Cow Town. Mile High City. Queen City of the Plains.
Call her what you will, it was 39 years ago this week I moved here, and I owe her a great deal.
She has given me opportunities, relationships and a stellar setting in which to raise a daughter. Metro Denver has helped me start out and start over…several times. And even though the beginning was as slippery as scree on a hiking trail, I am grateful for it all.
I arrived in late February 1972 with painfully mixed emotions, excited about a new adventure but aching over saying goodbye to my family. I knew one person. Money was beyond tight. But I did have a job waiting, thanks to the serendipity of the general manager of KHOW-Radio (a really big deal in Denver in the early 70s) being a native Iowegian, as well. “Captain Show Biz” was a person of power, and he liked the work ethic of people from his home state, so I joined a small team of transplants. One of them was a young college guy with an engaging manner who had the FM night shift–Harry Smith. Yes, the same Harry Smith who would go on to anchor the CBS Morning Show.
Anyway, having a job was a huge plus. But this Southern Iowa girl had never driven anyplace larger than Centerville. Which made the commute from an apartment in southeast Denver to the city center of 16th and Broadway an everyday Amazing Journey. Since GPS and cell phones were nowhere on the horizon, I kept a pocketful of dimes to call my then-husband and ask, “I’m now at the corner of X and Y, how do I get home?”
Of all the personalities at KHOW in those days–Charley & Barney, Danny Davis, Little Johnny Harding, Lindsay English–it was Hal Moore (yep, Iowegian) that gave the station its true signature. Every Friday afternoon at 5 p.m., he would yell/tell his audience: “It’s time to kick off another Wonderful Weekend in the West. If you’re heading home on the Valley Highway or down Colfax or on 6th, pull your car over, face those Purple Mountain Majesties and SING!” And then he played this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w92oVTrn0H4
An hour later, drive time done, “Hotdog Harold” Moore would deliver his sign off: a rousing “I LOVE YOU, DENVER!”
After nearly 40 years, I can’t think of a better benediction.
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/Brian Papantonio