Before I shut my plate glass eyes
one last time, I survey
the intersection of Hwy 24 and
Main Street where I’ve lived
since 1940. Let me tell you my story.
I once existed on what’s called
Court Street. It used to be the main road
through Buena Vista. “Pikes Peak
Ocean-to-Ocean Highway” is
how that street was known then.
That’s when Buena Vista was named
“The Lettuce Capital of the World.”
Tons of head lettuce were grown in our
glacier-rich soil and shipped
by rail all over the US, packed
in ice from Ice Lake, right here in town.
Those were the days! Our salad days!
I remember when
Highway 24 was built in 1937.
The Texaco folks decided to
make me into a spiffy new station
and move me from Court St.
to the corner of Main and Hwy 24.
I watched men driving to work
at the Climax mine. I serviced
ranchers, miners, cowboys,
tourists and locals for eighty years!
In the summer, the flatlanders
came, at first in drips and drabs,
later by the bus-load, to all those
adventure camps and much later
those hoards from Denver
and beyond, who’d gotten wind
of Beunie and its charms stopped
for a fill-up and a snack.
But it’s 2021.
I’m tired now. My pumps are shot.
The shingles on my roof are cracked.
The motorhomes people drive today
can’t fit under my canopy.
I’m obsolete. This is my final
testament as I see the back hoe
It’s okay, though. The town will
turn my plot into a garden with some
benches at first. And later,
down the road, I’ve heard they’ll
build a Welcome Center on this spot.
Eighty years is not a bad lifespan
for a service station. . . do you think?
Maria Weber, March, 2021