“I’ve cut this board three times and it’s still too short!” Our dear friend JJ Eakin, Shadowcliff’s maintenance guy of 14 years and all around guest ambassador, liked to say that. It was usually accompanied by a shake of the head and a smile, before he figured out a workable solution.
JJ was a Navy veteran, a conservative, a quiet person who would be seen repairing something before anyone else knew it needed fixing, a southpaw who routinely held the same end seat in the dining room while sharing a meal with others, a hilarious man who freely shared his dry and warm sense of humor, and a friend and mentor to staff and guests alike.
As Maintenance Man, JJ kept Shadowcliff running, but almost more importantly, he made genuine contact with folks, making Shadowcliff accessible to a wide variety of people in many different ways. He did not agree with everyone, but he still made each person feel welcome. That is a core Shadowcliff value.
Back in 2014 one of our staff did an artist residency in Grand Lake, followed by a show of her very abstract work at a nearby barn. She wrote, ”to my surprise, JJ showed up with Bob. He had his hair slicked back and took his hat off — as if going to an art show was as much of an occasion to clean up as going to church! I waited to see what he would say, knowing how easily he voiced skepticism about anything that he might perceive as ‘weird stuff’. After awhile, he came back over to me and said, ‘Well. I don’t understand any of it, but I’m proud of you.’ And gave me a hug.”
We celebrate JJ, his life and his story, as a constant reminder that each individual makes a difference in our world. At Shadowcliff, we strive to honor that simple truth. The most important word for me in our mission statement, “together we are creating a climate for a restorative world,” is “together.” Whether you’re a veteran or a conscientious objector, a listener or a talker, a conservative or a liberal, right handed or left, there’s a place for you at Shadowcliff.
Now that our 2017 season has drawn to a close and the lodge bedded down for the winter, I invite you to contribute to protecting our special mountain sanctuary in the Rockies with a financial gift. As a year-round organization working on seasonal income, your timely donation will ensure that Shadowcliff and our fabulous staff and volunteers are here to greet future generations of guests.
Here’s some of the important work that your financial contributions will support:
- Updating the stairs in Rempel Lodge. JJ would have loved to see this one through. Next May we will tackle Rempel’s interior stairs. We’ll create an easier stair climbing experience with new, wider treads and less steepness. Yippee!
- Increasing our educational offerings. If you come for a visit next season and you’re not part of a group, you’ll have some new options: take a yoga class, schedule a fly fishing lesson, take a guided hike. (Or not. We deeply value downtime.
- Upgrading the sleep experience. We will continue replacing mattresses with new organic cotton mattresses from Suite Sleep (don’t worry- we get them wholesale!), lovingly worn bedspreads with quilts, and upgrading the double beds to queens.
I hope you will join the Friends of Shadowcliff family as a financial supporter of our 501(c)3 organization with a tax-deductible gift this year. As a thank you, all donors get to start booking lodge rooms a full two weeks before anyone else. And for any gift of $250 or more, you’ll get to book even earlier.
Thank you! Together, we ARE creating a climate for a restorative world.
With gratitude and suspenders,