June 21st. Live, From Cripple Creek

Velma is helping out some friends.  She used to work at the Imperial Hotel up here as a housekeeper.  The owners knew that she was much more than a housekeeper, though.  She’s like an ambassador/promoter for the two places that they own up here.  They also own a place called The Carr Manor, which was the original Cripple Creek High School, that they refurbished and converted into one of the most beautiful bed and breakfast establishments in the state.  It’s like a museum, with each room dedicated to a part of Cripple Creek history.  A room with nothing but things from Jack Dempsey.  Another room dedicated to Lowell Thomas.  Velma’s Grandmother, Inez Beery, graduated from the high school, so she has a special love for it.  This summer, the owners brought four girls from an exchange program to work in the hotels.  Two of the girls are from Russia or one of the old Soviet countries, perhaps Georgia.  The other two are from China.  The owners asked Velma to help them out a few days a week teaching and supervising the girls.  Two or three years ago, when we were still living up here, Velma worked with two Russian girls, and we kind of ended up adopting them for the summer.  We took them to Steamboat Springs, and the North Pole, and Water World.  Velma asked them if they could go anywhere in the United States, where would they like to go.  In unison, they said “Las Vegas”.  A week later, I’m blasting across Utah in a rented car at 3 in the morning, headed to the Excalibur with two young Russian ladies.  But that’s a story for another time…..


So, back to the present, Velma is up here on Saturdays and Sundays watching over these young ladies.  I’m sitting here in the empty house, on a plastic lawn chair using my phone to do this.  She seems like she’s trying to keep some distance between me and these young ladies, for some strange reason.  But here’s my point.  I kind of left Cripple Creek on sour terms, which I’m writing about elsewhere, and Velma’s bosses weren’t my biggest fans.  Today, I dropped her off at the hotel and went in to make sure she got in alright.  I headed out of the building and walked right into them.  They are very nice people.  Incredibly nice and successful, and we got along really good until the end.  Walking into them was uncomfortable for me, and a bit for them, I’m sure.  But we both stuck out our hands at the same time, and we shook hands as he told me in these exact words, “I know it’s hard for you to come up here, but thank you so much.  Your wife is a blessing to us and we don’t know what we would do without her right now”.  That’s Velma.  That’s how people that are around her feel about her.  The smart ones anyway.  And I think I know why.  She grew up in Bojon Town.  Her Grandmother raised her.  Her Grandmother wasn’t a Bojon, but she was from one of those other neighborhoods that I talked about.  Where they had values like they did in Bojon Town.  In fact, I told Velma that if her Grandmother would have lived in Bojon Town, everyone would have assumed she was a Bojon.  She acted just like a Bojon Grandmother would, and she instilled values into Velma that stuck much better with her than they did with me.  In fact, my wife tells everyone that she’s German, Dutch and Irish, but she’s a better Bojon than me.


This is what you can expect from your housekeeper if you stay at the Imperial when Velma is working.  Your room will be spotless.  I mean, you can get on a chair, move it to the door frames, and check for dust.  You can check for dust under the mattress.  I know.  I try to help her from time to time.  I’m to the point where she’ll let me pull dirty sheets and pillowcases off of a bed, and on a good day I can put the sheets back on without her taking them off and doing it ‘the right way’.  I do have a talent for ironing pillowcases, so I can be of some service.  But that’s not where it ends for her.  By the end of the day, she’ll have 12 rooms as clean as your grandma used to keep the front room.  She’ll do laundry, including sheets, towels, blankets, and pillowcases for those 12 rooms.  And she will know where the couple in room 48 is from, she’ll know that the lady in room 63 just got divorced, has 3 kids and 5 grandkids and loves to collect porcelain clowns.  She will have helped to plan out the entertainment itinerary for 6 couples that have never been to Cripple Creek before, and she’ll run to the store because the lady in room 51 isn’t feeling well and wanted a 7-Up.  She gets Christmas cards and random letters from people that stayed in one of her rooms 3 years ago.  I don’t write about her enough.  She’s an incredible human being.


I learned a lot of things from my dad.  Happy Father’s Day!  The best thing that ever happened to me is that whoever decides which kid goes to which parents, they put me with Chuck and Audrey!  Happy Father’s Day to the rest of the dads out there.  There were some good dads in Bojon Town.  Just ask any kid that grew up there.


I was driving up here today and I thought about my old Chevy and I started thinking about the first time my dad let me drive.  He took me out to Roselawn Cemetery.  I wonder what he was thinking.  “It’s pretty safe out there, what’s he going to hit?  He can’t really kill anyone there, and if anything happens, they can just dig a hole and drop us in”.  Always the practical father!




6 responses to this post.

  1. You are a good man Mike! Your wife is blessed and you are blessed to have her in your life for the long haul! A beautifully written post. Today I am trying to finish my Father’s Day words at my blog. I think people tend to carry on about the bad dad’s and bad parenting! They never give credit to those who deserve a pat on the back! One of these days we are going to come to Pueblo and have a nice long visit with you two! You are a keeper. Velma is a keeper. You two are like salt and pepper, bread and butter, you get the idea! Not enough men give these shout outs to their wives. Especially on Father’s Day! Your mom would be so impressed with you! In fact, she is probably gabbing your grandma’s in heaven talking about you right now! Beautiful words today my cousin! Proud to be your Bojon relative! My hubby is a good Bojon wannabe! He loves the food and he was a hit with my dad! That was all I ever needed! Well, back to posting my Father’s Day tribute before the day gets away from me. God Bless You both and safe travels home again! Hugs, Anne xo


  2. Posted by Michaela on June 21, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    I so enjoy reading all of these great stories of Bojon Town. My Mom, Heidi (Anzick) Smith has shared some stories over the years. Some stories about St. Mary’s School and lots about how wonderful it was to spend time with her Grandparents, Frank and Julia Anzick. My mom and her sister, Joni, say that being with their “Grammy” was the best place part of their childhoods. Aunt Joni Just posted a picture of their old house. So sad to see how overgrown with weeds it is 😞


    • Hi Michaela, it’s good to meet you! I remember your mom very well, although we were a lot younger. We haven’t seen each other in years. I aaw your Aunt Joni a few years ago at my Grandma’s funeral, and she looks like she hadn’t aged a day! We were in the same grade at St. Mary’s for a lot of years, and I spent a lot of time in their house. Your Great Grandma and Grandpa were so nice. and I’d go to their house a lot, because there was always something awesome to eat! Aunt Julie would invent little jobs for me all the time, and she’d always give me a dollar or two for a few minutes of work. That was a lot of money back then! We only lived a block away, so I saw them all the time. Uncle Frank always patted me on the head, until I was about 13, and then I got tall. Your mom and aunts were pretty girls. It always made me kind of sad that the prettiest girls in the school were my cousins. Thanks for coming by and reading this, and say hi to your mom for me.


  3. Happy Father’s Day cousin! My second comment was stuck in blog space! xo


    • Thank you and thanks for all the nice things you say! I loved the picture of your dad that you put up today, where he has that little smile, It shows that quiet gentleness that we got to see every day.


  4. Posted by Mike Deverich on June 22, 2015 at 5:22 am

    Mike you write about things so close to my heart, most importantly your love for your family. It always amazes me when I here brothers and sisters speak of disliking everyone in their family. My brother and sisters are not only family but they are my friends as well. That feeling extends though aunt/uncles and cousins as well. I miss my Grandparents and great Grandparents. I wish I could go back in time to ask them about growing up 100 years ago, how frightened they were when they left the country of their birth and sailed to America when America was the country that the world looked up too. Most of them left their entire families behind in the hope their children and grandchildren would have a better life. Most people have no idea how difficult it was to immigrate here, they needed a job, a sponsor and a place to live and the number of immigrants was limited. Our borders were protected and all immigrants took months to finally get approval to come here. Now those fantasies about the 2 Russian girls, we are at the stage where we would be like the dog that chases cars. If he caught 1 he wouldn’t have a clue what to do with it. Getting old is much worse than I ever imagined it but it sure beats the alternative. Thanks for the smile and laughs every morning.


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