Our Brief Break in Boulder

When we last left our intrepid adventurers, they were about to leave, “taking the long way there.” That we did indeed do, taking our sweet time to swing eastward out of Colorado Springs before heading north. Yes, it took us longer, and by the time we stopped for a bite to eat in Littleton, it turned out to be a nearly 5-hour — and pleasantly paced — drive.

We arrived at our Airbnb quite easily and parked our car on the street. Given the fantastic location, we would not need to get in it again until we were leaving town. Our well-appointed abode was a one-room affair around the back at garden-level with the spacious backyard available for our use as well. Spotting the croquet set and bocce balls, I was tempted to take advantage of that yard, but we opted instead to take advantage of the comfy bed for a quick afternoon lie-down.

A little later, we did enjoy a bit of our own happy hour in that backyard, before strolled 10 minutes down the hill to enjoy our evening. We grabbed a bite to eat at The Pick Chicken and Beer” a good combo indeed, well accented by a great house slaw.

marquee at Boulder Theater: Pat Metheny, Side-Eye

Thursday’s marquee

We strolled 2 blocks over to the Boulder Theater, arriving before doors opened and waiting outside with a few other eager fans. After checking each individual’s vaccination record (thank you!) and making sure everyone understood the masking requirements inside, they let us in.

Others can and no doubt have waxed rhapsodic about the Boulder Theater. I’ll just say it’s a splendid example of an Art Deco-era theater, so we admired the architecture as we made way upstairs to our seats in the balcony, enjoying the decorative interior artwork as the audience filtered in.

Sara’s the big Pat Metheny fan. She has been following his career, buying his albums, and seeing him perform live for over 40 years. I’ve been with her to see some of those shows and always enjoyed them immensely. While nowhere near as familiar with specific music he’s recorded, I can certainly lose myself in the magic of his incredible musicianship.

His current “Side-Eye” tour features the tightly trimmed-down sound of a trio. He introduced each of the others through an opening pair of duets. First, he featured drummer Joe Dyson expertly accenting his acoustic guitar riffs, then brought out the keyboard player, James Francies, to play something Sara, excitedly recognized it as a variation of Pat’s familiar, “Letter from Home.” When they got going as a trio, the intricate interplay of Pat’s fluid lines on his various guitars fit perfectly with the others complementing his riffs and flashing on their own put a stunning polish on the whole effect. I love watching a band interact like they did!

Sara really enjoyed hearing him rework old favorites with new variations. After a full, incredible set, the sustained applause of an appreciative audience brought Pat back out for an encore. Sitting solo at center stage he started a song on the acoustic guitar Sara said sounded vaguely familiar. She and the fellow next to her, another longtime fan, were puzzling over it, saying it sounded familiar but unable to recall the original. When the guy recognized it, Sara agreed, “Of course!” enthusiastically. Joe and James rejoined Pat to close out the evening and leave us to slowly make our blissful way out.

We wandered back to our room, mostly uphill this time. There may have been a few stumbles, but we made it back uninjured and still glowing. Sara sank into a quick sleep while I went out in the backyard to enjoy a beer under the night sky.

The next morning, we strolled back down the hill for breakfast with my old friend, Joanna, whom I had not seen in over 30 years. Some reunions can turn weird, but this was one of those where it felt more like seeing an old friend who’s just been in another room for awhile. Of course, much has happened to both of us in the interim and we shared some stories to try and catch up a little. Sara got to meet Joanna and they hit it off famously — of course.

We briefly wandered the Pearl Street Mall  before leaving town, feeling a little like “Ma & Pa Kettle in the Big City.” We quickly located only real desired destination, a real bookstore, something we do not have in Cañon City. It did feel like returning home when we walked into Boulder Bookstore with its three levels of literary delights.

I was not planning to buy any books. I just wanted to enjoy the old, familiar ambience of walking down aisle after aisle filled with hundreds of wondrous volumes of all sorts. And then I saw “The Ox,’ the authorized biography of John Entwhistle, and bought it, totally forgetting his birthday was the very next day. Then I spotted a Walter Mosley book, “John Woman” on the sale table. While I wasn’t looking to buy any more Mosley and gave up on trying to keep up with his output years ago, how could I pass up a six-dollar book I know I will enjoy? Finally, I spotted Larry McMurtry’s books and would have skipped past those had I not seen “The Last Kind Words Saloon” — the last Western Larry wrote, long after swearing off westerns. Yeah, that one oughta be fun.

We noted the expanded outside dining areas on the Pearl Street Mall, added during the pandemic, and did a little widow shopping. Mostly, we were just enjoying taking in a bit more of Boulder before heading home.

See, we still had to leave plenty of time to shunpike a westward route home, after all. More on that later…


About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
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