I moved to
in 1993. I was fresh out of college with
a wife and a young daughter. I moved
here from St. Johns, AZ Colorado not ever hearing of St. Johns or ever dreaming I would live outside of Colorado let alone in .
All I knew when I came here was they needed a history teacher and an
assistant football coach. The only reason I knew of an open position was my
supervising teacher in Arizona
met Coach Morgan at a football camp the previous summer. So that was my first Colorado connection. Before I moved here I found out my uncle had
two brothers that lived in St. Johns He told me from what he understood Elks and
Redskins don’t get along too well on game day.
Living here, I am amazed how many people I know from all walks of life who
know someone from Springerville,
AZ. St. Johns or have even heard
of St. Johns, AZ.
Over the last twenty years, I have been asked many times why
? Why did you choose to stay in St. Johns and do you
really like it? The basketball teams I
took to Mesa St. Camp in St. Johns Grand Junction would
always ask that after we traveled through the beautiful mountains between
Dolores and . We
would stay at my parents' house in Hotchkiss the night before the camp began
and be treated to my mom’s warm hospitality and good cooking. And again the question would be, “Why coach?" This place is awesome. I do have to admit that I get homesick for family,
the farm, the mountains, and rivers that run up to your waist. But it always feels good to be back home in Montrose, CO . St. Johns
The main reason I feel at home is because of the people. There is a connection here among the people that have made
Johns their home that is unique and special.
I have seen that and felt it with people who have been here for
generations and for those who have just moved into our little town.
This connection was evident last Friday night. Along with the Moultons, our neighbors across the street, we hosted a block party. We invited people along our block and around the neighborhood. It was great! Where else can you have a fire in the middle of a dead end street? We gathered together and broke bread and shared a part of an evening together. The broken bread consisted of BBQ pork, homemade salsa and chips, and dutch-oven cobbler. We visited, laughed and enjoyed the great food everybody brought. Old acquaintances were renewed and new friends were made. Our group came from different age groups, religions, and ethnic backgrounds. Some have lived here their whole lives and others have just moved here. My kids enjoyed the evening until the first firework went off and then it was time to go to the football game.
After our evening, I reflected on some thoughts that came to me later that night. We are all a child of God. And He loves us. One of our purposes here on Earth is to make and build relationships with others. Just like any parent He is pleased when His children get along and serve one another and help in times of need. When we gather together and find common ground and enjoy each other’s company and good will, it pleases Him. Friday night was just another example of why I have stayed in and love living in
other reason is what my son Coulson told me as we went to the football
game. He said, “Dad, you know why a
small town is better than a big city?” I said “Lots of things, what do you
think?” And he replied “Because it
doesn’t take long to get to a game.”
Written By Brian Hollembeak
October 27, 2013