Friday, February 27, 2009
When I returned to Colorado in 2005 following my husband's death from cancer, I did it for our children. I also did it for myself, of course, as I still had very dear friends here and a support system. Some of those friends have moved on since, and new ones have come along, but that's another post for another day.
My house-hunting trip was limited to one school district, where we had lived for eleven years prior to our move to Oregon in 2001. Our oldest daughter, Barbi, graduated from high school here in 2000, and our two youngest, Bonnie and Ben, went to elementary school here. The memories we all shared of their dad's cancer and death were left out of state--as much as those memories can be left--and he actually helped us plan this move before his death. It was, of course, bittersweet for us all.
The children fell right back into their circle of friends. It was almost as if we'd never left. Ben, in particular, was welcomed with open arms by his old soccer buddies. Their parents offered me support and friendship as well, and came to stand at my side when Barbi walked down the aisle in 2006 with a grandpa on each arm instead of her father.
When we lived here the first time, we had both Dave's and my income, of course, so we were able to live on the other side of the freeway in the community of Woodmoor--a modest house in an old growth pine forest on almost an acre of land with a view of Pikes Peak. Oh, how I loved that old house!
The median home price in this school district had ballooned in the four years since our move, and I soon discovered that even with Dave's life insurance, I couldn't touch anything on that side of the freeway. So I searched in the small, historic town of Palmer Lake--and, yes, there really is a lake, as you'll see in the photo stream on this blog, and in some of the photos at this online gallery.
At first I was disappointed not to be in the same place in the woods with a view of Pikes Peak, as I'd come to think of that mountain as my rock. However, I soon realized I'm now on a mountain--Sundance Mountain. I have an incredible view from up here of where I used to live, and of city lights with a huge deck I can use in the summer.
And I've also discovered peace. This community is quiet and charming. It still has its own small definition of a downtown, and is still surrounded by a hodgepodge of both small and large historic homes. Sure, there are subdivisions with McMansions nearby, but the charm is here in the "inner town." One can't refer to this as city by any stretch. In fact, we're so small we don't even get mail delivery--we get bears.
Local businesses hang in there even during these trying economic times, and offer a personal touch never found in the city or at the big chains. One example is the local coffee shop, the Speedtrap, which offers evening entertainment three nights a week in addition to wonderful espresso and coffee. They've added Sunday morning waffles as well. It is the place for locals to hang out and share news in Palmer Lake. Every town, city, and/or neighborhood should have such a place. In fact, it's where I met my gentleman friend. Need I say more?
Sometimes we may not end up where we want to be, but often we land exactly where we need to be. Something to contemplate over my morning coffee, which isn't nearly as tasty as it is at the Speedtrap.