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Two People, Two Cats, One Road Trip

Image of dancers practicing in a studio
Rehearsal, Colorado Ballet, Denver, Colorado

About this time last year, things were starting to get a little crazy.

The date for the Big Move was inching closer and closer. In addition to pruning the 14 years of our lives together down to six suitcases and two carry-ons, Corie and I wanted to make sure we saw as many friends and family as we could before we left.

We squeezed in a quick trip to Denver for a whirlwind tour of good byes.

I lived in Denver from the late 80s to the early 2000s. It was an exciting time for me to be running around with the camera, meeting interesting people who made up the city’s fabric, including the three images in this newsletter: Curly Turner, a barber at the historic and elegant Brown Palace Hotel, who bragged to me that he cut the Beatles’ hair when they performed in the city; dancers with the Colorado Ballet rehearsing for the world premiere of the Dracula ballet; and Dale Chisman, an exciting artist, well-known in Denver’s cultural scene.

Although Corie and I had made several trips from our home in Las Vegas, New Mexico to Denver, this time seemed different. The city had changed quite a bit, and so had I.

As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, one of my first photo assignments in the early 90s was documenting meetings between government ministers from Georgia and American businessmen. The Soviet Union had collapsed, and Georgia had become an independent country.

For years after that assignment, I had dreamed about visiting the country and seeing “the most beautiful place on earth,” as one of the ministers told me.

The years passed, and that dream felt like it was slipping further and further away. It was fitting to be in the city again when the time came that we would shortly be realizing the dream I had held on to for so many years.

We had a secondary motive for our good-bye trip to Denver. We would soon be flying halfway across the world with two cats, something else I would have never imagined I would be doing in my highly allergic 20s and 30s. Corie and I wanted to do a test run for the seven-hour drive to Denver with the cats in their carriers when it would have been easier to deal with than on a plane midway over the Atlantic.

The two cats handled the situation quite differently. Holmes, our 13-year old panther want-to-be, thought the whole travel thing was pretty cool. When he came out of his carrier in the hotel, he was quite happy exploring the room, making himself at home. It was the same International Cat of Mystery attitude he adopted on the 32-hour trip from Albuquerque to Tbilisi.

Sassy was a different story.

She came out of her carrier and immediately hid between the bed’s headboard and the wall, a space that, until that time, I never knew existed in hotel rooms. We didn’t think we were going to be able to get her out in time for our drive back. We were finally able to trick her out of her hiding place with a video of chirping birds on YouTube.

She was not an excited world traveler.

Yet here we are, one year later, and the hectic race of our final few weeks in New Mexico are just another memory, proof that the journey is as exciting as the destination.

Portrait of Denver artist Dale Chisman with one of his paintings in the background
Dale Chisman, Denver Colorado

portrait of a barber in his chair with mirrors in the background
Curly Turner, Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, Colorado


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