Stinkerbell Strikes Again

This is the nick name my son Christopher conferred on me as I, dressed as Tinkerbell in all my green glory, did something to earn the title. Better than Swamp Goddess, my previous moniker from the 80’s. That’s what the Colorado altitude and two bowls of Green Chili in one day will do to a sweet little Gigi!

Courtney decided that we’d all dress up as Peter Pan and Crew for Liam’s first Halloween. Liam was Captain Hook, Christopher (reluctantly) Peter Pan and Courtney, Wendy. When my Tinkerbell costume arrived, Christopher called me from Colorado.

Courtney must think you’re a damn teenager.

he said.

This worried me, as I didn’t want to stroll through the streets of Downtown Steamboat looking like a Fairy-inspired Tramp. Not to mention, at age 61, this could not be easily pulled off. This Tinkerbell has graying (albeit blonde) hair, a pouchy belly and wrinkles aplenty. My legs are fine, but as we all know, they are the last to go.

I flew United to Steamboat in order to visit Chris and Courtney and be there for Liam’s first Halloween. I have to say United Airlines is 100% better than American! A new plane (737) with plenty of legroom, free Wi-fi and movies, an in-flight magazine and pleasant flight attendants, who actually worked the flight. We were served drinks, snacks, water, more drinks and when the guy next to me spilled my Prosecco all over me, the flight attendant insisted I get another one, complimentary.

It’s a long flight.

said the helpful United flight attendant.

I got in late the first day, but the second day we went into Downtown Steamboat. I came, unbeknownst to me during “Mud Season”. It’s when it’s snowed in Steamboat, then warms up, hence the mud trenches everywhere. It lived up to it’s name, alternating with weather either freezing or raining, with one nice day thrown in for good measure. During Mud Season, a lot of restaurants and shops close, in order to get ready for ski season, which starts in about 20 days. It’s a slow time, similar to this period in the Keys, after the summer crowd and before the “Season” that starts in November.

The first day we had lunch at the Back Door Grill, voted #8 Best Burgers in the U.S., according to the waitress. Their most popular burger is the Buzz Lightyear, with Bacon, Fried Egg, Avocado and Swiss. Christopher contemplated ordering the Dirty Harry– Peanut Butter, Fried Egg, Bacon, Hashbrowns, Cheddar on a Glazed Donut, voted top 10 Burger in the country, but ended up getting The Big Blue, with Blue Cheese, Bacon and Sauteed Onions. I got one of the most popular “New School” burgers- the Dennis Popper. I loved the name, number one and with Jalapeno Poppers, Pepper Jack Cheese, Onion Ring, BBQ and Ranch, it sounded like a winner.

It was a very good burger!

The jalapeno poppers and onion ring added crunch; it came on a soft, pillowy potato bun and the burger was perfectly cooked My only complaint was the BBQ sauce kind of overwhelmed the rest of the burger. Courtney went with an Old School Burger, a cheeseburger with pickles, lettuce, tomato and onion, which she enjoyed. The burgers came with fries- hand cut or curly, but Christopher upgraded to truffle fries, which were dusted with Parmesan cheese. We were so stuffed from our late lunch at 2 p.m., we all skipped dinner. My stomach kind of stayed on Miami time the whole time I was in Colorado, making me hungry two hours before mealtime. Apples and cheesesticks became my snack du jour, to stave off hunger.

So, I tried on my Tink costume right after my giant burger lunch (not the best idea) to make sure it fit. Not to worry, my Medium size costume fit fine and covered my laundry. I was, however, worried about my bare legs, chest and arms being exposed to the chilly Colorado air, so Courtney sweetly got me stockings (control top to suck in the pouchy belly) and a white, long-sleeved t-shirt to go underneath my Tink outfit. As I dressed Halloween afternoon and looked at myself in the mirror, I looked like a Jumbo Tink- not unlike Jumbo Shrimp but extremely green, glittery and with wings. A delicate sprite, I was not.

I was surprised Christopher agreed to dress up like Robin Hood in a green T-shirt Courtney cut up and felt hat; he drew the line at the green tights and wore jeans instead. Courtney made a beautiful Wendy, with blue dress and bow and, while they drove to Walmart for last- minute items, I dressed Captain Hook. Captain Hook was very cranky and in need of a nap, so Courtney put him down, which caused us to miss the opening of the Halloween Stroll festivities. Apparently, there was a fire show and acrobats performing. As we drove into town, Captain Hook screamed as Wendy held him down and drew his mustache on with an eyebrow pencil.

As we drove in, it started pouring and there were droves of costumed people running back to their cars as we arrived. A drenched dinosaur family drug their large tails down the muddy street on little legs in defeat, a colorful butterfly girl flitted by with wilted wings, trying to escape the rain, and two hippies, with soggy fringe vests and fogged granny glasses, crossed in front of us to duck into their car, as we searched for a parking space. After we parked, Captain Hook was hungry, causing Wendy to have to strip off her dress and feed him in the back seat, as we waited for the rain to stop.

It did and we went into Downtown Steamboat for the Halloween Stroll. This is a very local event, according to the nurses at the local hospital where Courtney works and the Steamboat Springs residents went all out for Halloween. The costumes were amazing! There were your typical Goons and Goblins, Nuns, Witches, Draculas, Angels, Clowns, Cows, Astronauts and the like, but also a little boy dressed up in a real bear fur as a Bear, Davy Crockett, two Girls in blue, dressed like the little girls in The Shining, a Huge Robot that towered in the street and a couple other groups of Captain Hooks and Peter Pans.

There was music, fire trucks and a stage with an MC holding a costume contest, where contestants danced and then explained their costumes. Everyone clapped and eventually they announced the winner. A family of sea creatures- including a light-up jellyfish and sea turtle- won. My favorite costumes were the ones where the whole family were part of a theme.

A guy dressed as Elf (from the movie with Will Ferrell) was in line in front of me to get a honey product hand-out.

I LOVE honey!!!

he said enthusiatically.

I cracked up at this because in Elf the four food groups are: Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corn and Syrup, but the poor little Bee working the booth seemed clueless to the movie and didn’t laugh. The businesses were handing out candy but we’d forgotten Liam’s pumpkin. He can’t eat candy anyway (obviously), so it would’ve been for us adults. Instead of candy, we stopped at a bar to get a drink. A nice customer inside snapped our photo.

That’s the cutest Captain Hook I’ve ever seen!

said a lady handing out candy from a store.

Since we didn’t have a pumpkin, she dropped a Reese’s Cup into my empty plastic (wine) glass. The temperature then dropped dramatically and Wendy, who was dressed like the breath of Spring (my Mother’s saying) was freezing, so we headed back to the car and to dinner. What a sight we must have been heading into the Ore Steak House, in full costume, to sit at the table Courtney reserved by the fireplace. Another table nearby was celebrating a birthday, as this is a special occasion kind of place. Captain Hook sat in a high chair, “feeling his oats”, emitting squeals, cries and grunts. I felt bad for our fellow diners.

Our dinner was very good (my pork chop was enormous!) and then we headed home. It was past Captain Hook’s bedtime, Wendy had to work at 7 a.m. the next morning and Peter Pan was watching the baby, with assist from Tink from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Seriously though, Courtney was thrilled to get the travel nursing gig in Steamboat but had no idea there was no child care available. The couple day cares centers that existed had to close down, due to lack of staff. So Christopher, a welder, watches Liam while Courtney works three days a week, 12 hour shifts. The welding job he got on her days off has been having a hard time getting steel to weld because of the supply chain situation, which seems to be disrupting everything. So, there’s all that.

Monday night I made dinner for us- Giada’s Chicken Piccata with couscous, sauteed mushrooms and Spring Mix. The chicken turned out good- tender and juicy. with lemon juice and capers. Christopher made an Italian Hot Chocolate for dessert, which was kind of like a warm chocolate pudding you eat with a spoon, while we watched a movie called Friendsgiving. I fell asleep, since I was still on Miami time and went to bed at 9 p.m.

The next day, Christopher dropped me off at the airport to fly back to Fort Lauderdale. I held Liam’s finger and sang Five Little Speckled Frogs (his favorite) on the way to Hayden. He’d remembered his Gigi (thankfully!) when I arrived, clung on to my leg to be picked up. I’m going to miss him, but he’s coming back at the end of the month to celebrate his first birthday.

As I headed home, Tink costume carefully packed in my carry-on, watching the movie White Oleander (spooky but good!), drinking my red wine and eating the Reese’s Cup from the Halloween Stroll, I felt happy and grateful I’d been able to participate in Liam’s first Halloween.

Oh, and by the way, Happy Birthday Christopher! 33 today! I’m so proud of you. You’re a great Dad and husband. Love you lots.

We did the Mash, we did the Monster Mash.

Bobby Pickett

Up Next: White Chili

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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