Born Again Love

By Dawne Belloise

“I think it may be time for you to let Ruby give up the ghost,” my friend said of the ‘72 VW bug I had sunk over $4k into over various and continuous mechanical ailments. There she sat in her red splendor, dead again by the side of the road. A glorified lawn mower, how hard can it be to find someone who knows what they’re doing to work on her? Beyond foolish adoration and the somewhat disturbing humanization of a machine, Ruby represents an era, an entire hippie generation of mobility and freedom, a lifestyle choice and philosophy. However, similarly to that love generation’s dream, sometimes Ruby just didn’t get as far down the road as I had hoped.

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A Farmer Far Afield – Crazy Christmas Past

By John Mattingly

We had a crazy Uncle Bob in our family. He wasn’t clinically crazy, he was just odd. My mom said he turned “funny” when he was born and never straightened out. He visited us at Christmas for many years when I was a kid. I actually thought Bob was pretty cool. He could rile my parents in ways I couldn’t.

One time Bob declared at the dinner table that he was coming out as an atheist. My mom, who could swordplay with the best of them in conversation, quickly informed those of us at the table that Bob wasn’t really an atheist, he just didn’t like to go to church.

To which Bob said something like, “Whaddaya you mean, I love churches,” and my mom shot back, stabbing him with her eyes, “Yeah, from the outside.”

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The “War” for the Royal Gorge

Jackson, royal gorge rr

by Judy Suchan

Two aggressive railroads, hastily built forts, a cannon commandeered by the legendary ‘Bat’ Masterson, gunfire, and a legal battle that raged in the courts for almost two years. This was the little known Royal Gorge War, an event that helped shape Colorado’s, as well as the nation’s transportation system.

In the late 1870s, miners converged on the Arkansas River Valley of Southern Colorado in the search for silver and lead. Feverish mining in the area led to the town of Leadville and attracted the attention of two railroads, the Denver & Rio Grande (D&RG) and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe.

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From the Classroom – Held Hostage in my Heart

by Olivia Lowe

It was a struggle for him, my family, and me. I think most of us were ready and had prepared ourselves, but not me.

My grandpa had six children, a farm clustered with exotic giraffes and tigers, a superlative life, and many talents. In fact, he still holds the record for the longest intercepted pass for a touchdown when he played for the Wisconsin Badgers. He also owned 7,000 acres of horse and laughter grazed land north of Cotopaxi.

He was in college when he received five letters asking him to try out for the “cheese-head” Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, and the Los Angeles Rams. Reasonably, he declined due to the fact that they didn’t pay as well back then and it was a totally different sport.

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Down on the Ground with the Constitution

By George Sibley

At the coffee shop a few months back, one of the local Tea Partiers slapped a petition down on my table: “We want all government officials to adhere to the Constitution of the United States.”

Well – what’s to disagree with there? I signed it. But I was left with the uneasy feeling that I should have asked some questions first. Like, which government officials do you think are not adhering to the Constitution? What do you mean by “adhere”? Et cetera.

To the best of my knowledge that petition never went anywhere, but a month later, the same guy was petitioning to recall all of our County Commissioners – for, among other sins, not adhering to the Constitution. I didn’t sign that one.

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Some Steamy Issues

NATHROP – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has decided to issue a lease for geothermal development near Mount Princeton to 3E Geothermal.

The bureau received 16 letters of protest from residents and landowners in the vicinity of the proposed lease whose concerns focused mainly on fears of water contamination.

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Faro: A Real Game of Chance

by Jan MacKell

“The ancient card faces painted on the layout were doubtless faded and worn but to my boyish eyes they glowed like a church’s stained-glass window … (Gaye) started drawing the cards one by one from the battered old silver box. As he drew, I could see his lips move and knew he was making bets for imaginary customers. Deftly he slapped stacks of chips – we always called them checks – on certain cards of the layout.”

So did Nugget, the main character in Conrad Richter’s book Tacey Cromwell, describe how his brother practiced so he could get a job dealing Faro during the late 1800s. In the old west Faro was more popular than Poker, so chosen because it was amazingly easy to play. Nary a saloon in the West was without it, and several well known figures of the time – Soapy Smith and Doc Holliday among them – made their riches by banking the game.

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Dates for a New Year

by Ed Quillen

Never have I been much of a joiner, but I do belong to the Salida Business Alliance and just got re-elected as its secretary. The SBA puts on the Parade of Lights on the night after Thanksgiving and organizes the community Independence Day celebration.

I didn’t join out of some burning desire to serve the community. When we ran this magazine, I sold ads. That meant connecting with local enterprises – “networking” if you will – and the easiest way to meet people is to join an organization.

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From the Editor

“Is that Ed?”

Several readers commented about the photo on the cover of last month’s issue, wondering if Ed Quillen had somehow been magically transported into the past to play the role of Santa among a group of Salida youngsters.

While we freely admit there is a certain resemblance, Santa is highly unlikely to have been him, as Ed was all of one year old at the time. Also we try to avoid using Photoshop to manipulate images, time, space, physical planes, etc..

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Food safety bill serves up concerns for locavores

By Hal Walter

“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson is surely spinning beneath the Monticello sod over recent Congressional passage of the Food Safety and Modernization Act. You see, Jefferson had the notion that this was to be a nation of small farmers.

Soon the bill will be signed into law. It will affect produce, dairy products, eggs and some processed food, but not meat.

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When Good Intentions Get Out of Control

By Susan Tweit

Last September, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Although she was intellectually very much “still here” in her words, her short-term memory became increasingly unreliable and her body began to fail.

Mom was always a cheerful, good-natured sort, but with Alzheimer’s came agitation and apprehension. What seemed to help most was the sound of a familiar and loved voice, and the one she really craved was my voice.

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Book Review

Breaking into the Backcountry

By Steven Edwards

University of Nebraska Press, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8032-2653-1
$16.95, 179pp.

Reviewed by Eduardo Rey Brummel

Just last week I had a brief conversation with a friend regarding the lack of male rites of passage these days. Breaking into the Backcountry is about things explicit and implicit. One of those things is Steve Edwards’ rite of passage.

He writes, “The call came from John Daniel, the contest’s coordinator: I had somehow managed to win the PEN/Northwest Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency, whose prize was a small cash stipend and seven months as caretaker of a backcountry homestead in what John called ‘unparalleled solitude’ along the federally designated Wild and Scenic Rogue River in southwestern Oregon.”

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I am a U.S.Census Survivor

by Michael L. Bullock

Personally, I had no problem filling out and returning my family’s 2010 U.S. Census questionnaire – my wife took care of it.

But as a newly unemployed Colorado newspaperman in January of 2010, I took the bait. It was hidden within the pages of the local paper: “Help wanted. 2010 U.S. Census enumerators. Temporary.”

Unassuming John Doe that I am, I trotted over to the American Legion Hall and took the exam. And I passed the test!

At first, anyway.

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News from the San Luis Valley

Saguache Elections Update

The 2010 general election was conducted following all state and federal statues and rules. The mail-in ballots that were recounted for the clerks and commissioners races produced in the exact same results as the Nov. 5 re-tabulation. The results have been examined and signed off by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office and the Saguache Canvass Board as true and accurate.

The Saguache County Clerk invited a technician from Election Systems & Solutions along with two representatives from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office who reviewed the election processes, reconciled the ballots and researched the data error in the software.

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