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The Reading Room
Pg 5 - The Sunshine Express
2012 December/January
Positively Karen
After Christmas the tree minus paper chains stood
Homespun Christmas
outside providing food and shelter for the small
A touch of Christmas came through our town this
winter birds.
day. Because of snow on Lizzard Head Pass, the
That winter was difficult for the elk and deer.
Nation's Christmas tree travelled highway 141
Many died. Game and fish brought bags of alfalfa
through Gateway, Colorado. The convoy stopped
pellets to us every Friday. Husband and daugh-
here for a break in its journey. School children
ters would pull the pellets up the mountain in the
were invited to sign their names on the trailer car-
childrens' sleds to feed the elk and deer herds win-
rying the 75 ft. tree. Pictures were taken, teachers
tering near the ranch house. Young son kept the
"San Juan Horsehoe," to boot!) Even better, "The
and staff visited with former Senator Ben Nigh-
cottontails in the yard provided with carrots and
Sunshine Express" is online...
thorse Campbell. He is traveling to Washington
lettuce leaves. The wood stove in the living-room
"Calling all angels," indeed... I found the first
with the tree. A great time was had by all.
consumed countless cords of wood.
edition I ever read last December, when I needed
Reflecting on past Christmases, several stand out
Many times the following spring, I waited to hang
that message the most... and the feather validated
in my memory. But, there was one in particular.
out the wash, so not to disturb the multitude of
much, too.
We were living twenty five miles south of Gun-
deer feasting on new emerald shoots of grass under
Happy Thanksgiving, and more blessings for this
nison, CO on the Cochetopa. By the first week in
the clothes line! Early summer streams ran bank
holiday. Sincerely, Cheryl
December that year the mercury at night dipped
full. The Cochetopa River rushed down the canyon
(SX: Thank You Cheryl! Merry Christmas!)
to -55 degrees, daytime it rose to -25 degrees, and
roaring, "let me out of here!" Bear tracks appeared
that was in the sun!
in the lane, coyotes sang all night long, the mead-
A Modern Girl
The snow had begun falling in November and
ows were a blaze of color (blues, reds, oranges &
As a cute little girl climbed onto Santa's lap, Santa
was several feet in depth by mid December. The
yellows} and ten thousand butterflies; a celebration
asked the usual question, "And what would you
below average temps had frozen the snow so
of life after a long hard winter.
like for Christmas little one?"
firmly it was impermeable . We walked across it
It was an incredible time.
The child stared at him open mouthed and horri-
as if strolling over solid rock. Came the Sunday,
Wishing you all a Christmas filled with memories
fied for a minute, then loudly gasped:
the family, bundled in an array of warm attire,
full of happiness and a Blessed New Year! -K
"Didn't you get my E-mail?"
made the trek to field's end in search of THE
(Karen Schafer lives in and writes from Gateway)
TREE. What a splendid one it was that gave it's
Letters
life to grace the living-room in our time honored
Thank you!
log home.
I am beyond thrilled with your publication! In
The days following found the children stringing
1999, I was part of the founding production team,
strand after strand of popcorn, cranberries, and of
and a featured columnist, of the "Crested Butte
course, chains of brightly colored paper to deco-
Weekly", a seasonal features and entertainment/
rate the tree. The girls helped plan Christmas din-
special events activity guide/calendar. It was pretty
ner for the many guests coming from town. They
much 99% of what you have in this incredible
baked and decorated a multitude of butter cook-
paper. (Two years ago, the "Weekly" was sold and
ies. But, their specialty was the home churned, or
integrated with the "Crested Butte News.")
should I say home shaken "butter" for the dinner
Point is, you have picked up the baton, and even
rolls. A family residing another ten miles or so
BETTER!, because you cover such a broad terri-
up Cochetopa Pass had some dairy cows. Once
tory. We had such a great following. I miss it so
a week a family member going to town to work,
much. I now literally carry copies of "The Sunshine
would leave two gallon jars of fresh milk in a
Express" around and hand them out, leave them
snow bank at the end of our lane. Pulling young
around (old habits die hard!) and point them out.
son in a red plastic sled, I'd walk to the lane's end
People ARE "reading' and appreciating you!"
and retrieve the milk. There was always several
Thank you for helping my heart sing again. This
inches of cream on the top. Everyone took turns
publication fills such a wonderful VOID. (And hey,
that evening shaking the cream in a glass quart
we still have Kevin Haley's, only quarterly now,
jar, until the fridge held several rounds of butter.
Winston Davis -
Poet Photographer