Tom Clyde: There’s much to be thankful for, especially in Park City
We are now fully into the holiday season, and the mailbox is stuffed with catalogs. I’m always puzzled how I end up on some of the lists. Most of my clothes come from either adding an Allis-Chalmers logo hoodie to a tractor parts order to get above the free shipping threshold, or off the rack at Tractor Supply Co. in Heber. Great flannel shirts. With that fashion sensibility, I’ve landed on the lists of some very high-end clothing stores, and get catalogs filled with $150 shirts, cashmere sweaters, silk underwear, and the all-important leather satchel/man-purse. Everything I need for working around the ranch.
I also get catalogs full of ski clothing. Those have a lot more interest, though I always wait for the end-of-season discounts on that stuff, too. It’s always interesting to look at what they have to offer, and what colors the leather satchel crowd will be wearing this year. All the new stuff is made of miracle fabrics that promise to be as water-tight as a wet suit, as breathable as a cotton t-shirt, and warm enough for the north pole. One had a line of $600 ski pants. Compared to the price of an Epic Locals pass, that seems like a lot for a pair of pants. How special could they be?
It turns out they are very nice ski pants, with pockets in all the right places, adjustable waistband (for after the Deer Valley lunch), vents, and on and on. I have to admit to being tempted. They are definitely a step up from my cheap, but serviceable, pants. There wasn’t any duct tape on them. But I got hung up on the color selection. The pants were available in “Magnet,” “Eiffel Tower,” “Monument,” and “Tap Shoe.” It was hard to know which would look best with a jacket in “Mountain Shadow,” or “Falcon.”
My main jacket is blue, and I have a lighter shell in green. Can you really pair green with Falcon? Would the blue jacket clash with the Eiffel Tower pants? Maybe Monument would be the better choice, except that I have no idea what any of those colors would look like. I guess when you are asking $600 bucks for a pair of pants, it doesn’t seem adequate to call them “black.” Nobody would pay up for black pants. You can buy black pants at Walmart. But if they are “Tap Shoe with Falcon accents,” well, $600 seems like a steal. Somehow, it feels like they are trying a little too hard.
Notwithstanding the existential threat posed by romaine lettuce, we celebrated Thanksgiving, and nobody died. Thanksgiving is a great holiday, and not only because somebody else does all the work and all I do is show up and eat. It’s a time for sharing with family and friends. In a world that seems to be completely off-kilter, it’s good to step back to appreciate all that we have. We live in a community so insulated from the harsh realities of the world that our big concerns are e-bikes on the trails and overly complicated parking regulations. We lie awake nights worrying that somebody might be driving a snowmobile on Bonanza Flat, or putting glass in the curbside recycling bins. Still, we soldier on.
The wildfires in California have left thousands with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Unlike the hurricanes, where there was enough advance warning that people could make plans and get themselves and a few necessary possessions to safety, the wildfire consumed Paradise without warning. Whether people had the presence of mind to grab a sleeping bag and tent on their way out the door, or were able to buy something once they had escaped, they are now living in Walmart parking lots, trying to find loved ones. The task of re-building life is overwhelming. They will be months getting the insurance settlements worked out. There aren’t enough carpenters in the country to rebuild the town (while they are also rebuilding towns along the Gulf Coast). It will be years putting things back together, and nothing will ever be “normal” again.
We ought to pay close attention to their recovery efforts, and also look at what we can do to prevent a similar disaster here. There’s definitely some chainsaw time in my yard next spring to push the forest back a little.
Our community isn’t without real problems. There’s a housing shortage in a town where about half the houses are vacant. The broken immigration system weighs heavily on many of our neighbors, and the plague of substance abuse has affected all of us in one way of another. We should be thankful that there are efforts to address the problems. What we can’t solve, we might at least soften. We care about each other.
There is much to be thankful for.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.
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Columnist Tom Clyde has been unable to nab a ski reservation so far, so instead he’s catching up on all the important animal-related news going on in the world.