Wow, December? Feels like I was just wishing people a Happy New Year; just about that time again! Hope everybody survived TBDBT (The Big Dump Before Thanksgiving); the ol’ cabin at Gwillimville proved its mettle once again midst the snowfall and the winds that kept things entertaining for a couple of days afterward. She’s pretty airtight for a 150-year-old structure (though the bomb-cyclone thing back in March did expose a few vulnerable spots).

THINKING OUTSIDE THE (LUNCH)BOX

I reported in my Nov. 20 column that last month’s kitchen fire at O’Malley’s in Palmer Lake was going to close the place ’til spring, but you just can’t keep a good pub down. Owner Jeff Hulsmann set the record straight regarding the immediate future of the 32-year-old wings-and-watering hole, explaining that “While the kitchen will take a while to rebuild, we re-opened the ‘front of the house’ on Nov. 24 and the first-ever O’Malley’s food truck is scheduled to arrive on Dec. 4.” The truck will serve as a supplemental kitchen until the restaurant’s repair work is finished, with most of the menu available (including the wings that made this former abstainer a believer). Reports of the O’s demise are greatly exaggerated, apparently …

And while we’re over here on the west side, word on the street is that the walk-across section of the bridge over the railroad tracks at Palmer Lake will be put in place on Dec. 10. “It won’t be complete yet, but that’s a big piece of the puzzle,” says Hulsmann of the Awake the Lake project. “We don’t have an official name for the structure, but the way things have been going it may end up being the Jeff Hulsmann Memorial Bridge.” (Move over, Rodney Dangerfield.)

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR GIVING

Ran out of space in my Nov. 20 kudo-fest to mention another couple of worthy efforts by local difference-makers, beginning with my friend Lindsey Kangas’ Monument-based “Bryson’s Chase” nonprofit. Founded earlier this year and named for Lindsey’s son, Bryson’s Chase was created to help raise funds for mental health care for children (which tends to be outside the reach of most forms of insurance). On Nov. 11, Bryson’s Chase presented a check for $15,000 to Children’s Hospital Colorado Pediatric Mental Health Institute in Denver … wow again!

“This is exactly what we’re here for; to provide real help to people who need it, in an area of concern that way too often falls through the cracks,” says Lindsey. “This was a great day for everyone involved!” For more information or to make a contribution go to BrysonsChase.org.

Also rallying to the aid of people in true need were folks from St. Peter Catholic Church in Monument and the American Legion (Tri-Lakes Post 9-11) in Palmer Lake, which raised $1,500 in gift cards and five pickup-loads of supplies in support of homeless military vets via the Crawford House veterans assistance center in Colorado Springs. Named after the late Palmer Lake resident and World War II vet William J. Crawford and operated by the Colorado Veterans Resource Coalition, the Crawford House provides supervised living conditions for up to 23 veterans while they are actively looking for work (90 days max). The recent support drive was organized by St. Pete’s Stephanie Kemp and Nate Hartling of the American Legion, and was brought to my attention by my friend Bill Miller of Wounded Warrior USA.

As I keep saying, lotsa good peeps around these parts, and you don’t even have to look that hard to find ‘em. Stay tuned for my Christmas wish list (I know you were wondering) in the Dec. 18 Tribune.

Charlie Searle has lived in Monument since 1994 and is active in a variety of pursuits in the Tri-Lakes area, as his tagline “Meat, Motors, Music, Media” attests. Contact Charlie at AlongTheDivide@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

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