Stage and I quickly lost them again. But I enjoyed the show enormously. Not only did the singer and guitarist play a tight set, they played with the crowd in between. “Hey that girl who just flashed her tits at us. She didn’t look 18! Could an officer please go arrest her! Any cops in the house? Go arrest her. You need to be at least 13 to flash us. Ok 12.” I cringed again, knowing Brittany heard all this.
Brittany, suffering from a headache and sore feet by then, needed a sit-down break while Ashley happily plunged into the crowd to see if she could make it all the way to the front. She did. At one point I tried to take her some water, but there was no way I could wiggle in that far and find one bobbing teenager among a sea of them. I made the mistake of calling her name once, and everyone shredded her: “Uh-oh. Ashley’s dad is looking for her.” Thank God she was out of ear-shot. Hell, everything was out of ear-shot (SUPPOSED to be loud, old man!)
The group had grown to 5 by then as the girls’ friends Shane and Tarrin(sp?) met up with us. I left them in the shade of the Vans bus by the ½ pipe so I could take in the Bad Religion show. I was amazed by the sight of a no-more than 4-year-old girl with a “Latch Key Kid” shirt on perched on her father’s shoulders. I wouldn’t even let my 12-year-old daughter Elese come! (Though she begged, pouted and pleaded for days)
I chuckled as some of the bands told the kids to accept Jesus Christ in their lives. Many cheered. But some held their middle fingers up high and tossed a couple of “F” bombs. We started hovering closer to the main stage as the day wore on. The girls all got their T-Shirts. I met the lead-singer and guitarist from Lucky 13 and told them how much I enjoyed the show. The free water booth closed and we had only enough cash left for two more bottles of water. After bouncing to the grinding Under Oath show, the wait was on for 3OH!3.
We started to push towards the front and I was amazed to look back and see the crowd and grown huge behind me (we were at the end of the crowd for the Under Oath show). 3OH!3 took the stage just as the sprinkling rain started with a few burst of lightening off to the west, drawing gasps like at a fireworks show. The youth all pushed towards the front, started bouncing in unison and everyone sang every word. I had forgotten the days of screaming lyrics to every song of my favorite band at a rocking concert. This was extremely cool and reminded me at the end – these kids were no different than I was though few of them were born when I saw my first concert – AC/DC at the old McNicholls Arena – not far from where we were standing Sunday night. The band rushed through four songs as the rain intensified to a steady-down pour. Ashley handed me her backpack and said she needed to go. I knew she meant crowd-surfing and I grew concerned. I knew her parents probably wouldn’t approve – all those strange hands on their daughter and the possibility of her being dropped and hurt. But I didn’t stop her. I laughed as Shane hauled her up and – poof – off she went. I saw her laugh all the way to the front – rising above the crowd when she was tossed. I gasped but hoped for the best. We all drew in tighter, staying warm by bouncing up and down while pumping our fists to the air. Ashley made it back to us positively exhilarated. They finished with the song everyone wanted to hear – just not so soon – “Don’t Trust Me.” I could even sing that one, but Brittany later informed me I’m still old and “everyone knows that song.”
The five of us quickly joined hands and started moving quickly to the exit. Thousands waded through the river of empty bottles, trash and God only knows what else and they vainly tried to find cover. Some held pizza boxes over their heads, some found whole folding tables to carry over themselves. Many hugged the side of Mile High Stadium, trying desperately to escape the painful hail. We stopped briefly under a tree, but I pushed us forward to the nearby car (I was done cursing the $20 we paid to park that close). I tried to apologize that the show was “ruined.” But Brittany looked at me, smiled with that beautiful smile that has melted my heart for 15 years, and said: “The storm just made it more memorable.”
Ah. Rock-n-Roll. Some things never change.


Hello world!

August 10, 2009

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