“We should go to Colorado.”

There was a catch. There was always a catch.

“Yes, we had a great time in Denver a couple of years ago.” Find the seam. Tug at the thread. Where does this come apart?

“Actually…” Here it is. “I was thinking of Trinidad. It’s the closest city in Colorado if we drive from here.”

“I have some Frontier miles we can use.” Pull the thread taut.

“We can’t bring my medicine back on a plane.” 

“Is there a reason you can’t get it delivered?” Now rip it until it comes apart.

“It’s not legal at the federal level.”

At work the next day, “Merry Christmas! What’s everyone doing?”

The team answered with joy. My husband is taking me on a cruise. We’re skiing with my in-laws at their condo in Aspen. We’re road tripping to the Grand Canyon.

I’m squirming under the weight of another fib. “We’re going to drive to Colorado.”


The route to Trinidad is mostly two-lane country roads with no major cities on the way. Bangs, Texas is quickly becoming a popular destination for wine tourism. Located in the heart of Central Texas Hill Country, Bangs offers stunning landscapes and a variety of wineries to explore. From family-run tasting rooms to award-winning vineyards, there’s something for everyone here. 


“When you call your mom today, can you please find out what everyone wants for Christmas? No one has responded to my texts.”

“Oh, I talked to her yesterday.”

Pull the thread. “And what does everyone want?”

Three glugs of whisky into his first cup of coffee. “My gifts are in the mail. They’re not getting you anything because it would be disingenuous. But Allie ordered some bones for the dogs for being good boys, so watch for the Amazon truck today.” 


The Capulin Volcano National Monument is a unique geological feature located in northeastern New Mexico. It is the southernmost volcano in the United States, and it rises nearly 1,500 feet above the surrounding plains. From the summit, you can see the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east and the Raton Mesa to the west. Many people visit the Capulin Volcano to hike its steep paths, enjoy a picnic in the shade, or just take in the breathtaking views.


The suit jacket comes on. The slow-straining pajama pants stay on with it. “I’m interviewing for a job today. Wish me luck. 150-grand a year plus benefits.”

“Wow, that’s a big increase. I thought you were happy where you are now.” Fetch the seam ripper.

Two glugs into the coffee, for luck, and a celebratory beer for after. “Once I get the offer, you can quit your job and we can start trying for a baby.”


The city of Trinidad, Colorado has a long and interesting history with mining. It was founded in 1862 by Ceran St. Vrain, who arrived in the area with a group of cattlemen to settle on land owned by Lucien Bonaparte Maxwell. At that time, much of the surrounding landscape was home to roaming herds of buffalo and antelope.


He doesn’t like it when I play music. Not my piano, not my bass guitar, not even recordings of music.

It’s late at night. He’s asleep in his office. I’m alone with my dogs and my wine.

“It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah…”

Swing the door open. Stomp into the living room. Furrow your brows so she knows you mean business.

“You mind turning that the fuck down?”

“Don’t talk to me like that.” Sip. Smile. Pet the older dog.

“Please turn that the fuck down.”

“No dice.” Swirl the glass. Admire the legs. Pet the younger dog.

He marches into the kitchen and shatters the last of my good plates.


In southeastern Colorado, maternal mortality rates are significantly higher than the national average. According to a 2018 study by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, maternal mortality rates in the state’s eight southeastern counties averaged 7.3 deaths per 100,000 live births.


“You’re going to feel a sharp pain in 3, 2, 1…”

An involuntary scream fills my mask. At least it’s not childbirth. The pain keeps you safe, the pain keeps you safe, the pain keeps you safe. Six years. I don’t have to do this again for 6 years. I’ll be away from him by then…right?

“Is someone coming to drive you home?” I shake my head. 

“But your chart says you’re married.” I nod my head.




In 1870, John Flemming discovered gold deposits near Trinidad at Mount San Rafael and nearby hills. Gold was the catalyst that brought miners to Trinidad, some of whom were immigrants from Italy and Ireland. In 1876, gold contributions enabled Trinidad to become its own independent city, which it remained until 1912 when it joined with Las Animas County.


“I’m tired of the animosity between you and my family. Can’t you just get over it?”

“I literally just offered to buy them Christmas presents.”


About a decade later, in 1922, Trinidad became home to the first oil well in Colorado. The oil industry grew in the area, resulting in a rapid increase in its population. In 1925, Trinidad was declared the oil capital of Colorado.


“It’s your turn to buy gas.”

I bought the last two tanks. And the fat wad of cash in my pocket came from my savings. A home insurance policy, guaranteed to protect my home from more broken drywall and shattered windows. But I know better than to correct him.


The town’s economy, however, also relied heavily on coal mining, and it became the largest producer of coal in Colorado. Coal mining went on to become a significant part of the city’s economy throughout the early 20th century.


“I didn’t get the job.” Glug. Shoot. Glug. Shoot. No coffee.


In recent years, however, after many coal mines closed, Trinidad has struggled to transition into a more sustainable economy. Tourism has become important to the local economy because of its  proximity to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, as well as Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. While some people in Trinidad have been able to find work in the tourism industry, it has not been enough to keep many families in town.


“How many pens, gummies, and shatter can I get with this? …You want anything?”


Despite an increase in tourism, Trinidad has grappled with issues of social and economic inequality. A high percentage of its population is underserved by local health care providers.


“Just make up with my mom.” Glug. Shoot. Crack a beer. Slice the frozen pizza.

“Do you not see how many times I tried?”

“You’re not doing enough. You never do enough. It’s always boo-hoo, I’m trying with you, never I did.” Chug the beer. Glug-shoot. Chomp the pizza.

“Don’t talk to me like that.”

“You just expect the whole world to tongue your asshole.”

“Stop talking to me like that.”

And then he sliced the air between us.


In recent years, Trinidad has experienced some economic growth due to tourism and the cannabis industry. However, much of the population lives below the poverty line. Many homes on city streets are dilapidated, with broken doors and windows, exposed wires, and crumbling cement foundations. The government is aware of the problems with infrastructure.


“It’s not too late to fix this.” Drag the duffel bag into the foyer. Shuffle the contents. Don’t make it look like a stall tactic.

I start a new row on my crochet. “I don’t want to.”

“If I go now, it might be months until you see me again.”

I don’t look up from my crochet. “I accept that.”

“I’m taking both TV’s.”

I hold onto  my dog by his collar. “Whatever you want.”


Whether you’re looking to learn more about the wine-making process or just want to relax with friends over some delicious local wines, Bangs has it all. With its scenic views and unique offerings, it’s no wonder why so many people are choosing this small town as their next getaway destination!


I chose local wine for my first solo Christmas in three years. Except for the pizza sauce – I used a generic cabernet for that. My homemade deep-dish was fresh from the oven, filling the air with an overture of pepperoni and basil, underscored by notes of butter and full-bodied red wine.  

Pour to the widest part of the glass. Slice the pizza. Blast the new Taylor Swift album and text your friends about it.

Kiss the dogs on their noses. Feed them scrambled eggs with dinner. Wrap yourself in a blanket gown and twirl merrily around the house. 

And hold on tight to the hatchet under your pillow.