I met Charles Hughes at his house warming party in Clifton, CO Aug 6, 1977. I walked in to the party, smoke, people, laughter, a drum set in the kitchen and guitars playing from the back rooms. One of those doors opened and there he was, tall, red headed, beaming at me like a light. It was not love at first sight, it was immediate recognition. Wow, there you are, where have you been? I missed you. We left the party and went skinny dipping. I woke up with him Aug 8 and he thanked me for his birthday present and asked me to move in with him, and we have been together ever since..
We worked hard, we played hard. He was an experimental oil shale miner, I was a land surveyor building the town of Parachute. He was a guitar player in several bands that played in honky tonks all over Colorado. We got married the day before EXXON pulled out of the state.
So then we went to work for my Dad in the forest. We lived in a one room cabin with a wood cook stove, a water pump and outhouse outide. We worked every day up there for 2 yrs. and it was a dream come true. There was a shanty built over a natural hot springs and every night we would go soak in the springs.
Eventually even fairy tales end. We moved to Denver. We had a favorite saying at the time. “If you don’t like it just go sit in the truck”. And one or both of us would do that when city life got to be too much. The truck still smelled like the forest you see.
But then we realized that one of the best things that could come out of city life would be our children. So, we knuckled down, got busy setting up a proper house and proceeded to have our babies. But, then, we had to have a career to raise our babies the way we wanted to. So we built a very successful business and we were one helluva team. But, then, we had to have just the right place to raise our babies. So, we bought a little farm 10 min from downtown and we raised our babies in dirt, plants, blue skies. We locked the gates and turned them loose on the acre plot of yard. They ran wild and it was ok. They climbed onto the garage roof to watch fireworks, meteor showers and peek into the neighbors yard. In the middle of a hot July night all 4 of us would lay down and watch the stars float by. We would sunbathe the same way and watch the clouds float by.
And our kids went with us everywhere. We wanted to raise them and be with them, so we did. They grew up knowing so much more than they ever knew, just because they were with us all the time.
I used to blame myself for losing the farm, but, I see now that it was lost when our mortgage was bundled with others and sold in the glitziest package. Our farm was just a stupid spec of dirt on their floor.
But, we moved on, we were together and that is all we needed. Just us 4, the team. We cobbled all kinds of solutions together and then we built a new life that was different, but, still just fine.
Charlie and Chuck were like bulls in a china shop, until one day they were ok with each other. It was magic to watch them. The pic of Chuck on his cart in home depot is 1 of my favorites. Charlie took that as they were shopping. Because Chuck was suffering from a bad hip, he used the cart. The caption of Charlie’s text “see what I have to put up with?” and there was so much love of his Dad in that comment.
Of course Katie is the apple of Chucks eyes. From the moment he laid eyes on her, there was no other more precious gift ever. He would move heaven and hell to make her happy. She was his total everything.
So, we had this crazy ass daydream a couple summers ago. We would get a motor home, travel to festivals. He would man the booth and I would teach people how to throw cabers. We did. Most silly, irresponsible thing we ever did. Most fun too. We had set up 2020 for the same thing, just postponed it until this summer maybe. So, we fell back to plan B and figured out how to make it all work out again. We found our groove we hit our stride and life was still great in a different way. We kind of liked isolation, because it meant we could be together and explore all kinds of new things about each other.
Here is what I know. Chuck is one of the greats. He is that combination of gentleman and rascal. He had a great, dry sense of humor, I didn’t get the joke for 10 minutes. He has a solid sense of right and wrong, what is decent and what is not. He is so completely honest sometimes it would scare me.
And we wore the masks, we social distanced, we did our part to end the pandemic. And then the pandemic got us And it got Chuck worse than me. And then he got better. And then, it took him. It took my best friend, my partner, my lover, the father of my children, it took the greatest guy I know or ever will.
The ICU staff let me and Katie go in and stay with him til the end last night, for that I will be eternally grateful.
There is up and down. round and square, flat and bumpy, good and bad, day and night. There is and always has been Chuck and Linda. There can’t be Linda without Chuck. We are a team. What has happened here? Maybe I just had a bad dream? I love you so much Chuck.