Monte Vista, Colorado

Daily Prompt We Built This City What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?

“March 9, 2014. That’s the last time I responded to this prompt.”

“But Lamont, you didn’t live here then. What about now? You live in a different place. You live in Monte Vista, Colorado now.”

“Monte Vista isn’t a city. It’s a town of 4000 people. My town is struggling to survive.”

“What do you love most about it?”

“I love everything about it. I love its smallness, the kindness of its residents, the natural beauty and space that surround it — it sits in a valley as large as Connecticut. The whole valley has only 40,000 people. I love that it’s in Colorado and not California. I’m very happy to be back where I belong, a contented “greenie.” I love my little house — it’s just my size + a little extra for company. The night sky is so dark you can see forever into the darkness. Wild animals live all around it. It’s rimmed by mountains. It’s Heaven.”

“If you were mayor, what would you do to solve the town’s problems?”

“We have a good mayor and many involved citizens. My town’s only problem is money. This valley is very, very poor. Most people live at or below the poverty level. I only lived here a month or two before I understood that what this place needs is paying jobs for people. My town is run partly by volunteers. It’s impressive, moving, but people need money to live. I have an idea to solve it for my town, anyway, but…”

“What’s that?”

“A fancy retirement community that provides ‘active seniors’ all kinds of outdoor activities and trips to interesting places such as the Santa Fe Opera. They could have the best of all worlds here. We’re a few hours from Santa Fe and Taos, and a few more hours from Denver — lots of cultural events, two major airports. Indian ruins all over the place, too. Beautiful nature accessible to anyone who’s ambulatory — the more ambulatory the more is accessible. Great fishing. Rafting. Historic trains. Music. Hot springs all around. History EVERYWHERE. A golf course. A university some 16 miles away. Good grocery stores. Interesting day trips. Hospitals close by. Plenty of doctors. It would be paradise of a retirement community.”

“What about the climate?”

“It’s not Florida, but it’s not the worst. It seems (so far) to have real three-month long seasons. Winter can be cold, but the retirement community would have an indoor gym and pool. The sun shines here most of the time. Great location for passive solar — many people have it. Summer is not terribly hot, either. My idea would be to offer residents little gardens with private garden sheds for those who love to garden. One thing there is plenty of is land, space. Water is a bit sparse, but… Best of all, retired people wouldn’t take jobs from the people who live here. The retirement community would provide jobs to people at all levels from high school graduates on up. It would have to be built and maintained ONLY by contractors who live and work in the San Luis Valley. There would be rules about that. I just don’t know who would build it and where the money would come from. I’ve no experience with that. But as it is, it’s difficult for people to stay here. They think there are more opportunities elsewhere and there probably are, but there is also more competition and a different kind of struggle. I sure wasn’t riding the gravy train in SoCal. I was working three jobs and barely making one end of the month meet the other. To get to one of the schools where I taught, I had a 60 mile ONE WAY commute from my home down to the Mexican border to teach a Saturday class. I didn’t mind. It’s how it was and I loved what I did, but it was not easy by any stretch of the imagination.”

“Well, you’re an idea person, Lamont. Have you communicated it?”

“No. I may some day but the fact is I kind of don’t live here. I live mostly in my writing at the moment. I need to join a church, go to neighborhood watch meetings, etc. Join clubs.”

“You’ve never been a joiner, Lamont.”

“No, I’m really not. I was going to the Arts Council meeting last night, but I’ve been fighting this cold.”

“Is it better?”

“Finally, yeah.”

11 thoughts on “Monte Vista, Colorado

  1. I knew it was a last year’s post. It was a good post. I get hits on old posts, a couple which get hundreds of hits per week. That’s why I don’t dump the old posts. Some have a long shelf life. You got a problem with me liking it? I mean, shit, I could NOT like it, right? Some people, you just can’t make’em happy.

    As for mayors, we don’t have one. We don’t even have a city council. We have a board of selectmen, but no chief selectman (are select women are also men), either. If we created a mayoral position, no one would run for it. We’d wind up with the same bozos running the place who run it now.

    Problems? What problems? It is 1954 in Uxbridge. Everything is hunky dory. The Beaver lives next door and we have full unemployment, er, employment.

    • I like that you liked the old post, Marilyn. I hardly ever delete my old posts, either. People really DO go back and read stuff if they newly follow my blog and there are a few good pieces back in there. What I kind of don’t like is WPs recycling these things, but I can’t change it. We have a mayor and a city council. Our town is nothing if not fiercely determined to continue to exist…

      • Our Town is a perfect example of why it is not a good idea for an “outsider” (anyone not born and raised here) to get involved in local politics. Garry was invited and politely declined. I didn’t understand at the time, but he was right. Local politics around here is incredibly vicious. Probably because there is so little at stake and it’s all about honor.

  2. My last post on this is still on the grid, and and I have nothing more to say. You have to feel at home in a town otherwise it is not your town. Sounds a great place where you live with the wild animals around, nice and green and yes, that could be my town as well.

  3. Not sure about Lamont and the Dude, here … but the topic is well worth posting about – especially as you have constructive ideas !
    Come to think of it, that’s why you used ’em: you didn’t want to be writing a letter to the editor, eh ? 🙂

    • I didn’t know what Lamont and his buddy were going to talk about. If I had known, I probably would have used my own voice. I posted this on the community facebook page for my town and it got read by a LOT of people, liked by some. Comments from 2. In any case, the idea is out there. Since I’m NOT going to do anything to further it’s realization, that’s about all I have to offer.

      • It’s enough. It lets them know you’re there and committed; and if they don’t recognize what you say as sound common sense (not to mention doable !), tant pis pour eux …

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