Ed Quillen

By now many of our readers are probably aware that Ed Quillen, the founder of Colorado Central Magazine, passed away in early June. Ed was 61 years old and died of a heart attack while enjoying one of his favorite pastimes, reading a history book. His musings were a staple of this magazine and his columns in The Denver Post were enjoyed by many in Colorado and beyond.

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Remarks by Dorothy Quillen

Editor’s note: Ed Quillen’s mother, Dorothy wrote the following remarks for her son’s memorial service held in Salida on June 10, 2012.

On the morning of Nov. 12, 1950, a little baby bundled in a blanket was placed in my arms in my hospital room at the old Weld County Hospital in Greeley, Colo. This little baby was the most beautiful one I had ever seen. He had a mop of bright red curly hair, brown eyes and a clear complexion, although there was a yellowish cast to it. I knew immediately that his name was to be Edward Kenneth Quillen III. His dad was Edward Jr., and his grandfather was Edward Sr.

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Remembering Ed

By Hal Walter
Any of the following about Ed Quillen may or may not be true. And if it isn’t, it might as well be, since Ed has left us in an untimely fashion and I’m now free to libel him at will.

Don’t blame me. It’s totally unfair to everyone that the likes of myself are left to write eulogies for Ed, who is probably best known as a Denver Post columnist and contributor to Writers on the Range, but who is regarded among faithful readers as a legend in Western journalism. Ed is one person who should be granted a day pass from death, so that he might come back to write his own epitaph.

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Columbine Quillen

In an era where children are constantly being asked, “What do you want?” or “What do you think?” might I offer you the Ed Quillen School of Child Rearing.

The next time your child is clamoring at you to buy him something, don’t say no or tell your child to get a job. Instead quickly respond, “People in hell want ice water.” If your child is too small to understand this sentiment, take your time to explain it to him. You will find that soon your children never ask for anything other than tepid water – which is usually free and easy to come by.

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Dispatch from the Edge

By Peter Anderson

The black fox, which is really a red fox, came by again this morning. Members of the red fox species – a misnomer as it turns out–may be gray, silver, sometimes tinted blue, and, most dramatically, moonless midnight sky black. I know the black fox is a red fox because it has a white tip on the end of its tail.

I also know why the black fox is here and why it keeps coming back. This fox smells duck. On previous visits, it may have spied its prey, potentially a very succulent prey at that. Our ducks were a gift from my wife’s brother, a rancher in the Animas River Valley, who worried, quite frankly, if they would survive our ignorance of fowl behavior. But they managed well here, setting up house in the relative safety of our growdome greenhouse, while Uncle Johnny’s ducks north of Durango met with misfortune via several red-tailed hawks.

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Book Review

Rescue in Poverty Gulch

Historical Fiction for Ages 8 and up

By Nancy Oswald

Filter Press, paperback, 185 pp, $8.95


Reviewed by Annie Dawid

The first in a new series by Cotopaxi author Nancy Oswald, Rescue in Poverty Gulch will delight children who get their hands on this book as well as the adults who read it to youngsters. Oswald’s stories appeal to readers in search of lively characters and rich local history.

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Down on the Ground with The Bard

By George Sibley

“In the hope you don’t produce too much civilization in the Gunnison Country.” – Inscription in “Deep in the Heart of the Rockies”

No one had thought this would happen so soon – the challenge of how to remember Ed Quillen. When I think about Quillen, I’m always thinking ahead to something – how best to fit a Quillen diatribe into the next Headwaters conference at Western State, whether there was time on the upcoming trip to Denver to stop in Salida for a cup of coffee, wondering what next Sunday’s column would be about, writing him an email about this Sunday’s column.

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On Winter:

“Now, I can live with harsh winters. I lived four years in Kremmling, where the daily high was often below zero, and the nightly lows reached Siberian depths. But coping with hard winters is like changing diapers – I may know how to do it, but that doesn’t mean I like it.”

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Waunita Hot Springs – The Power of One Woman’s Tears

By Cara Guerrieri

As a young girl with romantic leanings, the legend of Waunita Hot Springs fascinated me. It is said that the tears shed by the beautiful Waunita, a woman of the Ute tribe, created the hot springs. She had fallen in love with a Shoshone warrior, who was then killed in battle. In her grief and sorrow, Waunita wandered the valley and was so heartbroken that she died within days and was buried in a nearby cave. Her love was so strong, however, that where her tears fell, the earth weeps. In the remote valley twenty-seven miles from Gunnison, Colorado, millions of gallons of water per day flow at up to 174°. The legend of Waunita is written on a plaque near the springs and as a youth, I remember reading it and trying to imagine a love that powerful.

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Soldiers and Porcelain Dolls – The Children of Fort Garland

By Jamie Devine

The infantry run their daily drills, the smell of sulfur lingering in the air. The cavalry are mounted and heading towards the area of patrol, their horses galloping by and kicking up dirt. The officer signs off on papers in his office, while the sounds of the blacksmith’s forge clang in the background. Children are playing in the parade ground as their mothers chat among themselves. This would have been a typical scene at a military fort in the mid-19th-century West. Yes, women and children did live at military forts. They lived and interacted among the soldiers in a male-dominated environment.

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News from the San Luis Valley

By Patty LaTaille

Trinchera Ranch – Soon to be an Amazing Legacy

Trinchera Ranch owner and conservationist Louis Bacon announced his intended donation of the 90,000-acre Blanca Ranch conservation easement located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Bacon owns the Blanca and Trinchera Ranches located north and east of Fort Garland. According to the Valley Courier, during his announcement, Bacon said, “This action will protect the Blanca Ranch in perpetuity and create a key connection in the large, diverse system of protected lands here along the Sangre de Cristo range and in the San Luis Valley.” He was applauded by SLV residents, in addition to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.

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Accessory Dwelling Unit

By Christopher Kolomitz

Seeking to maximize buildable lot space and spur urban infill, a new take on an old solution is gaining steam in Salida and around the region as more and more people begin to construct accessory dwelling units.

The units are basically a second living space constructed on a lot with an existing structure. They’re called ADUs by people in the know, carriage houses by those politically correct and mother-in-law houses by those not. They’re a hit with homeowners looking for extra space when visitors arrive. They can also be used as separate living quarters for a disabled child or aging parent and they can create added income through rental.

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Lynda La Rocca

Ed used to say that I was his first.

And he wasn’t kidding.

After Ed and Martha founded Colorado Central Magazine in 1994, the first contributor’s check that Ed cut went to me. He presented that check at the magazine’s launch party in the packed back room of the former First Street Café. And in classic Ed fashion, he did it during an arm-waving, anecdote-filled speech punctuated by drags on a hand-rolled cigarette.

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Allen Best

In 1977, soon after going to work for Ed and Martha at the Middle Park Times in Kremmling, I set out one evening to explore the region. Near dusk, returning from Steamboat Springs, I rounded a curve in the road and smacked into Bambi. The collision shoved the grill into the radiator and put me in a pickle. Close to broke, I caught a ride to Steamboat, where I scrounged my quarters and called Ed. He cheerfully replied that he’d be over the next morning with a few tools. He came, and after a trip to a salvage yard for a new radiator, which he modified and installed, he had me mobile once again.

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Unlikely Capitalist

By Slim Wolfe

Back in the mid-nineties, when Colorado Central was fairly young, I was approached by a singer-songwriter to provide hammered-dulcimer backup for the guitar-and-vocal repertoire she wanted to record. On the strength of our recording, we were booked at the Steam Plant but unfortunately our live show didn’t live up to the promise of the recording and most of the audience departed early. The Mountain Mail review described her as inebriated and expressed some sympathy for me. Gentleman that I aspired to be, I wrote a letter excusing her on the grounds of neurological ailments (being drunk could be called that) but I hesitated to submit the letter to the Mail since the publisher had a tendency to edit letters and alter the context (my opinion) On impulse, I sent the letter to Ed. I didn’t know him, he didn’t know me, and he might well have rejected the letter as nothing more than some disgruntled musician’s dirty laundry, but it promptly appeared and I was encouraged to submit a series of letters over many years.

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By John Mattingly
Ed Quillen was a writer’s writer. He not only made a good bit of his living from writing, he cared about other writers.

Anyone who worked with Ed on the “page,” knows he always found a way to be helpful, and kind, even when he knew the written work needed a lot of work. I appreciated his candor, his skill, and … even though it isn’t directly related, it may be ultimately related: his unfailing tolerance for a difficult dog, one named Bodie. Concerning the other, Ed paid a nickel a word when it was hard for a freelancer to net a nickel for a novel.

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Old Age

By Martha Quillen

They say that it takes courage to face old age, but what about the alternative? Although death delivers the inevitable end for all of us, I tended to worry more about old age – especially Ed’s old age. I thought that Ed and I would be together for at least another ten or fifteen years, and I wanted to make them good years.

Of course, medical literature is full of warnings about sudden, lethal heart attacks, but Ed was not one to dwell on what could go wrong – be it money-wise, work-wise, or health-wise. I was the worrier in our family, but I was intent on fixing what was already wrong.

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Regional News

Wildfire Season Underway

Severe drought conditions, high temperatures and low humidity are a portent of what may shape up to be a dangerous year for forest fires in the West. In Central Colorado the Springer Fire, 3.5 miles southwest of Lake George in Park County, burned more than 1,145 acres forcing the evacuation of several residents. It began on June 17 and investigators believe it may have been started by recreational shooters. Air tankers fighting the fire were grounded for about 90 minutes due to reports of a meteor shower.

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Restaurant Review

The Fritz
113 East Sackett St., Salida, CO

 By Ann Marie Swan

The Fritz opened in a space that’s seen a number of eateries come and go. Yet, the Fritz, a hot spot for locals and visitors alike, seems to have broken the curse of restaurants past with real success. Most of the time, the restaurant is busy enough.

The street-side wall of glass invites sunlight into this handsome, historic space with a wood floor, gold and espresso-colored tin ceiling and exposed brick wall holding up local art. Patrons in the back of the restaurant can see through to Riverside Park’s treetops. Comfy, lounge patio furniture and tables fill the spacious outdoor area, a welcoming spot to sip cool drinks and watch the comings and goings at the park.

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How the Jackass Became a Democrat

By John Mattingly
Andrew Jackson was called a jackass by his opponents in the 1828 presidential campaign as a reaction to his slogan, “Let the people rule.”

Some Republicans went so far as to suggest that letting the “people” rule would be the same as herding a bunch of jackasses into Washington D.C., giving them the right vote with their ears, and hoping for the best.

Instead of refuting the accusation, Andrew Jackson shrewdly embraced it, thus turning it to his advantage. He pointed to the virtues of the jackass, all of which are also virtues of a good Democrat: persistence, loyalty, humility, and an unfailing ability to carry the load. Jackson even put a donkey on his campaign posters.

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