Thursday, January 28, 2016


The Culture of Begging
            Went to the big city of Denver the other day.  Was well reminded of why I like my small town.  The noise was terrible and crazy rush to go somewhere in hurry.  There were to things that struck me n emerging sub culture and the amount of construction. 
            The number of beggars on street corners has increased and the variety of cardboard signs.  The exit ramps off the freeways were the busiest, then the busy street corners of town.  The variety of people begging was …… well there were most all types.  There even few holding their sign and walking the curb while talking on their smart phone. 
            Then there was Denver, It is a boom town.  There were a variety of cranes all over the city constructing high rise buildings.  Downtown had over 6 of the huge tower cranes.  There were large cranes mixed in and numerous types of boom cranes. 
            So when I look at the beggars, I wonder why, there should be all types of construction jobs for the beggars. Well why work when they can make more money standing around begging then working. If they get 100 bucks a day begging that is better then 10 bucks per hour work.  And 100 dollars is on the low side for beggars. 
            The hand outs these people get is giving rise to a whole new sub culture and one could refer to them as the leech culture.  The beggars pay no taxes, do not participate in society, yet they consume the products and goods others produce. 
            Being in Colorado more of these beggars/homeless are now being found with tokes of pot.  Then that should not surprise.  The whacky weed has replaced the wine etc for these people to avoid dealing with their issues. 
            So many people complain about the abuse of substances, yet the people that give the hand outs enable this type of behavior.  They are probably more complicit in furthering this lifestyle of begging and living high. 
            Then I look at the boom Denver is having and wonder how much of it is being fueled by the growth of the marijuana industry.  I’ve read stories of people moving to Denver just for the MJ.  There are also numerous entrepreneurs that will become the new millionaires.   What would be interesting is how much pot is being exported to other states.  Bale it up, load in semi and ship it to a warehouse in another state. 
            When there is a dollar to be made, there will be a way to garner it, begging or business production. 

            The other thing to look at is the rights of the State and their laws versus the Laws of the Federal Government.  In this case, the state over rode the Feds.   Set a pretty good precedent of states’ rights.  Colorado, in particular Denver, has liberal/democrat leanings.  In the case of the marijuana law, the liberals gave the republicans a bit of leverage for states rights.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


The Dance Hall

            Across the floor the couple strolled, toes tapping, bodies swinging in time to the clink of the piano.  It was Saturday night and the week was over, time to go to town and let off some steam.  For decades this was a social center for many a country folk.  The dance hall could be a barn in the country or a hall in town.  Someplace in a corner was an old piano, usually not in real good tune but it worked.  Set a chair or two nearby for the fiddler or maybe a guitar player and the music was ready for the dance. 
            Here many a young couple could socialize with their neighbors relive their days when they were courting.  There was usually a young girl or two that would baby sit.  It was also a time when a young man could go courting, ask the girl out he liked, meet other girls.  Many a romance began on the dusty dance floor. 

            Cora was born in 1910 and she would reminisce of the days she was growing up in the country.  “Yes this where I met my husband,” she said.  Old man Baker had a big ole barn north of town and every month he would have a dance out there.  Bill from down the road would bring his fiddle and into the night we would dance. 
            The hat would be passed around, pennies, nickels and dimes were collected to give to Bill for playing for the night.  Benches lined the dance area and many of the people would sit there and visit while Bill was fiddling away.  For many of the people it was the only time to see their neighbors.  The weather was always a topic, then crops and how the market was doing.  There was talk among the women about the sewing, canning or gardening.  Then over there were the youngsters, the single ones, talking about this and that. 
            Into the cool evening breeze a young couple would slip outside to find a dark place to be alone.  In the evening shadows could be seen the glow of cigarettes.  The men had clustered around in small groups having a smoke and passing the mason jar. 
            Short distance away could be heard the whinny of horses.  Patiently waiting to ride back home.  It would be, a moonlit night of letting Nellie find her way home after the dance.  The buggy would creak and bounce over the ruts of the trail. 
            Young girl and her boyfriend had crpt down to the creek.  Laying on the bank, they counted the stars, listened to the trickle of water passing by.  The squeal of delight as a shooting star passed by, cuddling up closer together.  Romance on the prairie was in bloom. 
            It was another era that has passed, memories are but tales to be passed. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

To Be Rich or Not to Be Rich

            For the kick of comparing apples and oranges.  In 1966 a new pink Mustang cost $1600.00 dollars.  How long would a person have to work back then to pay for that car.  Minim wage was $1.25/hr.  At min wage …. 32 weeks.  The blue collar worker was being paid $3.oo/hr.  14 weeks to pay it off.  Today a Mustang would run around $30,000.00.  Min wage today, $5.00….. 150 weeks… oops….. Blue collar wage, $20.00/hr.  37 weeks to pay it off…. Or you could say work to earn.  Yes thing have gotten expensive.  The automobile was the American dream as was a house. 
            In 1966 the wages ranged, from $0000.00 to 10,000.00 per year,  there were those who made less and those who made more, this is a middle category.  In 2010 that income range would be, $26.000 to $70,000 dollars. 

            A nice new house in 1966, garage with 1500 square foot house, cost about $7000.00 dollars.  Less than a good annual wage or about the middle of the annual wage back then.  Today that 1500 square foot house with garage will run around $200,000.00 dollars or about 3 times the good annual wage…… 3 times.  For the median income person at 26K, that new home would be equal to almost 8 times the annual salary for a hard worker. 
            Look at the difference grandpa had to work to provide for his family compared to what grandson has to work to provide for his family.
Even with 15 bucks per hour minim wage, today’s worker could not provide for his family as good as the worker that was getting a buck and quarter minim wage 6 decades ago. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Doc Coulson

            The Coulson Trail commemorates one of Hugo, Colorado’s early doctors.  Sitting on a ridge, the Doc's final resting place has a spectacular view.  Below winds the Big Sandy Creek with the woods of cottonwood trees, on far horizon is Zebulon Pike’s mountain.  From the vantage point, he can watch the first morning rays to the evening shadows as they race over the face of the peak.  Below, he can watch the seasons pass by in the trees that line the Big Sandy.  The first catkins of spring becoming a green ribbon that appears to reach on forever, to the glistening colors of fall as the temps cool.
            For over a century the good doctor has resided on this ridge.  The railroad that brought him to Hugo is still there.  The wagon ruts have been replaced by a super slab of concrete ribbon.  The trains still echo over the high plains, while the big trucks huff n puff to climb out of the small valley that Hugo is situated in. 
            Doctor Coulson came to Hugo to open a practice in the growing railroad town.  Hugo was a small hub for the railroad and had become the county seat.  There was also some ranchers and homesteaders in the area.  Prospects for a thriving practice looked good.  There were the railroad workers, their families, the shop keepers and the government people to take care plus the ranchers and farmers.  A country doctor he would be.
            Setting out his shingle, Doc Coulson began to tend to the needs of his new home.  House calls were made, accidents bandaged, babies delivered and assorted illnesses tended to.  Then smallpox raised its ugly head and the people of Hugo became fearful.  A rancher south of town came down with the pox.  No one wanted to tend to the rancher but Doctor Coulson agreed to nurse him and bring him back to good health.
            The Doc did a good job, the rancher survived the smallpox but the Doc caught the pox and did not make it.  Doc was not able to survive the ordeal and passed away in 1892.  For whatever reason the townspeople buried him on the ridge rather than the town cemetery, a couple of miles away.  A few people said that the locals back then were worried about the Doc’s pox spreading so they isolated him.
            For years the grave site sat on the ridge, little attention was paid to the single grave site.  About a dozen years ago some local citizens decided to honor the early day doctor.  Some funds were secured and the Coulson Exercise Trail came into being as part of the town’s park system. 
            Beginning on the east edge, near the town water tower, the trail followed the perimeter of the land, being about a mile and half long.  It was also a Nature Trail.  There are exercise stations along the way, and markers for the various flora and fauna, some of them rare for the eastern plains. 
The trail followed along beside a county road, down a gully, following and back up the hill to return back, crossing a small bridge, circling a communications tower.  Benches have been placed along the route plus a few picnic tables. 
            About 300 yards into the park is the grave with a memorial plaque with a fence around it.  Nearby are a couple of benches.  Here on can pause and enjoy the view.  In the distance Pike’s Peak rears up, the guide on for the gold seekers that passed through Hugo on their way to the gold fields. 
            No longer do the creaks of wagon wheels roll across the plains.  The sound of the trucks now whisper up the ridge.  Overhead can be seen the falcon circling overhead or maybe one the eagles.  The little birds flit among the scrub brush and grasses searching out seeds n insects.  Even the roadrunner makes an appearance looking for lizards.

            It is a place where one can sit and ponder the Indians that used to wander looking for the buffalo.  The good doctor gave his all trying to help.