MOUNTAIN VIEW … For me this trip to the Golden State was the last of the three imperatives that have controlled my life this year … The first was attending to my dad. I’d promised myself and him that I would step in to take care of him when he no longer could live alone. And I did that, traveling out to his home in this small (by California standards) Santa Clara County town three times – the third time to stay for three months providing home hospice care, until Vincenzo passed … The second was coming back to San Miguel County to run for re-election. I jumped into the fray a little late, and came out of that three-month effort a winner, thanks to a plurality of constituents who felt I’d done a good job, and a fourth term made sense … And no sooner was the campaign over than I had to head back out to California a fourth time to retrieve my dad’s things, which had been moved to a storage locker, and to harvest my 49 varieties of potatoes. As well as visit with my brother, Doug, who was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer … I drove out in my little red Honda Civic on Highway 50 (stopping, as always, at Spencer Hot Springs), dug up the spuds (some of which did well in California’s balmy climate and some which did not), and then hired a Penske rental truck to load up the last of Dad’s things that I’d elected to keep. It was three days of hard work, three visits with Doug and one day of visiting friends, which included a performance by a sem buddy (Kerry Yates) and his band at the old Recreation Center for the Handicapped (renamed the Janet Pomeroy Center) where I’d done most of my work driving a bus as a Conscientious Objector in 1969-70 … That déjà vu was followed by a drive over to the East Bay to have dinner with Shawn Dubin, another dear friend. We decided on Kerry’s whim to have dinner at a small little Thai place he knew nearby, and walking in the door who should scream out my name but another dear friend and performance poet companion, Judyth Hill of New Mexico, who happened to be having dinner there with Anusara Yoga instructor Madhuri Martin (Hill and Martin have been giving poetry and yoga workshops all over the West lately). Well, we disrupted the quiet ambience of the café with our hugs and greetings and introductions, standing and talking rather boisterously (Judyth and I both tend to the louder end of the volume spectrum). Luckily the gentle owners did not remonstrate us, and the other diners didn’t seem to mind us. And so that was a wildly wonderful moment … The next day was all packing the 16-foot rental truck (including four garbage cans full of soil – fine mycorhizal dirt that I’d bought to bed the spuds in Dad’s backyard) and loading the car on the trailer, whose jack lift busted just as we were ready to go. I’d chosen Penske over U-Haul because of reports of their dedicated service. And I wasn’t disappointed … An emergency service truck was on the scene in 20 minutes and John of TriValley (a contract provider for Penske) worked and hammered for a half-hour trying to fix a defective part (beyond the call of duty, I thought), and eventually just removed the jack and got me on the road – I was very impressed … Traveling with a big truck and trailer precluded taking windy Highway 50, so I took Interstate 80 – sleeping in my trailered car at the Nightingale Hot Springs exit. Actually, the exit accesses the Nightingale Mining District some 20 miles north of the hot springs, which are actually Brady’s Hot Springs – currently developed as a geothermal power station and dehydration plant. The fumaroles spouting high in the cold morning air were a sight to behold … Leaving California this time, moving the last of my dad’s few belongings (my inheritance) out to Colorado, it really felt like I was making a permanent choice of Colorado as my home. And, sad as it was to leave the state of my birth, I also was delighted to be returning to an area (at least our part of the state) where having to tool along Highway 145 in a long chain of cars and trucks was the closest we usually get to a traffic jam. Amen.
BEN WILLIAMS … I really wanted to acknowledge Ben for the great job he did as campaign manager. Getting a slow start due to my dad’s death, it was hard at times to get fully engaged in the campaign for re-election. Ben’s enthusiasm, encouragement and hard work energized me and got us going. And his wonderful website www.moregoodtimes.net provided a paperless intro for new folks who needed to know who I was and what I had done in the past three terms … I owe a huge debt of thanks to the very impressive and talented Ben Williams.
JEANIE CRAIG … Ah, it was so sad to hear of this good woman’s passing. For years, in Norwood, we had a little game we played (you know how it is, there are certain people you get something going with and it becomes a wonderful game) … I’m not even sure how it started, but both of us being a bit on the old side these days, every time I’d see her I’d say, “Hello, beautiful!” And she’d respond with a “Hiya, handsome!” It brought smiles to both of us … I’m going to miss that little game, and Jeanie. May she rest in peace.
ED MARSTON … Oh, and I forgot another disappointment this election. I was really hoping that the former High Country News publisher would have a shot at county commissioner, after serving for many years on the Delta-Montrose Electric Association board. Not so. He lost a race for Delta County Commissioner. In fact, not one Democrat won in Delta County, a Republican stronghold. Even U.S. Rep. John Salazar only got 45 percent of the vote there … Marston, subject to a number of smear attacks (that he was against guns, although he owns a concealed weapon permit, and that he supported Mexican pedophiles moving into the country), lost two-to-one to incumbent Olen Lund.
THE TALKING GOURD
Trouble is, in deer country
going the speed limit’s
too fast at night.