December 15, 2006
Every year of my youth, my mom and dad would bundle up my sister and I into scarves and turtlenecks, pour hot chocolate into our faded green Thermos and take us to downtown Denver, where we sat on blankets in awe and watched the annual Parade of Lights.
I remember sitting on my dad’s shoulders so I could see Santa before anyone else and holding my baby sister’s hand when the dancers would come by because she loves watching people dance in parades.
I have missed this family tradition since I moved to Steamboat a year and a half ago.
However, on Sunday, I found a new tradition that I shared with people who have become my family here.
The fourth-generation Iacovetto family hosted their third annual Cowboy Christmas and invited the entire community to their Saddleback Ranch for free tubing, sleigh rides, snowmobile rides, hot chocolate and visits with Santa.
Stepping off the shuttle bus that took visitors to the festivities, I immediately felt like a kid again. I grabbed my friend’s hand and ran to a pen holding three of the most beautiful Texas longhorn cattle I’ve ever seen (I am such a petting zoo freak).
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We darted over to the sleigh and took a quick trip up the hill. Old sleigh rides like that are so romantic.
But perhaps the best part of the day was riding a tube at near mach speed on the Iacovetto’s new tubing hill. For someone addicted to speed, the ride was thrilling, especially after some of the Iacovetto family members thought it would be fun to give me a spin.
Cruising down the hill was almost as fun as getting jumped on by the people at the bottom of the hill trying to stop the wayward tubes. I saw Jerad Iacovetto more than once fling himself onto a tuber and dig his heels into the snow to stop him or her.
I couldn’t stop laughing. I haven’t had that much fun since Allison Plean and I tried out our square-dancing skills in Hayden a few months ago.
And although the DeLaCruzes weren’t able to be there with me, I couldn’t help but think how much they would have loved riding the sleigh and talking to Santa. (At 47, my mother is the only grown woman I know who still talks to Santa.)
Happy Holidays, and thanks to the Iacovettos for allowing me and the community to share a tradition with them.
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