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The date of this issue happens to be my birthday. Somehow, a tradition sprung up where my family would always see a movie for my birthday. When my children were much younger there was a movie … more
Recently, a situation came up that reminded me of the power of friendships. I am a person who is richly blessed with a lot of friends. My heart, and my social media friend list, is full. As I looked … more
The day was picture perfect--A+ in every way. It was the kind prayed for by brides planning garden weddings, and dreamed of by photographers challenged to shoot pictures for world class chamber of … more
We are at that time of the year when the days are getting noticeably longer. Okay, technically each day is still just 24-hours long. However, the length of daylight is increasing and I love it. I’m not sure why, but the longer days just make me happy. more
A few years ago, we had a busy week and forgot to put our trash out at the curb for pick up. It wasn’t too big a deal at first, but before the following week’s pick up, all of our big cans were full and pick up day was still several days away. Knowing that we couldn’t stack the bags on top of the cans because the neighborhood cats would get into them, there came a point when we realized that we would have to do something. more
It would have been easy to sail through Fairplay, CO, at near maximum highway speed. The calendar said “mid-April,” but Mother Nature was fickle, alternating sunny days with the season’s final snowfalls that briefly “slicked up” the pavement. Snow was flying; the temperature was in the upper 20s. I spotted the little roadside shop, hoping my wife would continue her snooze as we drove past Moose King Chainsaw Art. I saw a lone figure, his chainsaw humming. Barely out of Fairplay, Brenda awoke, glanced back toward town and suggested our return to give Fairplay a chance. There was a U-turn in our immediate future…. ***** I was defenseless. Our hotel near the Denver Airport was just two hours away, and our flight wasn’t until the next day. We were both intrigued at the prospect of seeing replicas of bears—some nine feet tall--hewn from giant spruce trees. ***** Evan E. Henley, shop owner and artist, made us feel welcome. However, I knew there wouldn’t be any “spruce bears” accompanying us back to Texas, since they won’t fit in the plane’s overhead bin. Inside, though, the 36-year-old entrepreneur displayed various small wooden plaques. Their messages were warm and “homey,” and several came home with us…. ***** Like pets who want to be outside when they’re inside, and vice versa, my curiosity drew me back outside, where a dozen giant spruces, 30 feet long, lay on the ground. They were delivered on 18-wheelers, and it seems magical that an artist’s skill and gassed-up saw can reduce the trees to likenesses of deer, eagles and bears. Evan, a native of Cut-N’-Shoot, TX, has lived in Colorado for most of his adult life. I asked if he had any particularly funny memories so far. “You mean outside or in prison?” he asked…. ***** I dropped the subject, respecting a man who took wrong forks in the road during his youth, but seems committed to taking the right ones now. He has been in business for four years, working daily, whatever the weather. One might call him a dedicated commuter. He lives 100 miles away in Pueblo…. ***** He posed with his chainsaw, eagerly telling us about his business. Said his dad taught him about chainsaw art when he was 12, but didn’t “turn him loose” with a saw until he was 14. It is clear that Evan is “in his element” in Fairplay, a resort community of about 800 people on Highway 285. (It is so named because of an uproar over land grant procedures during the Colorado gold rush of the 1850s. Gold and silver mining played out a century later, but tourists have filled the economic gap.) Truly, he is a gentleman and an artist. We hope he sells tons of wooden wildlife. Right now, he’s stocking up for the 70th annual “burro race” over a 29.5 mile course that will attract more than 10,000 visitors on the last Sunday in July. Guests arriving on Saturday can take in the llama races. Both events are fund-raisers for area schools….. more
Since Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 13, I wrote this poem in honor of my own mother who passed away in 2010. A mother’s love can fix it all I did once believe, From simple bumps and bruises To my skinned up knees. more
Friends, I am getting a little antsy. After just about one hundred and seventy-seven days with young teenaged students, I am ready for a break. But somehow, at the same time, I am already missing the kids. I know. It sounds insane that I would want a break from my students all while already anticipating worrying about them all summer, but it’s true. I spend so many hours a day with them for such a long time and then all the sudden it is over and I have to sit back and wonder if they will be taken care of, if they will eat enough, if they will have a good summer break. Will they spend any time at all reading a book? Will they stare at a screen all summer while giving themselves carpal tunnel from all the texting and gaming? Will they get to enjoy snow cones and ice cream or will their families barely scrape by? more
Soon after the inception of this column more than 15 years ago, I committed to sharing noteworthy recipes with readers from time to time. A dozen weeks into my writing regimen, I shared a cinnamon toast recipe. It elicited no response--favorable or otherwise--so I have been reluctant to make culinary suggestions--until now. I expect no drumrolls, but I do admit “chest-swelling” with the mere mention of my saintly mother’s potato salad. more
There are many types of gardens. There are large ones that take up an entire yard and there are some that consist of only a few plants in pots on the front porch. I remember the garden my grandparent’s had when I was growing up. They grew eggplant which was purple. Purple being my favorite color, I just knew I’d like eggplant. Wrong. It may have a pretty package, but I just didn’t care for the fried eggplant my grandmother served. v more
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