Two spooky-season stories of getting over the hill

Column by John Akal
Posted 10/20/21

Today is my birthday. I was born on Oct. 21, 1959 in Denver. That makes me 62 years old as of today. That means I am coming up on the 62nd Anniversary of my first experience in Golden. It happened a …

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Two spooky-season stories of getting over the hill


Today is my birthday. I was born on Oct. 21, 1959 in Denver. That makes me 62 years old as of today. That means I am coming up on the 62nd Anniversary of my first experience in Golden. It happened a few days after I was born when my parents were driving me home from the hospital. That was the day that my happy Father forgot to check the gas gauge on his car in all the excitement of bringing his new son home and ran out of gas on Hwy. 6 just before he got up the hill to 19th Street. If he’d made it a few yards further he could have coasted all the way down to the house. Unfortunately, he had to walk to the closest gas station, which was on the corner of Jackson Street and huff back up the hill with a gas can. Yeah, my Mom never let him forget that incident. Leaving her sitting in the car with a newborn by the side of a highway.

This explains why I seem to have a never ending number of crazy stories about things that happened here in town. My first day home started out with one, and it has been like that ever since.

As you may have noticed, my Birthday falls 10 days before Halloween, so I have always associated the two events together. That’s why October is always special to me. Now, 10 days from a holiday is one thing, but my Mom’s birthday was actually December 25, Christmas Day and my Grandmother’s was November 1, All Saints Day. My Mother-in law’s birthday was April 15, Tax Day. Now I don’t feel so special.

Oh well. Let’s get back to Halloween. Yeah, it’s coming soon. You can tell it’s about a week away because all of the Halloween stuff in the stores is already almost sold out. If you get a last minute invitation to a costume party, you better try and throw something together with whatever you already have in your closet because it’s going to be slim pickings in every place except a dedicated costume shop from here on out.

This year you have an extra planning hiccup to take into consideration. Oct. 31, the actual Halloween day, falls on a Sunday. That means that pretty much every bar and nightclub in the area will be having their big party, costume contest or whatever on Saturday, the day before Halloween. But, that doesn’t mean that the whole holiday has moved back a day. If you are planning on taking the kids through the neighborhood for Trick-or-Treating, that’s still supposed to happen on Sunday.

Now, if you recall, last year Halloween actually did fall on a Saturday. Of course we were all under some kind of quarantine, so most of the events were canceled, but on the years when that happens, you also have to remember that the end of daylight Savings Time comes at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November. This year you won’t have to worry about that. Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 7. You better get a pencil and write all this stuff down. There might be a quiz later.

As I explained earlier, I’ve always associated my birthday and Halloween together and totally gotten into the whole spooky All Hallows Eve vibe, but I do realize that not everyone has chosen Gomez Addams as their role model. For those of you who would like to do something healthier on Halloween than pretending you just came back from the dead, I have an event for you.

As most of you know, Golden is the home base for a lot of serious bicycle riders and enthusiasts and if you happen to consider yourself an intermediate to advanced cyclist you may want to check out the Lariat Loop Halloween Hill Climb and Brews event. It’s going to take place 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31 and promises to be a rite of passage that will have your thighs screaming like a banshee. See that mountain over there with the big “M” on it? That’s what your going to climb on your bike. But, once you go up, you get to come down and the zooming descent is worth the effort. They’ll be capping it all off with a beer at Mountain Toad Brewery.

This event is free to attend, but you should register ahead of time. Just go to Just make sure to bring a helmet and plenty of water. It’s not a ride for zombies. Or is it? Hmmm…

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at


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