What Ed Quillen Thought About

By Virginia McConnell Simmons

How to chop wood,

How to build a computer,

Why stick shift is better in the mountains,

And why the Angel of Shavano melts earlier each year.

Whether you can see Tabeguache from Centerville.

Why five divides send water running down three watersheds,

And why one of these matters in our corner of the globe.

What did Zebulon Pike’s journey cost him and his men?

Did he know where he was?

Was he a spy or a traitor?

Was Thomas Jefferson a dilettante?

Who killed the judge at Granite?

Was the quarrel about a ditch?

Who fought the Civil War in New Mexico,

And the Arapahos at Sand Creek?

Who were Gould and Moffat and Anschutz,

And why do trains no longer run on the rails through Salida?

How expensive was it to live here before the economic growth and tourism,

And how expensive is it to live here since the economic growth and tourism?

(Do real Coloradans eat quiche and buy espresso beans?)

Why is so much money spent on education,

And why do college grads have such huge student loan debts?

But why is it still so difficult to get a job?

What is the difference between on the river and over the river,

Or in the river?

Should boaters’ feet be allowed to touch private land?

What is the real cost of a boat ride through the rapids,

Or of a 12-ounce plastic bottle filled with local spring water?

What is the reason for another national monument?


What book was he holding on the last day?

Where were the trails and roads that Ed traveled,

That he knew so well, with Martha and Bodie?

I am forever grateful that he took us with him,

On the journey.