First days in Durango makes newbies locals

At sunset on a Saturday, driving two SUVs packed with the stuff of our lives so far, my fiancé and I rolled down Main Avenue of our new hometown. Snowdown was in full swing, and people of all ages dressed in marching-band uniforms, masking-taped glasses, and “I Heart Nerds” T-shirts laughed in genial frivolity outside bars over jokes we couldn’t hear.

Amused and exhausted, we finally turned onto Fifth Avenue, the location of our duplex, stretched out the road-weariness and took a shot of Jameson, completely geeked on the coming days of finding our place in the storied community of Durango.

The week flew by as we unpacked, fixed up our bikes, made trips to Home Depot, and strolled to downtown for breakfast, the art walk and job interviews. The sunny-days statistic highlighted in all tourist-related marketing materials for the area was proving true as was the famed welcoming warmth that drew us here in the first place.

But as the weather turned wintry toward the end of the week, the light of community shined even brighter by events surrounding the tragedy that took place on the day we’d moved to town.

Though we read about the death of Peter Carver in the paper, we really felt the weight of this loss in an overwhelming pause throughout town as the stack of memorabilia piled up in front of Carver Brewing Co. and especially at Saturday evening’s memorial celebration. Here we were, a week after arriving in Durango, surrounded by hundreds of people hugging out the grief, smiling through tears, and toasting PBRs over a monument built to commemorate the life of a kid whom we soon learned to be a local legend and testament to living large. This time, the ones donning marching-band uniforms actually played instruments, creating a most joyful ambiance in the midst of suffering, and I’ll forever remember singing “Happy Birthday” to a kid I never met but couldn’t help feeling was family.

And that’s how Peter Carver’s picture ended up on our refrigerator.

Thanks for living up to the hype, Durango.

Joy Morris