Article contributed by Jean Miller Ed stood, ramrod straight, in front of his tiny green house, checking out the day: sky clear blue; clouds soft and fluffy; wind just a light breeze that gently lifted his thin white hair; Brown’s cow feeding in Millers’ yard, as usual; Old Lady “Ada” (aka, Mrs. Zeida) getting ready to water her Oriental poppies. The day was on its way. “Ha! Here comes Dwight to chase off that darned cow. He goes through this every day. I bet one of these days he’ll have fresh cow meat for supper!” Ed returned inside his cabin, to feed the stove and make coffee. The fact was he didn’t need any more heat. He kept the place about 85 degrees, summer and winter. But Ed was so thin, cold went through his worn body easily. Soon he poured himself some coffee and went out to talk to Mrs. “Ada”. “Hello there, old woman. Those poppies are the prettiest you you’ve had for years. You should win a prize.” “Thanks, Ed. I agree that they’re especially nice this summer. Brown’s cow has left them alone for a change.” With a laugh, she went back in her house. Dwight Miller wandered over to chat. “Mornin’, Ed. How’re things?” “Well, just fine, except you’ve got to tell your cabin guests to quite using my outhouse! I saw three of them coming out of there early this morning. Tell them to use their own! I’m going to build me a fence.” Dwight looked apologetic. “Boy, Ed, I’m so sorry. You know, sometimes they just can’t wait, so they invade ours. But I tell you what, I’m going to put in a regular bathroom at the back of my garage, facing the cabins. I hope, at least, that will take care of the problem. In fact, if you want, I’ll give you a hand on your fence. I don’t blame you for being irritated!” Ed was mollified with this offer. He had lived in his cabin for some years now, after finishing up his days as a tunnel worker in 1927. He used to tell Dwight, “Back then, there were prostitutes behind every tree up near the tunnel, and if you paid them a quarter, they’d give you 15 cents change!” He was Austrian and had served many years in the Austrian army, but he got fed up with all that and came to Colorado to live. The mountains reminded him of his home country, and his life style remained just as spare and regimented as it had been in the army. Everything was neat as a pin. The old man kept track of his neighbors’ comings and goings, including Dwight’s wife, Jean, and their toddler, Martha. He used to really fuss at Jean, because she insisted on whistling. “Jean, ladies don’t whistle!” But Jean liked to whistle, so she continued not being a lady. The baby was another subject. Dwight had built a ladder coming down from their apartment on the upper floor, as a second exit in case of fire. Martha learned to climb down that ladder before she was three years old. “Dwight,” Ed would protest, “that baby is going to kill herself! She¹s going to fall; then where will you be?” But Martha seemed to do just fine with her climbing and she never did kill herself! One day Dwight bought a small Army surplus life raft. Opening it, he discovered some dye, to be dumped into the ocean so that planes could spot men in the water. “Hm-m,” he thought, “I wonder if this dye really works?” So he went up to the bridge over Vasquez Creek and poured some dye into the water. Yes, indeed, it worked. The bright red color spread into a great circle in the creek and promptly flowed downstream. Dwight hightailed it down to his house, to see if the color still held. Here it came, and here came Ed Vucich, madder than a hornet. He had spotted the dye and was quite positive that Dwight was trying to poison him and all the others who used the creek water for drinking. In spite for fretting and stewing over illegal outhouse use, “poisoned” water, babies on ladders, and unladylike whistling, Ed cared for the young couple. On day as Dwight and Jean were about to head into Denver, he came rushing out and stopped them. “Here, I have something for you!” And he presented two beautifully baked potatoes, straight out of his oven. They were perfectly lovely. Ed swore up and down that he didn’t drink, but in fact, he was known to visit Wally’s Bar on the highway into town. One bitterly cold night, Dwight and Jean heard a rumpus going on outside. In those days, winter temperatures dropped regularly to minus 40 to minus 50 degrees. Getting out of bed, the pair went to look out their front window. Ed was attempting to get into his house, which he kept locked with three different padlocks (why was a mystery; he had very few belongings). Perhaps he wasn’t drinking, but he certainly wasn’t sober. He tried to open a lock; his feet slid out from under him and he swore, “Damn!” He struggled back onto his feet again. Same result. The young people didn’t dare just leave him, hoping he would finally get into his house he’d have frozen to death. But if they had interfered, oh, he would have been furious. So they watched until at last all three padlocks were open and the old man staggered inside. They never told him about the show he put on! Ed lived in Hideaway Park for a number of years longer, but it’s uncertain as to where he is buried. Dwight is convinced there probably aren’t as many characters in the valley as there were fifty some years ago.