Monday, March 30, 2009

The Great Blizzard of '09

I imagine most of you heard about the blizzard Denver had last week. Char and I survived it okay. It was a heavy, wet snow with strong winds that created large drifts.

While the sky is blue in this picture, the wind was blowing between 50 and 60 MPH making visibility difficult. If you had to venture out it was best to go in a group for safety purposes.

Here Char is standing defiantly on top one of the drifts. A little drift is not going to stop her.
Road conditions deteriorated quickly and most streets were impassable within hours. Fortunately, a lot of businesses and schools shut down early. Even so, a 30-minute drive took about two hours.

I have to admit I was happy with the way the van performed. We didn’t slip once.

Okay, now the truth. Char and I were out of town during the blizzard. We were at White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo, New Mexico. That’s where all the pictures above were taken. The sand is a brilliant white and looks so much like snow you think you should be cold. Daytime temperatures ranged from 50 to the mid 70’s. The wind did blow and with a cold front approaching it felt was rather cool. The coats stopped the wind and almost prevented you getting sand where you didn’t want it.

While Denver was having the blizzard, Char and I were walking on the sand. Char did tell me a few times that I shouldn’t look at the outside temperature gauge, laugh, and say, “So, I wonder how everyone is doing in Denver?”

I'll write about the rest of the trip in another post.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunday Funnies

While giving the children's sermon, the pastor asked the kids, "What is gray, has a bushy tail, and gathers nuts in the fall?"

A five-year-old raised his hand. "I know the answer should be Jesus," he began, "but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Most of you probably know Cliff and Marilyn were in town this past weekend. Char and I had a great time with those two – we always do. A lot of fun, a lot of laughs, a lot of good food. As an added bonus, Cliff and I solved many world problems.

After two days, Cliff gets antsy. He’s not use to looking out the window and seeing houses much less people. On top of that, he has a condition that causes him to go weak in the knees if he walks on to much concrete. So, given his ‘condition’, their stay was about the right amount of time for Cliff. The rest of us could have used a few more days or . . . weeks.

They are great, great friends. The type of friends who would give you the shirt off their back. In fact, Cliff tried. After they left we found the shirt in the guest room. We boxed it up and mailed it back to him.

Thanks for the visit.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Raising Ralph - Slow Motion

(CORRECTION MADE: “You almost got it right” no man likes to hear those words. But, Char had a different recollection of what her mother was doing. She most likely is right, plus . . . it makes a better story.)

Shortly after SOR (Son of Ralph) was born, Char and I loaded up the car and went to visit her parents. SOR was their first grand child so visits were always welcome.

SOR was asleep when we got to their house so we put him on their bed, surrounded him with pillows so he wouldn’t roll off, and covered him with his baby blanket. SOR was sleeping soundly.

The visit was good but after awhile it was time to leave. The problem was SOR had slept through the whole thing and the grandparents had not gotten to see or hold him. Being a good son-in-law, I went to wake him up. That’s when I had a moment of brilliance.

I took the blanket off SOR and wrapped it around a pillow. When I walked back into the living room Char’s mom was on the phone with her sister, that’s when I “tripped” and flung the blanket across the room.

Have you seen those movies where events are played out in slow motion? It happens in real life as well. Char’s mom dropped the receiver and it slowly headed towards the floor. She then slowly pushed herself out of the chair and a long muffled “N o o o o o o o . . .” was coming out of her mouth. In reality, I had never seen the old gal move that fast. She had quite the spring in her step. To her credit, she almost caught the “little bundle of joy” before it crashed to the floor.

Char’s mom, now nicknamed ‘Speedy’, swept the bundle off the floor, rolled back the blanket and saw the pillow. Her eyes were sending daggers my way at the exact same time I was having second thoughts about my little joke. I also discovered the extent of her vocabulary, which I’ll admit was impressive.

While I have chuckled about this for over twenty years, I don’t recall Char’s mom ever seeing the humor in it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Cup Cakes and Punch

Walking towards the building where the meeting was to held I was having doubts. I wasn’t having doubts about the meeting but rather about a saying I had heard. The saying was, ‘Meetings a practical alternative to work.’ For the most part, I believe that, but this was going to be a hard meeting. Just then my cell phone rang, it was Cliff, the call went like this:

Cliff: Ralph, Cliff here.
Ralph: Say, can I call you back in a few minutes? I’m going into a meeting and I really don’t want to be a good mood.
Cliff (chuckling a little): Yeah, Ralph, that will be fine.

A few things needed to be cleared up. The minor one was the fact that over the last few months many meetings had turned into social events. Things like discussing weekend events, catching up the kids and spouses, etc. Well, in my world (limited as it is) meetings are not social events. I walked in, laid my notebook down, and said, “In the interest of time I am going to assume you all had a good evening, so far your today is going okay, and the very fact you’re here indicates you found the building all right. The meeting room has been reserved for an hour and a half but this meeting will only last fifteen minutes.”

When I looked up several people were grinning but all the social butterflies looked like I had just licked the frosting off the cup cakes. The minor point was made.

The major one was not as easy. When I was done addressing it, I closed by saying, “I’m not going to open it up for discussion because there is nothing to discuss.” Now, glancing around the table everyone looked as if they caught me peeing in the punch bowl.

Walking outside alone, I knew I was being spoken of with great fondness back in the meeting room. Not everything in life is a popularity contest.

But, I also realized how good the sunshine felt and, laughing to myself, how I needed to put Cliff on speed dial.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sunday Funnies

The preacher just finished his sermon and proceeded toward the back of the church for his usual greetings and handshaking as the congregation left the church. After shaking hands with a few adults, he came to a seven year old.

"Good morning, Jonathan," the preacher said as he reached out to shake Jonathan’s hand.

As he was doing so, he felt something in the palm of Jonathan's hand. "What's this?" the preacher asked.

"Money," said Jonathan with a big smile on his face, "It's for you!"

"I don't want your money, Jonathan," the preacher answered.

"I want you to have it," said Jonathan. "My daddy says you're the poorest preacher we ever had."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Promise Kept

During the political campaign, there were many promises and slogans floating around. One we heard repeatedly, at least here in Colorado was, “the time for change is now’. This promise has been kept.

The way this administration is handing out money it won’t be long until the pay checks of hard working, tax paying Americans will consist of just that . . . change.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The Passing of Words

Colorado had two major newspapers until last week. Last Friday, fifty-five days from its 150th anniversary, the Rocky Mountain News printed its final edition.

I grew up with this newspaper. Of the two papers, this one was always my favorite. They had an easy to read layout and, for the most part, they reported the news without adding their own slant to it.

The final edition was great. In the center of the front page was a short story saying goodbye and on the outer edges were the stories from the front page of the first edition. They did a special 54-page edition that showed some of the front pages they ran since their beginning on April 23, 1859. They reprinted some of the major news stories they covered and they even showed all the changes the nameplate had experienced throughout the years.

The day before the final edition, I was listening to the news. A journalism professor was interviewed about the paper going out of business. He said within two years it is highly likely that none of the major newspaper in the nation will be printed. They will all be on-line.

We may be saying goodbye to the printed word.

Then early this morning, I learned that Paul Harvey passed away this weekend. He had a talent for telling the news and his radio show, ‘The Rest of the Story’ in an entertaining and informative way.