Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas 1977: One to Remember

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Christmas comes to mind. I was just thinking of past Christmases and this came to mind.

In 1977, I was living with my grandparents in Edgewater, Colorado. It was a cold and wet winter. On Christmas Eve, I decided that I was going to go up in the mountains for the day. So I loaded up some stuff in my old Blazer -- a jug of water, some munchies, and some extra smokes. (I smoked back then.)

The roads out of town were not too bad, just wet and slushy. I headed out of town on 285 towards Conifer. As I drove, it started to snow; not too bad, just big fluffy flakes. The sun was shining, so I didn't worry.

As I got to the little town of Grant, I decided to go over Guanella Pass and come out above Georgetown, then head on back home.

The drive was nice and the snow kept falling. As I got closer to the summit, the deeper the snow got. No big deal, right? I had done this lots of times before. As I reached the top of the pass, I had to stop and put the Blazer in four wheel drive.

There was no one else there at the top, and the view of the snow was unbroken by anyone. No tracks, just bright clean snow. The big flakes of snow were still coming down and the sun was shining on all of it.

As I headed down towards Georgetown, I saw that I was making new tracks on the road. Nobody has driven up this way. It was neat to be the first to make tracks down the road. As I got down about a third of the way on the pass, it started to snow harder. It was getting hard to see the road, and my wiper blades were having a hard time of keeping the snow cleared off the windshield. I had to stop several times on the way down to clear the windows so I could see.

About 15 minutes later, my defroster stopped running and I had no heat in the blazer. The windows kept frosting over. So here I was driving down a mountain road in about two feet of snow, no heat, and trying to drive and scrape the windshield at the same time.

Now it takes a heck of a lot to scare me, but I was starting to get a little worried. I was driving at about 15 miles an hour. I was making good time, and I figured that I maybe had about 12 to 18 miles to go to get to Georgetown.

All of a sudden the weather got real nasty. The big fluffy flakes were gone and were replaced with hard wind-driven snow. Now I was starting to get scared. I was driving at 5 miles an hour or less. I couldn't see the road at all. I crept along, still scraping the window to see and trying to get the heater to work and keep the Blazer on the road. I got to close to the edge and the Blazer kinda tilted over, then I was off the road and going down the side of the mountain.

I managed to get the Blazer stopped and I took a deep breath. Now I was in real deep s##t. I couldn't get the Blazer back up on the road, and I was too far off the road for anyone to see me IF anyone drove by, and I knew the tracks of my going off the road would be covered by snow in a matter of minutes.

I could stay with the Blazer and make the best of it, or I could walk out on my own.

I was standing on the road and the wind quit blowing as hard for just a bit and I could see that I was not that far from town. I decided to hoof it out. I packed up my water jug, munchies, and an old sleeping bag out of the back of the Blazer and started walking down the road to Georgetown.

The wind picked up and the snow was biting right through my jacket and clothes. At some point as I was walking, I thought that I heard voices. I figured it had to be the wind. But as I kept going, the voices got louder.

I think that at this point I was hoping that there were voices and that somebody else was up there with me. I called out several times and could swear that I heard them say, "This way! " I listened, but could not hear the sound of running motors. I was thinking, "Great. Some other nimrod is stuck up here like me. "

As I pushed on, the voices sounded really close, but off the road. Did I really want to get off the road? Maybe someone had put up a new cabin since the last time I was up there. I figured that I had to be close, real close, to town. But the weather was getting worse, so I went towards the voices.

It turns out that the voices that I heard were a stream. The water was running real fast, and at one point it ran under ground. As it rushed through this hole, it sounded like a voice saying, "HERE."

It was from the air and water rushing in that made it sound the way it did.

Now I was wondering what the heck I was going to do. The wind let up for just a second or two and I could see an old mine off to one side of the mountain. Boy, howdy, I beat feet to it and looked in. I looked at the time and saw that it was about 5:30 p.m., and realized that there was no way I could make it to town before it was to get dark.

I decided to stay in the old mine over night. No problem, it was out of the wind, I had stuff to eat, water to drink, and an old ratty sleeping bag to wrap up in. Now all I needed was a fire for warmth. Behold, I found an old rat's nest with lots of sticks and other stuff to burn. Now, it wasn't the Brown Palace, but it would do.

Later, much later, at about midnight, the snow let up. I walked to the mouth of my little mine, and saw the sky was clear. And the stars! Yes, the stars! I swear that I have never seen the stars as bright as they were that night. The moon was just a sliver in the sky. There was no wind. All was calm. As I was taking all this in, I could hear the Christmas carol Silent Night in my head.

People, that was one of the best Christmases ever.

Later, when the morning sun came out, I packed up my stuff and headed out to the road. When I got to the road and looked down it, I could see smoke from Georgetown. I walked to the curve in the road and could see the town! I was just 1-1/2 miles to 2 miles from town. And as I walked, things seemed so new and clean in the snow, and everything was bright.

As I came off the last switch back and hit the outskirts of town, I ran into a police officer and, man, did he give me a funny look. He asked me where I came from. I told him that I came off the pass. He looked up the road, back at me, and informed me that they closed the pass yesterday. He wanted to know how I got to town, and I told him that I walked. I told him what had happened to my Blazer and how I spent the night in the old mine above town.

Well, he wasn't too happy with me. He kept giving me dirty looks and kept looking back up the mountain. He took me into town to the police station and let me make a phone call to Grandmother and Pappy. They had figured that I spent the night at a friends house after my day in the mountains.

It took them several hours to clear the road, and another hour or two to get me up the mountain to get my Blazer and have it pulled back up on the road so I could drive home.

Since then I have taken friends and family up on the pass and showed them the mine that I spent the night in and the stream that talks. As I stand and listen, to this day, that stream still talks to me. I will always remember my Christmas on the mountain.

Monday, November 29, 2010


"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: It is the time for home."

Edith Sitwell, British poet

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FEED YOUR FACE: How is your turkey?

As you all know, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Just about everybody will be having turkey. Some of you will roast, some will deep fry, and maybe some of you will smoke the turkey. We all seem to do it the same year after year.

How about a little change on the bird this year? How about a dry rub on old tom. Or you could do a brine of some type.

Last time we did a turkey at our house I did a dry rub of lemon pepper with a little bit of salt, then smoked the bird in hickory smoke. If you decide to smoke a turkey, figure one hour per pound. You do not even need a dry rub. Just smoke it. It comes out juicy and with a good flavor. Or you can smoke it for two hours and finish cooking him in the oven the way you are used to.

You can also brine the bird. Try apple juice, not the frozen kind, but real apple juice. Soak it over night and cook it like you normally would. It will give your bird a little apple taste and people will wonder how you did it. Kathi and I did some Cornish hens Tuesday night that I had soaked in apple juice overnight then put them in our smoker. Need I say that we had no leftovers?

Of course a turkey is much bigger than a Cornish hen. Depending on how big of a bird you get, you can get large Ziplock bags. Get enough apple juice to cover the whole bird. If the bird is too big for the Ziplock bag, then get out your summertime cooler. Clean it real good on the inside. Place the bird in the cooler and pour the apple juice over the bird until it is covered under the juice. Let it set overnight. Prepare it in the morning for cooking.

To keep the bird cold over night you can place a bag or two of ice in the cooler. It will not dilute the apple juice all that much by morning.

If you do not want to go that route, then maybe you can take the apple juice and do the injection method. When you inject your turkey you want to get it in the meat and under the skin. Don't be stingy with the juice. Make sure that you get the juice into the breast meat and drumsticks.

Use some imagination. I have even had turkey injected with Jack Daniels. The alcohol cooks off and leaves a nice mellow, smoky flavor.

I know that however you decide to cook your turkey this year that you will have people talking about it. And for those of you who deep fry, please be careful and don't get burnt or start a fire.

I hope that all of you have a great Thanksgiving. And please remember our military. If you have a military vet in your family at home this Thanksgiving give him or her a big hug and thank them. Then give them the wishbone off the turkey.

So, be safe, eat lots, enjoy, and FEED YOUR FACE!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Do Something Meaningful for the Holidays (Guest Post)

Jim isn't feeling very well, so he is letting me post something on his behalf. This is Kathi, his lovely wife. Okay, I added the lovely part myself without asking him.

You know that Jim is big on wearing red on Fridays in support of our troops. We wear red because they bleed red, is their motto. He is constant in showing his support simply by doing this. In fact, if he wore pajamas, he'd wear red ones on Friday, no matter what! (Lucky for me, he doesn't wear them. TMI? Sorry)

My passion for showing support is to have adopted a deployed soldier.

Adopting a deployed soldier is my suggestion if you are someone who looks for a service project for your family or your office or your church to do at this time of the year, as many do. Or, even if you normally wouldn't have considered it, please read this and think about becoming involved? Your small effort can mean so much. Read on. . .

Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer run organization, and their motto is "May No Soldier Go Unloved."
Jim and I adopted a deployed soldier shortly after the funeral for his nephew Grant, who was wounded in the war in Afghanistan last spring.

When we adopted our soldier, there were about 750 soldiers awaiting adoption. I see that there are 1,363 at this very moment. (There is a little graphic of heroes waiting to be adopted right on the top of the Web site.)

It is so easy to adopt a soldier, and it has been our experience that it means very much to the adoptee. Because their work is so intense and so isolating, it is hard for them to even think that what they are doing means anything to us at home in the United States. We need to let them know the depth of our gratitude, let them know we are thinking of them, and that we support them in spirit.

The first time we heard from our soldier, he sent us an email. Here are just a few things he said:
"I was lucky enough to celebrate my 21st birthday with 4 rocket attacks, 2 of which hit pretty close." Think back to what you were doing on YOUR 21st birthday. My 21st birthday was a long time ago, and I have no idea how I spent it. BUT I know mine was very different than experiencing rocket attacks.

He wrote that he is looking forward to getting back home, and said: "It will be nice to be a normal 21 year old who is not getting shot at."

He closed that first email by thanking us for the letters and packages, and said, "It's nice to know that some people still think of us."

To me, that said that the soldiers think we DON'T think of them and what they are doing, and I hope that he is not right about that. Please help me to not forget them and their service.

Adopting a soldier is not a forever commitment, though Jim and I hope to be in touch with our soldier throughout his life. The "official" term of adoption is as long as the soldier is deployed, which is usually about 6 months, maybe a little less or maybe a little more, depending on the deployment.

All you need to do is send one letter a week and one care package a month. Basically, this poor kid has had to "listen" to me tell stories about my family -- even the one where my sister Kristi and I got kicked out of Woolworths for trying on wigs and making jokes about smelling mothball -- bad jokes (see the bottom of this post), and all about our dog Nugget, including photos. Still, he doesn't seem to mind!

We have sent him a variety of things, mostly of the edible or readable variety. The soldiers don't have much access to food or snack foods, so he seems to like the things we have sent, such as canned Chef Boyardee raviolis, M&M's (his favorite), and we even sent him some cookies and milk (Horizon Organics shelf-stable individual servings, white and chocolate).

It has been such fun putting the boxes together, and it is great when we get one full and out the door. Even more fun to hear when it arrives!

It's not too late to adopt a soldier for the holidays!

These men and women will be spending the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve & Day in danger and far from home and their families. Show them that we at home do think of them, and that we do care, and that what they are doing is not unappreciated or unnoticed.

And if adopting a soldier is too much of a commitment for you right now, you can still help. You could email sacorporate@soldiersangels.org and request a name for a one-time package. Do it now and it will be there in time for Christmas!

Do you have a couple more minutes? View this video about how much your support can mean to someone. Please?

There. Did you watch it? I hope so! NOW you can see that even something little can mean a lot.

(If you didn't, go ahead and do it now -- we'll wait for you to get back.)

Okay, thanks for hanging in there with me. Now I will share with you one of my favorite jokes, one I shared in one of my letters to our soldier.

Q. How do you catch a polar bear?

A. You dig a big hole in the ice. Then you take some peas and line them up all around the edge. Then you wait. And when the polar bear comes up to take a pea, you kick him in the ice hole.

I know you can do way better for YOUR soldier. Please consider adopting one now? Just visit the Soldiers' Angels Web site at http://soldiersangels.org and learn more about the organization about the variety of ways you can help.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I have had several people ask about this "Isle of Belly" thing I talk about.

Well, the Isle of Belly is still amongst us. And just like real islands, sometimes it is bigger, and some times a bit smaller. (I think it has something to do with the phases of the moon myself.)

This all started several years ago, when I got a membership to 24-Hour Fitness. The goal: to get fit and trim. Mostly, trim. Shouldn't be hard. (LOL!) I had a personal trainer and all. We would stretch, sweat, do two miles on the treadmill, sweat, hit the weights, and sweat. Cool down on the exercise bike, and sweat. I would lose a few pounds, and put on a little muscle. A little muscle. Then it was off to the locker room to change to a swim suit and hit the pool.

Now when I was much younger, I could get away with wearing a Speedo. And I was told that I looked pretty good in it. In high school, I weighed all of 145 and that was after a full summer of weight training for football. Back then, I could eat EVERYTHING. Did not matter, I could eat and I never gained a pound. It used to really tick off my friends and family.

Now, there is no way that I can wear a Speedo. They would put me under the jail. I have found out certain truths as I have gotten older. One is guys should never wear a Speedo after the age of 40, and that's pushing it even then. Let's just say that if I put one on, it disappears. It looks like less than a thong.

Sorry if that just burned itself into your brain. It's much more than what you call a muffin top. Think of the biggest mushroom you have ever seen, now see it with a toothpick-thick stem. That's as close as I can get to what I look like now in a Speedo. And a regular swim suit is not much better.

So, after changing to a swim suit, I headed for the pool. Certain truth #2: Guys even suck in their bellies while in the locker room. Go figure. As you near the pool you always take a quick look around to see who is in the pool or around it. That way, you know how much longer you have to keep sucking in your belly before you get in the pool.

Once you make it in to the pool, you can let it all out, and breathe.

So, I'm in the pool and doing some laps, glad that it is not an Olympic sized pool. And as I'm going back and forth and timing my self on my laps, I decide to roll over on my back and swim the backstroke for a lap or two -- okay, one lap.

As I was nearing the far end of the pool, I just kind of looked out of the corner of my eye and could have sworn that I was about to run into someone -- or they were about to run into me. So I stopped and stood up. There was one other person in the pool, two lanes over.

So I went back to swimming on my back. And, by god, I could swear that someone was about to run into me again! This time I did not stand up, but raised my head up a bit more. And here is this belly of mine sticking out of the water, and me thinking it was someone else!

I scared myself. It looked just like an island bobbing in the water.

Do any of you remember being able to buy those real small turtles when you were a kid? The little clear plastic bowl with the little island for the turtle to climb up on? And they gave you a little green palm tree to place on the little island? Well If I had one of those little palm trees, and shaved a path across my belly, then placed the little palm tree in my navel, tt would look just like an island.

Thus, the Isle of Belly was born, I am sorry to say. But even after this, I still spook myself in the pool every once in a while.

If I just stand in the pool in water about up to my lower chest, I can look pretty good from the chest up. But when I swim now it is like I'm dragging bottom, as well as whenever I am swimming on my back.

I have my very own Island. The Isle of Belly is still with us. It has gotten just a wee bit smaller. But I don't really mind having it. It is like I have a swim buddy with me at all times.

So that is about the "ISLE OF BELLY." Thankfully not at a theater or pool near you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I really like this one.
Get your favorite cut of steak, you need it about 1-1/2 inches thick.
You'll need (per steak):
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon lemon crystals (sour salt or citric acid)
3/4 teaspoon medium ground pepper
canola oil or vegetable oil
2 bottles of a high malt/low hops beer, like Coors Killian's Red

An hour before cooking, combine the salt, lemon crystals, and pepper.
Rub that on each steak (both sides). Then brush lightly with oil, and then with beer on both sides.
Preheat oven to broil, or heat up your grill on high.

Broiling: You want to place steaks about 6 to 9 inches from the heat. Brush steaks one more time with beer, then put them in the oven to broil.
While the steaks are cooking, baste them several times with the beer. You want to create a thin coating on the meat.
Turn the steaks and continue cooking and basting on the other side 'til the steaks are done to your liking.

Grilling: Turn down the grill to medium to medium high.
Brush the steaks again with beer before you put them on the grill.
Baste the steaks several times more with beer. Turn them over and continue basting with beer as you cook them 'til the steaks are done to your liking.

Throw in some baked taters or open up a can of your favorite veggies.
You now have a great meal. Oh yeah, the other can of beer is for the cook to have, while cooking.
Also, some beers are a natural tenderizer. (Could this be why I'm soft around the middle?)

So, there you have it. Enjoy, and FEED YOUR FACE!

Monday, November 15, 2010


"The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten."
-- Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. President


Sorry that I did not have a post up for Friday.

Veteran's day was a little tough for us, and needed some time to bounce back.

Sorry if I disappointed you all by not posting. Thank you all for being understanding and patient.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Veteran's Day

I'm sorry that this is late today. I just needed some extra time to get my thoughts together. I don't want to be putting a lot of political stuff on this blog, and this is about as political as I get here.

We are the greatest nation in the world. We have had people from all over the world come to our shores seeking a better life for themselves and their families. And they have done this for hundreds of years. Those that came over learned to speak our language and adopted this country as their own. They have given this country a vast heritage along the way. Some of their traditions we have taken as our own. These same people have fought and died for this country also. Our families over the generations have mixed and thrived.

My family has Scotch, Irish, German, and Native American. And who knows what else! We have had fathers, sons, uncles, brothers, sisters, and moms that have laid their lives on the line for us all over the generations.

Did you know that we lose at least one of the Greatest Generation a day now? How many Vets do you know from World War II? Or Korea? How about Vietnam? And now we have family and friends in Afghanistan and other parts of the world fighting for us and our way of life, for what we hold dear as Americans.

Everyone of us knows someone who has been or is in combat. We honor them just one day a year. Ask yourself, "What can I do? How can I help?"

Well, there are several things you can to today and always.

Like, if you are out having a meal and you see people in uniform eating. Walk over and thank them. Or maybe you could even pay for their meal. I and my brother-in-law have done this several times.

How about donating money to your neighborhood VFW hall?

You could maybe go to a nuring home and visit with some of the Vets there and thank them for what they have done. Go to the VA hospital and talk to some of the patients or donate some time there to help out.

How about adopting a deployed soldier? My wife and I have adopted a young airman. We send him care packages and letters to thank him and remind him that his service is appreciated and he is not forgotten. We do this through an organization called Soldiers' Angels. When we first adopted him in July, there were about 750 soldiers waiting to be adopted. Today, there are just under 1,500 -- the number has doubled. Please consider adopting so that no soldier goes unloved.

Soldiers' Angels has several other programs you can work with if you would like to do something with your time and talents. A visit to their Web site will give you a nice overview of the teams and projects.

I'm sure that if you think about it, you can think of other ways to thank our people who are in the military or who have been in the military.

How about having a Vet or soldier to your home for Thanksgiving this year?

You can wear red every Friday as an outward symbol of your support for our troops. Click to see Red Shirt Friday's Web site for information on that AND for other ways you can help. In fact, I dare you to go just to listen to the song they play there 'cause I bet you will have to cry in gratitude: Red Shirt Fridays. Why red? "They bleed red, so we wear red."

There are so many things we can do, and not just for Veteran's Day -- do it EVERY day!

These are our family members who have put their lives on the line for all of us: now and in years past. Let's not take any of them for granted.

Hug a Vet. It will put a smile on your face, and maybe a tear or two also.

I think it's worth more than that. Don't you?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Fallen Hero

Those of you who know me personally know that we lost my nephew Grant in the war in Afghanistan just last spring.

Those of you who have seen the movie Taking Chance know of Michael Strobel, the real-life Marine who volunteered to accompany Chance Phelps' body home from Iraq.

Michael has a brother, Mark, who gets together with others each year to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday and honor fallen soldiers. This year, they included Grant, and here is the email that he sent my brother-in-law Robert, Grant's dad.

Dear Mr. Wichmann,

This past weekend, a few Marines assembled to celebrate the 235th birthday of our Corps. Although our birthday is November 10th, we had to use the weekend as it provided us opportunity to gather. As I had relayed to you back in July, a part of our intimate ceremony would include a reading of the names of our fallen. It was my pleasure to deliver my small part with a remembrance of your son, Grant. The following is an excerpt from that script:

Adjutant: Captain Strobl, report.
Captain Strobl: Sergeant Grant Arthur Wichmann, United States Army
3-61 Cavalry, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, 1st Corps

Adjutant: Condition?
Capt Strobl: Deceased, sir. April 24, 2010. In the line of duty.

Adjutant: Gentlemen, to our Army brothers.

ALL: (Glasses raised) To Our Army Brothers!

Throughout our dinner, a small glass of whiskey was placed next to the cover bearing Grant’s name place. That shot glass remained full. . . it was for Grant.

Sir, please know that the burden of your son’s loss is shared by every single man and woman who ever donned the uniform of the American fighting man. It is with great reverence that I was able to continue to honor Grant –not only for the man he was but also for everything he represents. The grotesque nature of combat etches memories that, I pray, my children will never realize. But for today, the world is a better place for men like Grant who took up arms and stood between good and evil. To this, a simple ceremony is the very least we can to for our brothers-in-arms who will never have the opportunity to say “Good Night” to their family again.
May the road rise to meet you and the wind be always at your back! And on the 235th anniversary of our Corps, I wish you a very, very Happy Birthday (you’re kind of “one of us” now)!

Semper Fidelis & Carry On,
--Mark “Rawk” Strobl, Captain, USMC (’88-’97)

Tomorrow, I will share thoughts on some of the ways you can honor our country's veterans today and every day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Fall is over, it is supposed to snow some here in Denver. But I do not want fall to be over just yet. I saw some kids today. They were having a blast, running and jumping in a big pile of leaves. It looked like so much fun! When I got home, I thought that I would try being a kid again and jump in some leaves.

So I raked up a huge pile of leaves in our backyard, making sure that there was no dog poo in them. (Did that when I was smaller -- it's no fun smelling like poo.) Checked around to make sure that I wasn't being watched. And Nugget and I ran like the wind and jumped into the big pile of leaves.
OK, Nugget ran like the wind, I just kind of loped along, but I did make it to the pile of leaves.
At first it seemed fun and Nugget was having fun, but then things changed. I had leaves all over me, in my pants, down my shirt, in my socks, and in my ears. I had leaves in places that I didn't think leaves could get to. And Nugget had fun.
Then there is all that leaf dust. Up the nose, in your eyes, all over your face, in your shoes, in your pants, and it's now starting to itch. You sneeze and sneeze, and leaves are now in your mouth with all that dust. And Nugget had fun.
Now your eyes are watering and you have leaf dust streaks down your checks, and your nose is runny, and you have snorted up about 10 pounds of leaf dust. You can't seem to get your feet under you because you are sneezing so much. And now the dog is bouncing around you like he is insane. It seems that the more you sneeze, the crazier he gets. And your eyes are so watery you can't see whats in front of you. And Nugget had fun.
So you finally get your footing, stand up, and take your leaf-dusted hand and wipe your nose, and try to wipe your eyes, thinking that maybe you should have wiped your eyes first, before wiping your nose. And you are covered with leaves, and dust, and dog slobber, and your nose now seems to be like a waterfall. And you sneeze more and bite your tongun in the process. And Nugget had fun.
I staggered to the back door, and took the broom and brushed myself off the best I could, while sneezing my head off. So here I am, swollen tongue, snotty nose, watery eyes, covered in leaf dust, and I have bits of leaves stuck in my ears, and I now think that I may have swallowed a leaf or two also. Now the itch is worse, and it is in places that I can't reach. And Nugget had fun.

I now need to take a bath to get all of this dust, and snot, and leaves off of me. And it gets me to wondering: When I was a little kid, did all of this take place also? Am I just too old to remember? I don't know.
I took a bath, cleaned up, used some eye drops, blew my nose for the hundredth time, and took a look at my bitten tougne, which wasn't quite as bad as I thought. And that dog is still out there in the pile of leaves.
I have found out that I may be a little to old for this sport now, but it brought back some fond memories.
I remember jumping in lots of piles of leaves as a child, and it was lots of fun. My Dad would even cover us up with them. We could play for hours in those piles of leaves, until there was nothing left of the leaves except little pieces. How much harder those little pieces are to rake up and put in bags! But back when I was a kid, we used to burn the leaves, and I loved the smell.
We had a dog back then, named Tippy, and we all had fun.

Monday, November 8, 2010

DID YOU KNOW: Julesburg, Colorado?

Did you know that the town of Julesburg, in Colorado, moved four times before it decided to stay put?

The town started in 1859. It was attacked by indians in 1865 (Sioux, Arapaho, and Cheyenne) and burned to the ground. The townspeople stayed in Fort Sedgwick for a time. (The fort was called Fort Rankin before they changed it to Sedgwick.) A second Julesburg was built about four miles east of the Fort.

A town plat was filed in 1866. In 1867, the Union Pacific Railroad came into Colorado. They set up a railhead just North of the South Platte River.

So, the residents of Julesburg number 2 packed up the whole town, and moved to the new railhead, forming Julesburg number 3. After the battle of Summit Springs in 1869, the indians quit causing problems in the area, so Fort Sedgwick was declared surplus and closed permanently.

In 1880, the Union Pacfic started a cut off to Denver. It follows the South Platte River diagonally towards the town of LaSalle, where it joins up with Union Pacific's main line out of Cheyenne. The new cut off to Denver was a few miles east of Julesburg number 3. The Union Pacific named the north end of this new cut off "Denver Junction."

When the new line was finished, the townspeople of Julesburg knew that Denver Junction was to be the main town in the region.

So they packed up once again, took over Denver Junction, and renamed it Julesburg. And that is where they are today. And so, as far as we know, they have not decided to move again

So there you have it. And now you know.


"If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it"
-- Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize-winning American author

Friday, November 5, 2010

TURKEY DAY: What to do?

Turkey day is coming up and I can't figure out what to make as far as meat to eat. (Hey, that rhymed.) Just about everyone does a gobbler. Some do ham. And some even do some type of game meat.

So, should I maybe put on my baking shoes and do a Dutch Oven Cobbler to go along with the gobbler? Or bake up some biscuits or a loaf of sourdough bread? (I need to see if my sour dough starter is alive or has turned into a science project.)

Maybe I could be in charge of refreshments. Or just bring the ice. Hmmm? How about homemade ice cream? Or buy some frozen strawberries and some of them little yellow cake thingies. Maybe a brick of cheese and some crackers to go with it. I could bring some chips and some dips. How about a party tray? Or one of them huge sub sandwiches.

Boy howdie, at least I have some time to come up with something. I know! Candy! Everyone likes candy. We have pounds of it left over from Halloween and it would be better for my waistline if I get it out of the house. Then again, let's not be too hasty.

I'll think about it for a while and have just a little bit of candy. It helps me think.

How many days left before Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

FEED YOUR FACE: Fried Bologna Sandwich, a little different

OK, everyone has had a fried bologna sandwich. (And if you have not, well try one anyway.)

First off, toast 4 -6 slices of bread.

Before you heat up the frying pan, you need to make the spread for the bread.

You need:
1/4 cup brown sugar.
1/2 cup mustard, your choice. (I like just plain yellow mustard)
Mix together, and spread it on the toasted bread.

NOW, you can fry up the bologna. Careful, don't burn it.

Make your sandwich like a stack or a decker sandwich.

One of these puppies, a handful of chips, and maybe a cold beer.

And you're in bologna heaven.

So feed your face, and enjoy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Don't you just hate it when people forward bogus warnings?

But I can tell you, this one is real.

And it's important, so please do not laugh. Be sure to send this to everyone you know.

If someone comes to your front door saying they are conducting a survey on deer ticks and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up DO NOT DO IT!!! IT IS A SCAM! They only want to see you naked.

I wish I'd of gotten this yesterday. I feel so stupid now.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

HALLOWEEN: What happened?!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween. Halloween at our house was pretty quiet; we only had 10 trick-o-treater's. Whats up with that? Where did they all go? Doesn't seem like the halloweens of years gone by.

When I was a kid, and that was a long time ago, we would hit as many houses as we could, go home, unload all they we got, save what we liked, then put the candy we didn't like in the candy bowl to be handed back out. (I wonder how much candy was recycled that way by all the kids.)

We did not have one of them plastic pumpkins for putting our candy in. We used a big paper grocery bag. That way we didn't have to go home all that often to unload. We would hit street after street, house after house, and compare notes with others to see who was giving out the best candy. Then we would hit that house more than once. We would go there about every 45 minutes or so. Seemed like they never caught on or asked questions, and we hardly ever had to do a trick.

Course there was always this one old guy and his wife. She was really sweet, and he always came across as a grouch. You know, holler if you set foot in his yard or cut the corner on your bike when you crossed his yard. She gave out the best stuff.
One year she gave out homemade cookies. (God help you if you do that now!) Another year she gave out candied apples. (Again, God help you if you did that now.) Then after the scare about razor blades in apples she gave out chocolate. LOTS of chocolate. She didn't just give you one piece, she gave it out by the handful. Course thinking about it now, she had pretty small hands.

If it snowed you would really have to watch your grocery bag. Drag it along as the snow piled up along the sidewalk, and you left a trail of candy behind you. Then the big kids would just walk behind you and pick up whatever fell from your bag. I always wanted to wrap up some ExLax and let it fall from my bag for the big kids.
But after I got a bit older, I was one of those big kids, following the littler ones to see what fell from thier wet grocery bags. I sure am glad that I didn't follow through with the ExLax thing. After a few years, you know how some ideas come back and bite you in the butt. (No pun intended.) That would of been one of them.

I heard the other night on the news that we have had snow on only 10 Halloweens over the years. I think they are wrong. It seemed like it always snowed just before, or on, Halloween night. I think their records are off or something.

And what happened to people decorating their houses? Seemed like everyone had some sort of stuff up for Halloween. There was an over abundance of Jack-o-lanterns all over the place. You knew because you would see about half of them in the street the next morning, and the other half were in the trash by the end of the week. Or you could ride your bike around the neighborhood a few days after Halloween and you could smell the pumpkin pies baking.
Yep, kids now days just don't know what they are missing. Running from house to house, running from the big kids who want your candy, playing pranks on friends and family, having the adults scare the crap out of you. (Ever have your Dad jump out of a bush in your front yard at you?!) Just being with your friends and going from house to house, and everyone really did look out for your well being.
How about some of them haunted houses we used to go to? I remember the Campus Life kids used to put on a real mean haunted house. I had the ripped t-shirt and scratches to prove it.
Yep, Halloween sure has changed. Too bad that things are the way they are now days. But I'm sure that the kids have just as much fun as we did. Things do seem to be much safer now also. They have malls and such to go to. And I have thought about this a great deal. . . they get a lot more candy now. How many stores are there at the mall -- like about 100 or so? Man, that's a lot of candy.
So I hope that maybe your Halloween was on the quiet side. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. But it would be nice to have a good scare once in a while, don't you think?
Now I have to figure out how to get through all of this candy, with out expanding the Isle of Belly. (That's a scary story in itself.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Quote of the Week

" Leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it. "
-- John Naisbitt, American author and puplic speaker