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Regrouping in Winter

Blue Goose

The Blue Goose - a favorite neon sign cowboys would try to ride back in the Yellowstone glory days

January has always been a time for me to clean out my desk and my brain as I turn the calendar and make plans for a new year. How timely that the Denver Woman’s Press Club invited Cynthia Morris to coach a group of us through the process of focusing on plans and writing notes to hold ourselves accountable for ideas which will make 2012 Our Best Writing Year Ever. The regrouping, re-evaluating, and re-purposing continues as the calendar begins to fill, and I begin to feel the creative juices flowing once again. Watch for magazine articles, presentations, and inclusion in a history compilation coming up very soon.

In the meantime, the search for fun continues during my quest for ways to reach out and touch Western history. The Western National Stock Show provided a step back into cowboy and cowgirl culture and an up close visit with some of the most beautiful livestock around. It was the perfect time to duck into Denver’s Buckhorn Exchange, established in 1893, for a truly decadent meal and a cold beer. Our heads swiveled to take in all of the artifacts surrounding us from the days when Buffalo Bill elbowed his way to the bar, which, by the way, boasts the #1 liquor license in Colorado. Vegetarians be warned. Animal heads of all sorts cover the walls, gazing with glassy eyes upon diners enjoying carnivorous delicacies from the menu. The third element of historic fun in the dead of Colorado winter can be found at the annual Post Card Show at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. The search is on for new images for future projects and re-purposed old ones, specifically an e-book from my original self-published book, A Yellowstone Savage. As my mental batteries recharge, everything is reevaluated. Useless baggage be gone as I move forward unencumbered with a new outlook and a clean(er) desk.

Joyce B. Lohse, 1/20/12
http://www.LohseWorks.com

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Indoor Activities

Minnehaha FallsI’ve always enjoyed January for its fresh start after the holidays, and its sunny crisp weather punctuated by occasional sparkling powdery snow swirling around at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. It is also a good time to enjoy indoor diversions and activities. I don’t know what you might be thinking, but here are some of my favorite January activities.

The Post Card Club had a sale and show this month. My pal Christie and I attended and scored big time. While my friend wheeled and dealed for some historic documents, I found a post card that looked suspiciously like an image by pioneer viewist William E. Hook, although it was not identified as such. Sure enough, when I got home, I was able to match it to an identical image by Hook. It will be a perfect addition to my Pikes Peak History Symposium presentation in June, along with some cabinet cards I purchased. Anxious to learn new information. I quickly discovered that Victorian cabinet cards are original photos mounted on stiff cardboard, about 6″x8″ in size. They can be seen from across the room when propped up on a cabinet, thus the name, cabinet cards.

A few days ago, I was a presenter on a panel about organizing research material at the Columbine Genealogical and Historical Society. I serve on the board of directors, which is a great way to return some support for all they’ve done for me. I learn as much as the audience from participating on such a panel.

Another way to enjoy Western History during the winter months is to visit the library. Not only can you pick up a book about your favorite western subject, (biographies by Joyce Lohse are very good,) but don’t forget to check the video section. We recently watched The Searchers, starring John Wayne, sometimes considered The Duke’s best work. It is certainly a fine production by John Ford, in which the scenery becomes an important element of the film. We passed through Monument Valley, Utah on the way to Arizona a few months back, where this, and many other westerns were filmed. The magnificently stunning landscape has lured many Midwesterners such as ourselves to turn our backs on the cornfield landscape of the heartland and adopt the west as our home.

For viewing this movie on a chilly winter evening, may I suggest pairing it with wine and pizza. Any Oregon pinot noir and Big Bill’s pizza works for me!

Joyce B. Lohse, 1/20/11
http://www.LohseWorks.com

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Western history, Western Travel

 

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