It was about 16 years ago. A semi load of hay had driven across our leach field and someone reported it to Boulder County. Damn. We have to replace our septic system. Water table VERY high. Must bring in many truckloads of sand to bring the ground level up. Remove all of the old dirt (hazardous waste, now). Major undertaking. Lodge only open on weekends during the construction. Guy working the back hoe during the work... "Say, are you Bill, the guy that owns the lodge? I just found a badly leaking city water pipe that runs under your leach field, and seems to have caused all of your high-water table problems."
I had just met Dan.
Since that time, Dan has become a major fixture in Allenspark.
Dan had sold his family dairy farm, and was hit by HUGE bills from the IRS for his capital gains. He started working for a local company to help pay off those bills. Then he started his own excavation company shortly after our septic system was put in, and never really took a day off since.
Dan had a big 'ol German Shepard that would sit on the deck of his backhoe. The pup would just sit there and duck whenever the bucket would pass over his head. No big deal. The dog would ride on the back of Dan's motorcycle whenever he went through town, sitting on his custom built platform on the back of the bike. I laughed every time I saw them, leaning into the turns. That dog finally got too old to make the trips with Dan, and none of his later dogs seemed to have that skill.
Most of the folks here in Allenspark know Dan. He was likely to come by in the winter and push the snow out of your driveway. "I'll bill you later", he'd say. And later would never come. If you needed help, you could just ask him and he would do what ever he could to help.
I talked to Dan two or three days ago about a project we
need done. "No problem" he said. "Pay me whenever you can." That was
going to save us a HUGE amount of time and money and red tape in
getting it done. So great to have Dan in town.
Years ago, when Juanita and I didn't have a place to keep our mustangs, (Ranger and Shadow), he let us keep them on his property for a winter until we found another place to keep them.
When Juanita had to put Shadow down a year later, Dan was there to help move the body and get it to a resting place.
When our daughter had to put her horse Estes down, Dan was right there to load the horse's body (with compassion and great care) onto our truck's flatbed to get it to its' final destination.
During the flood of '13, he was driving around with his equipment rescuing people and horses and putting in long hours repairing roads and driveways.
Dan was everywhere.
This morning, we found out Dan died. Last night. Motorcycle accident. Going for pizza. Riding alone. No witnesses. He didn't come home in time, so his wife went looking for him and found him.
I just can not tell you how much it hurts. Me. Juanita. Our children. His family. The whole community.
Rest in peace, Dan. I hope you knew how much you were loved.