2023 in Review
With the passing of 2023 upon us, this week we tell our year-end story with a walk-through of our weekly articles over the past year. We have enjoyed inspirational and funny stories by our neighborhood writers, mixed in with informational posts about events and activities of the changing seasons: a record of the year that’s on its way out. With one notable exception back in August, we’d say 2023 was a pretty good year for Southern Gables. Wouldn’t you?
We started the year with a “Meet Your Neighbor” feature, the first of six interviews to get to know and appreciate our neighbors. Starting in January with Joe Woelkers & Liza Patty, we visited with Ralph Cundiff, Dale Trone & Kathi Baird, the De Lay family, the Gundersons, and Robert Young. Neighbors and storytellers Harry and Judi Puncec told us a number of stories over the year, starting with Judi reminiscing about Growing up in Great Times in the booming new 1950s suburbs of southwest Denver, days of such great freedom for a kid. Harry gave us a story about the Rocky, likening the venerable newspaper to a cranky old uncle. Then in September there was a fanciful imagining, on a road trip, of what the pioneers might have felt on traversing the old West. Veterans Day brought an essay on the typically modest and quiet older WWII veteran you might see from time to time out on a walk, and just last week Harry’s Army reminisinces took us back to postwar France, commiserating with a lonely soldier at Christmas.
Our old friend Ken Fischer wrote in January about heroes he has known and admired, models of grit and integrity each and every one. One thing they all had in common was a dedication to doing good. Doing good can take many forms, from gentle inspiration and quiet service to facing mortal danger. Then in December he gave us a treatise on the intangible rewards that come from helping others, and how kindness comes back to the giver. He called it Selfish Altruism. Ken’s stories are often built around interesting characters, and in February I told a story of my own, about an interesting character I almost met, The Hanover Avenue Boy. Then in November I shared a story about how my wife and I got to know a special friend, and how people are brought together by unexpected connections. Our young neighbor Brooklynn Rich told of connections too, relating some of the fascinating encounters she experienced in living on the road: Brooklynn.
The call of nature is another theme that was reflected in our weekly stories: taking care of our precious environment. Our beautiful ash trees in Southern Gables are facing a dangerous foe that Marcel Guajardo told us about in March: The Emerald Ash Borer. Then in June we republished two key articles about our environment by our neighbor Kristen De Lay due to their timely relevance and perennial importance: Noxious Weeds and Nurturing Baby Butterflies. September brought an engaging story of a young girl’s call to adventure on an American Indian reservation, with Faith Gunther’s Unforgettable Escapade.
All of the other stories throughout the year traced the cycle of the changing seasons and Southern Gables neighborhood events and activities. Looking back, it’s amazing to see how much was going on in our little gem of a neighborhood. Neighbors got together for block parties, browsed each others’ treasures on a coordinated garage sale weekend, learned about the environment and better nutrition, celebrated holidays throughout the year, and (ooh, a sour note!) prepared for our popular “Neighborhood Night Out” only to have the rain wash it out. We supported local organizations with contributions and volunteer hours, got most of our fall leaves raked up and put to good use, and finished up the year with cheerful decorations for the holiday season. These stories marked our progress through the year: