Denver Letter: Third Edition
Bookstores, carbs, vaccines, and an insurrection. OK, 2021, you’ve got my attention.
Close to Home
While Washington, D.C., is more than 1,400 miles away, our nation’s capital felt close to home after a riot and the second impeachment of President Donald J. Trump. Images of Representative Jason Crow assisting people in the House gallery gave insight into what was happening at the Capitol on January 6 (read Kasey Cordell’s 2020 profile in 5280 of the former Army Ranger). Representatives Diana DeGette and Joe Neguse were selected as impeachment managers (in the historic vote, Colorado’s delegation split on party lines). And Representative Lauren Boebert garnered more headlines than I can tally here, including this article in the Steamboat Pilot & Today (mentioned by 9News’ Kyle Clark) that details a letter condemning Boebert signed by 68 elected officials in her district.
After days of watching live coverage, consuming news reports, and doom scrolling, I was glad to stumble upon this uplifting moment:
I’m not one to make grand resolutions on the last day of the year (which is good because 2020 would have been full of broken promises and disrupted plans). But I did take time in the last few weeks to go through photos, articles, and notes with a particular intention: to find moments of light. The timing was ideal as Covid-19 cases rose across much of the country and the depth of grief seemed to echo a bit more in the winter cold. So, in no particular order, here are some bright moments of 2020.
→ Innovative foodies built businesses (via 303)
→ A U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flyover gave people something to cheer for (photos from The Colorado Sun)
In December, the City Council voted to officially rename Denver’s Columbus Park to La Raza Park. The effort—sustained by decades of community activism—received unanimous approval, reports Denverite’s Esteban L. Hernandez (the article also links to previous coverage about this iconic park). This fall, Denver Public Library’s Alex Hernandez researched the park’s history, including finding plans from 1903.
Shots in Arms and the Pandemic
While I knew the vaccine authorizations were coming, I definitely broke out in dance when the news became official in December. It’s an incredible scientific achievement, but the rollout hasn’t been smooth. While keeping up with the details (and all the other news), I nearly missed this excellent piece from The Sentinel editor Dave Perry until Corey Hutchins highlighted it in his newsletter. It gives a journalist’s perspective on 2020 and the pandemic, but I think all readers will be moved by his words (especially Perry’s story about delivering papers).
Head for the Hills (Safely)
Many of my old-school hobbies made a comeback in 2020. Cooking from scratch? Check. Vegetable gardens? Check. Puzzles? Check. You can add snowshoeing and Nordic skiing to the list, too. I’ve printed plenty of words over the years on my fear of downhill skiing (tl;dr: I’m not the most coordinated person and gravity is fierce). Ideally, I’d spend a winter morning on cross-country skis, which is downright punishing and exhilarating. This 2018 story by Sam Anderson for The New York Times Magazine is the BEST (yes, the capitalization is completely justified) article about cross-country skiing.
As folks search for outdoor activities sans crowds during the pandemic, it’s not surprising that interest in cross-country skiing, backcountry skiing, and snowshoeing have grown. However, that also means that more people are in the backcountry when, as Jon Murray notes in The Denver Post, “the most volatile mountain snow conditions in nearly a decade have Colorado avalanche forecasters and backcountry skiers on edge.” In short, be safe out there.
As I start to ponder the possibility of traveling again and sincerely miss the hours I can while away in bookstores, I stumbled across an old Outside article: “Adventure Town Bookstores Worth Traveling For.” The Book Nook in Buena Vista was on the list, and the story made me ponder some of my favorite destination bookstores. Nearby, there are many to choose from, including the Tattered Cover Book Store, BookBar, The Bookies Bookstore, and Matter (check out the website’s wearables section; I have obviously not reached peak number of enamel pins yet). And here are some of my favorite getaway bookstores in Colorado, which I hope to return to soon.
If you are a fan of carbs, this story on a bucatini shortage in the United States is just a whole lot of fun. It’s a stream-of-consciousness guide to reporting that starts with a personal question, which turns into a conversation starter, and becomes a bit of an obsession. The reporter eventually files a FOIA request in an effort to get answers. It’s a fast read, but in case you’re hungry by the end of it, check out Marczyk Fine Foods’ website. The company offers an uber convenient curbside pickup, so you can stock up on a variety of pasta and sauce options, including Spinelli’s Sauce Co.’s Marinara or Mercantile Provision & Canning Co.’s Red Tomato Mother Sauce (both local options).
I must give a huge shout-out to Amanda Croy, the incredibly talented designer who dreamed up a new logo and design for the Denver Letter. Isn’t it just perfect? Follow her on Instagram (@amandaraecroy)!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for supporting local writing. Thank you for being curious and inquisitive. If you like the newsletter, please consider sharing the Denver Letter with a friend.