FROM THE EDITOR: Savannah Nelson
A break, no matter how brief, can do a person a lot of good. This past weekend I returned to my hometown of Gunnison, Colo. and recharged my batteries—surrounded by fallen leaves, snow-topped mountains, and plenty of small-town charm.
One perk to dating my high school sweetheart is that trips home mean the same thing: we hop in the Jeep and drive four hours to our isolated mountain town, and roll down the windows as soon as the speed limit drops to 35. We listen to my “Home” playlist and guess how many cars we’ll see between Monarch and Doyleville. We make plans to balance time equally between both our families and how we can squeeze in reunions with our high school friends: those that are visiting like us, or moved back in with their parents, or those that never left the valley to begin with.
Though there’s only a handful of restaurants to choose from, part of the fun is our illusion of choice—we get to decide which of the local menus we miss on a daily basis gets our temporary business. Anejos has the best margaritas, the Gunnisack prepares a classic deep-dish cookie, and Marios makes a mean half-and-half salad, though you run the risk of seeing everyone you know in those cramped booths. We go to places that ask for a phone number, type in our parents’ landline, and cash in their food points for that local reward discount—making sure to ask them beforehand, of course.
Like we have grown up doing, we wondered how to spend our time in town. After a brainstorming session we found ourselves ripe pumpkins for carving. There aren’t any local pumpkin patches, but the $4 bins out front of City Market do the trick. We used the tools in the garage (the hacksaw was ideal for initial cutting) to sculpt our squash. As the dark coolness of night settled, we lit up our pumpkins: as we walked to the only bar in town, we looked back at the glowing grins of our masterpieces lining the sidewalk.
Timbers, as usual, was filled with familiar faces. Over my peach vodka and Sprite, I caught up with old friends—we talked about college and work and high school and change and old teachers and our parents and stagnation. At the end of the night, we went our separate ways, vowing to see each other in November, promising for a lengthy December visit.
There’s a reason I left Gunnison and moved to a city so entirely new and different. But everytime I go home, I realize how rejuvenating a visit can be. There’s nothing quite like walking home under a sky full of stars, seeing your old ballet instructor at the coffee shop, or pulling up to your driveway with deer in your parking spot. I’m thankful for such a wonderful home to return to.