Years ago Janie and I went to a wedding in Buena Vista, Colorado.The guest list included horses and mules, cats and dogs, and of course cowgirls and cowboys. The setting was exquisite. Clear, dark blue evening sky with the first planets of the night visible. The backdrop of The Collegiate Range' 14,000 foot peaks didn't detract from the picture either. As expected, the bride and groom rode in on horseback dressed in full western regalia. Around us were hats and spurs, belt buckles and bolos, deerskin and fringe, but it was the boots that captured the image of the night. I have always loved cowboy boots. Ever since I was 6 years old and my parents came back to Norway after traveling in the U.S. have I owned not just one pair. But that night it became clear to me that boots were more than an iconic symbol of the west, they were a way of self expression.
There is this moment in life when you truly come to understand value. I’m not talking about the monetary kind you come to know from your first paycheque. I’m referring to the intrinsic value of intangible things namely family, friends and love. While I may have thought I fully grasped them, I took a flight out to Vail Colorado and learned a few things on the subject. Random, I know. Given the time of year, early May, right after the high season. Oh, and I don’t really ski, so that was kind of out of the question anyway. So then why you ask, why on earth would I venture to the Rockies? Well, I heard about this place tucked in the mountains that happens to be home to a family known for their unique infallible kindness and hospitality. There’s more, they own and operate a store that isn’t so much a store really, rather a harmonious masterpiece of homeliness and opulence. More on that later… Let me start the whole story when I first met Axel senior. The head of the family and the man who taught me a lesson or two in people and yes, of course value.