UP BEAR CREEK | Honoring Ed Quillen & Attending the Quivira Coalition meet in Albuquerque
by Art Goodtimes
Nov 16, 2013 | 2371 views | 0 0 comments | 73 73 recommendations | email to a friend | print

ON THE ROAD … I’m honored to have been invited to be a reader of one of Ed Quillen’s columns at a memorial for him at the CU campus in Boulder on Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in Bensen Hall (180) – sponsored by the Center of the American West … Ed, his wife Martha, Randy Russell and several of us Headwaters elders attended that iconic conference at the newly named Western Colorado State University in Gunnison for many years. The best times were always afterwards at the Cattleman’s Bar (which burned down years ago now) or in Ed or Randy’s hotel room where the tobacco smoke was thick, the repartee brilliant and the ideas captivating … Ed passed away last year, to everyone’s sadness. But it will be nice to have a statewide honoring of him. His columns from the Denver Post made a lasting impression on everyone who read them … One of my fellow readers will be Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs, who is also a poet. But in addition, Greg and I attended the same seminary in California 40 some years ago, and now we’re both involved in Colorado politics … Although Courtney White of the Quivira Coalition had to cancel his Telluride visit last month, he has promised to come back. His group is very interested in how we might sequester carbon on local ranch and farm properties and off-set our carbon footprint in this county and all around the west. To that end I’ll be monitoring the conference and learning lots from ranchers and environmentalists in attendance … An added plus – my poetry hero Gary Snyder will be doing a reading to kick the conference off. Some of us are hoping to get Gary to come to the Headwaters conference in Gunnison next fall, and maybe even to Mountainfilm this spring. I’d always hoped we could get him to the San Juan Mountains one day, and maybe this next year will be the time … My poet friend Bill Nevins has set up a reading for me and Maria Gallegos at the South Broadway Cultural Center as part of a night of films and poetry on Thursday, Nov. 14at 7 p.m. in Albuquerque. Bill lost his son Liam in Afghanistan shortly before he was supposed to return stateside after a Colorado National Guard tour of duty just a month or so ago. Hard not to grieve in losing a son to war … I’m also hoping to touch bases with many of my New Mexico friends, as well as learn about how ranchers and environmentalists can work together to better the economics of ranching and increase the health of the environment.


SNAKES … The latest issue of The Week’s Health and Science section draws an interesting conclusion from new biological research that suggests the reason for humans’ great eyesight was to protect them from predators like snakes – which don’t move much and require great concentration and visual acuity to avoid. Apparently primates that evolved in areas without poisonous snakes, such as the lemurs of Madagascar, have the poorest eyesight in the primate world.


MULTI-TASKING … Many of us think we’re good at this, such as texting while driving, but in reality we usually aren’t. But new British studies suggest that women excel at multiple tasks done simultaneously, more so than their male counterparts. According to University of Hertfordshire’s psychologist Keith Laws, the study found that “in a stressed and complex situation, women are more able to stop and think about what’s going on in front of them.”


NICK THEOS … What an old-time character this good man was. Oh, he wasn’t universally liked. He’d shot an eagle protecting his sheep and that drew the ire of many environmentalists. He served in the legislature, and was a very conservative voice. And he made some very outrageous statements and took some really horrible positions … But in spite of all that, I grew very fond of this Greek immigrant while serving in Club 20 for 10 years. In fact, I shared the Johnson-Theos Bridge Builder Award with T Wright Dickinson back in the day – a recognition of a conservative and a liberal working together on issues … But, in the end, I got maneuvered out of leadership by Kathy Hall and the Oil & Gas interests, and decided that the group wasn’t really representing San Miguel County’s positions. So, our county, San Juan County and several others left the table … But I missed not seeing Nick. He was rough-hewn, tough as nails, but had a sweet sweet heart … Nick graduated from Grand Junction High School where his proudest accomplishment was being a member of the State Champion Football team in 1936 that was never scored upon. He then attended Colorado A&M on a football scholarship in 1938 … He spent his lifetime operating his sheep ranch and working to protect the livestock industry. He served as a leader in many capacities throughout his lifetime – president of the Colorado Woolgrowers and the National Public Lands Council; director for the National and Colorado Public Lands Council; chairman of the Colorado Cattlemen Public Lands Committee, BLM Liaison Committee, National Woolgrowers Land Use Committee, and Governor’s Predator Advisory Council amongst many others. All committees he served on were directly related to his true passion, the livestock industry. Nick was also very passionate about politics and as his obituary noted, “as strong of a Republican as you can find in the world.” … He passed away this past spring, but I just learned about it. And couldn’t let his passing go unnoticed, even from a tree-hugger like myself.


RADIOACTIVE … I love listening to First Voice Indigenous Radio and host Tiokasin Ghosthorse on KVNF … Another great Native American show is Undercurrents radio with host Gregg McVicar. And in lucky Norwood, I get to hear that on both KOTO and KVNF.




After Reading

a Biography of Otto Mears


Savvy little Russian Jew

who knew how to

get things done


& did things

Big things, back

pocket & front


Hero. Villain

Pathfinder. Lobbyist

who bribed, bought


& sold, never

failing to find the sweet

spot for himself


Colorful if crooked

A man of his times

who took what he could


Even as his moral

compass swung wide

of the future’s mark

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