ADIEU, MON FRERE … Jim Davidson and I had the great fortune back in 1986 to have Peter join us when we took on Telluride’s established Times with a flashy upstart, the San Miguel Journal. “An Uncompahgre Muse” quickly became a reader favorite. Who didn’t love the understated way Peter’s sinuous prose poles never disrupted the elegant flow of his story skis? How his insights seemed to carve thrilling turns & dazzle like first light on a Fourteener’s alabaster crust … I applauded when he relinquished the Ouray County Watch’s editor/reporter job a few weeks ago. I thought Seth had been wise to question Peter initially. Telluride reporters are like lift operators. We go through ‘em fast … I couldn’t imagine going back to journalism’s daily deadline grind in one’s sixties, and shouldering the responsibility for reporting a community’s news and views fairly, especially in a fractious democracy like ours. Nevertheless, I had to admire the good job Peter did for three years … But this week he’s doing more than giving up reporting. He’s shutting down his weekly column, “A View to the West.” And that’s a cause for local mourning … My own column, “Up Bear Creek,” started back in the early 80s in the Telluride Times, where I graduated (rather precipitously) from cub reporter to Ass. Ed. (the main editor had quit) … Hopping aboard Davidson’s risky venture in 86, I became managing editor at the San Miguel Journal. Peter and I continued as op-ed writers through the Telluride Mountain Journal, the Telluride Times-Journal, the Telluride Daily Planet and now the Watch … Peter had jumped into journalism as a local reporter before me. Had come to town earlier. He was already part of the New Old Guard, post Slate (74). And he was a FilmFest and MtnFilm favorite in the festivals that had brought me to town. But we both pursued careers being local commentators. And his was the column I read first, religiously, each week … Like I do anything by Rob Schultheis, another brilliant provocateur, skewer of doubletalk, bon vivant of the outrageous, who preceded us both in Telluride, and has always been part of the honored New Old Guard for me – one of the core constituencies of the current board of commissioners … Maybe Peter will reconsider and start doing occasional columns like Rob. His gracious style of essaying reads like a Mercedes purrs. Who hasn’t enjoyed regular shots of Shelton’s California-borne heresy and satire, take and double take?
OOPSES … FilmFest was five days this year, as Seth noted, not four, as I stated. My bad … It took our eagle-eyed Shroomfest physician-in-residence, Dr. Joel Kaufman of Alamosa, to catch my other slip-up two weeks ago. I was trying to reference Buñuel’s brilliant film, The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie. But in my inchoate poet’s mind, I conflated that title with a book of poetry by Hilton Obenzinger, my Stanford buddy and one-time fellow preschool assistant to Michael McClure’s wife (and a poet in her own right), Joanna McClure – The Day of the Exquisite Poet Is Kaput … Either way, conflated or corrected, I think the sentence worked okay two weeks ago, but it was nice for someone to read my column close enough to notice the mistake.
NUPTIALS … My partner in politics, Wally White, one of a trio of Western Slope liberals that Gov. Ritter named the “Ponytail Caucus,” got knocked out of office by term limits down in La Plata County last year. And so what does an old hippie outlaw Boss Daddy do when he retires at 60? He gets married … To a lovely Durango woman, Laura Godfrey, whose attending cousin (as serendipity dictates) was the CSU grad student whom Dr. Joshua Goldstein got to co-write my Fellowship Paper on San Miguel County’s Payment for Ecosystem Services project -- Shayna Brause … Wedding and reception were at the Community Center in Silverton … See the Talking Gourd this week.
YELP … Got to take a road trip two weeks ago with my two sons, Rio (26) and Gorio (15), up to Walla Walla to support my daughter Sara (18) entering Whitman College. What a treat. Especially as Gorio had just got his driving permit, and was eager to take the wheel. It meant I got to relax, write, read, catch up on emails on the long journey – something I haven’t been able to do for the last 40 years of road trips. Seems like I’ve been the primary driver for all our various permutations of family … The boys and I camped out in forests along the way, once we’d escaped the downpours of the San Juans (welcome as they have been) … Of course, road trips mean eating out a lot. And that’s usually a hit and miss proposition. You can find some great meals in places, and a lot of not so great … But with smart phones, that’s all changed. Rio checked his Yelp app and found us some amazing eateries. Here’s a few.
TWIN FALLS (ID) … High Country Bakehouse on South Main Avenue … Delicious food, great service, very reasonably priced, gluten-free bread, and great java in the adjoining coffeehouse … Highly recommended.
BOISE (ID) … Shangri-La Tea Room & Vegetarian Restaurant on Overland Road … The Mango Bubble Tea was to die for … The boys shared a veggie burger they both pronounced delicious… Huge choice of teas, great service, peaceful ambiance, lovely décor … Highly recommended.
WALLA WALLA (WA) … Clarette’s Restaurant on Touchet Street is THE place for a Whitman College breakfast. Great food (best bacon I’ve had in years). Real spuds. Terrific service … Highly recommended.
PRICE (UT) … This time I did the yelping, but not on any machine … Bless me, Father Organico, for I have sinned. I was outvoted. We were in a hurry. I wasn’t very hungry. We ate at McDonald’s. The chicken wrap was awful … Four Hail Marys and a novena … Never recommended.
THE TALKING GOURD
- for W&L
Finding someone you can
live with through thick
& slim, sour & sweet
ain’t no easy street
all mixed up as most
moving around on
a gypsy beat quest for
the moment’s snug harbor
Laura & Wally have
found their home
It’s where the heart
is & today they’ve
twined their two hearts into
one basket – blessed be!