2019

Newspaper Carrier Day Is Fast Approaching

The nation next week will largely ignore National Newspaper Carrier Day, which takes place on Sept. 4. As print circulation of newspapers plummet, the number of hardworking folks who get up at 2 a.m. to make sure the remaining loyal subscribers to a daily newspaper have a copy lying in the driveway, when they arise, is also decreasing. I still subscribe to the local newspaper and have an excellent carrier. She places our paper on top of the brick mailbox each morning to make sure it doesn’t get wet when the sprinklers come on, or an early morning thunderstorm sweeps through. Bless her. The...

Read more...

When I’m 64… Sheesh

I could be handy, mending a fuse When your lights have gone You can knit a sweater by the fireside Sunday mornings, go for a ride Doing the garden, digging the weeds Who could ask for more? Will you still need me, will you still feed me When I'm sixty-four? When I’m Sixty-Four — The Beatles, from “Magical Mystery Tour   I have long anticipated poaching those lyrics on this day, though I haven’t been in a hurry to arrive here. No sense rushing matters. But today, Aug. 23, I turn 64. To continue lyrical larceny, what a long strange trip it’s been. Sixty-four. Jeez....

Read more...

A Beautiful Day on the Rio Costilla

RIO COSTILLA, NEW MEXICO — This 10,000-acre park near the Colorado border is filled with lush pasture through which the Rio Costilla — Spanish for “rib” — meanders its way down from the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, eventually joining with the Rio Grande del Norte. The park is a portion of what originally was a much larger Spanish land grant in what is now northern Taos County. It is part of an 80,000-acre tract owned since 1942 by the Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association. Fat black Angus cattle graze alongside the banks, while anglers cast lines into the swift-flowing...

Read more...

Go Outside and Do Things

RIO GRANDE del NORTE NATIONAL MONUMENT, EMBUDO, NEW MEXICO — The river that forms part of the boundary between Texas and Mexico begins its nearly 2,000-mile journey into the Gulf of Mexico in south-central Colorado. As it enters northern New Mexico, the raging river cuts through 800-foot gorges. Those gorges are located on nearly a quarter-million acres of public lands in Taos County that were proclaimed a national monument in 2013 by President Obama. We have arrived on a Sunday afternoon to hike from the rim of the gorge to the confluence of the Red River and the Rio Grande del Norte. This...

Read more...

Spending My Saturdays at the Compost Site

In the past three-plus months, I have made numerous trips to the city’s Compost Site. At first, it was to carry off tree branches and brush sheared off during the May 8 storm. The tree-cutting crews cut and hauled off the heavy stuff, but I opted to save money by loading up Big Red, our 1965 Ford F100 (still for sale), and making the trip cross-town. There is no charge to city residents, though commercial crews must pay. After the storm, mountains of tree debris appeared at the site, brought in by dozens of tree removal crews and private citizens. As I unloaded a pickup bed of branches, invariably,...

Read more...

Bringing The Apology Table Back to Life

Nearly three months after a fierce straight-line windstorm swept through North Longview, damaging hundreds of homes – including ours – repair work continues. We were luckier than many. Our roof sustained minor damage, plus some smashed gutters. The biggest project has been having our deck rebuilt, and that is nearly completed. One victim of the storm was the Apology Table. It is a 30-inch square cedar outdoor table. The top consists of diagonal slats with gaps between each board to allow rain to fall through. The table gets its name because I built it as an apology gift for my Beautiful...

Read more...

The Moonwalk and Remembering Alan Shepard

The world this week marked the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon in 1969 and Neil Armstrong taking those first steps on its dusty surface. At the time, I worked after school as a paperboy for the Longview Daily News, peddling the afternoon edition to patrons of downtown businesses along Methvin, Tyler and Cotton streets, then heading down Green Street to Highway 80. The paper cost a dime, and I got to keep a nickel. A bit of salesmanship was required, since folks decided each day whether to invest that dime – especially since many had already read the Morning Journal. Most days,...

Read more...

Another DIve Into the Archives

As the summer sun beats down outside, I am spending a fair amount of time comfortably tucked inside the Estes Library, getting paid to go through boxes of documents contained in the R.G. LeTourneau Industries archives. Four of us are working to put at least some of the boxes into some sensible order, as I have mentioned before. This is a long-term project. Here are some interesting pieces I have found over the past several weeks: • One file folder contained a series of letters between the company and the United States Department of Agriculture. In December 1958, a research agricultural...

Read more...

A Quick Trip to The Green Mountains

GREEN MOUNTAINS, VERMONT -- Growing up in New Hampshire, our family didn’t have much dealings with Vermont. We often spent a week in Maine during the summer, crowded into a modest cabin at York Beach – which was only an hour east of Allenstown, where we lived. As a kid, it seemed like a epic journey to travel to York, an hour-and-a-half drive in our 1964 Comet with the three boys in the backseat, all of us dodging cigarette ashes flicked out the window by our parents. Ten years ago, I returned to York with my Beautiful Mystery Companion and daughter Abbie. The drive from Boston seemed to take...

Read more...

Cheers to Beantown And Clam Chowder

You wanna go where everybody knows your name.                                                             — Theme song from “Cheers” Back Bay, Boston – Nobody knows our name here on Beacon Street, as we hop off the Old Town Trolley, just up from Boston Common. John Kerry, the former senator and presidential nominee, and his wife, Teresa Heinz, live nearby in one of the brownstones that grace the narrow streets of Beacon Hill. I once tried to figure out which one was their home, to no avail. It is unlikely they would have...

Read more...