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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

John Denver: To Answer In Kindness...To Ever Be Gentle

To answer in kindness...To ever be gentle.  Those are lyrics from John Denver's, A Song For All Lovers. And everytime I hear those lyrics, it's as I've been to church. Church. Not necessarily a building, but a place in the spirit. Those words John Denver wrote so many years ago are timeless and I should remember those words, as words to always live by.

I've been  fan of John Denver since I was a teen. But it's only very recently that I heard of this song, A Song For All Lovers. Even though the song was written for a friend of his, Mardy Murie, and speaks of Alaska--the song reminds me of everything that is good about people that commit to others in love, gentleness and kindness. And it reminds me of Colorado.

There is something special about everyplace on earth where there is love, gentleness and kindness. But Colorado holds a special place in my heart. And as a teen, when I dreamed of returning to Colorado, I played  scratchy LP's of John Denver to remind me that someday I would come to Colorado.

Most of us are familiar with John Denver's anthems that transcend time and place. Most of us have used John Denver's songs as an anthem to Colorado. I've met more than one person, who as a young person, was inspired to move to Colorado because of the beauty he painted in his songs.

But, A Song For All Lovers, is one of Denver's more obscure songs. But it is one of his best. Apparently it was not released anytime soon after he wrote it. But it did appear in 1995 on his, The Wildlife Concert. I semi-recently caught a bit of that concert on PBS and wondered why I had never heard this song, that haunted me.

"To answer in kindness, to ever begin
To ever be gentle, to always be strong
To walk in the wonder, to live in the song..."

Most everything good and decent in the human spirit is captured in this song. And now, I refer to it as a reminder, my anthem,  to always be gentle and kind and walk in wonder--even when life seems anything but pleasant. I find the song spiritual. It touches my spirit.

There are a fair amount of videos on You Tube of John Denver's A Song For All Lovers. But this one is a favorite:

After refreshing my memory with this song, I wondered why it isn't a staple for weddings. It is, at its core, a song about two people's undying commitment to one another. And at its core, its a song of how we should live our lives, in how we respond to all people.

Thank you John Denver, for reminding me and inspiring me being gentle and kind and walk in wonder.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rocky Mountain Sigh: Museum Of Colorado Prisons In Canon City

It's time for another Rocky Mountain Sigh: A fun day trip in Colorful Colorado to the Museum of Colorado Prisons. I took company to this museum and have been another time. It's truly one of the best museum experiences anywhere. OK, the Natural Museum of History in NYC and Louvre in Paris were pretty good too. It's one of the best museum experiences in Colorado.

And someone at the museum has a sense of humor!

This is a reenactment of what a vintage prison cell for women looked like. Notice the brand of toothpaste that supermodel prisoner is holding. AIM! As in: Ready, aim, fire that gun in the commission of a crime?

Most of the displays are in the actual 32 cells. This exhibit reenacts the typical prison guard of yesteryear. My goodness, I thought I was at a maritime museum. This dude looks like a salty old sea captain with a twinkle in his eye. He probably just saw the babes with the AIM toothpaste. Why, it even looks like he has a harpoon in the background to keep them whales, or prisoners in check.

Wait, these are the visiting rules at prisons? These are the visiting rules at MY house. I don't allow anyone to sit between my legs. My only question is what exactly constitutes excessive hugging or kissing?

Armed with the naked fury of fact! Wait, that's how I write! But I wasn't around in the 1940s when the movie CANON CITY was made to chronicle the sensational 1947 prison break from the Colorado Territorial Prison. According to the museum brochure and MP3 audio tour, 12 crazed cons overpowered guards to make their way up the Arkansas River. A major blizzard thwarted their efforts.

OKAY, I lied. The Museum of Colorado Prisons is almost as good as the Louvre, where the real Mona Lisa is displayed. It's pretty hard to impress me. The REAL Mona Lisa painting is very small. You don't have to travel all the way to France to see Mona--the Museum of Colorado Prisons has this one, painted by a former inmate. For centuries, art historians and the commoner have speculated on what that sly grin on Mona's face was expressing. I think I finally figured it out. She spotted that hottie in the cell with the AIM toothpaste and got a slight giggle out of the ONLY truly appropriate brand of toothpaste for hardened criminals.

If you are a regular blog reader at True Story Club, you know we like to poke a little fun at ill-conceived handicrafts. But I can't bring myself to make fun of this cute little owl some prisoner made out of yarn.

Actually the Museum of Colorado Prisons has a wonderful gift shop with very reasonably priced items. Some of the items are made by current prisoners. One of the best buys there are handcuff earrings for just $5.

The museum is located at 201 North First Street in Canon City, right next to the Colorado Territorial Prison. The museum at one time was the original Women's Correctional Facility.

The museum is open May 15 to Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. From Oct. 1 to May 14, it's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays only. The phone number is: 719-269-3015.

The website is:

Admission for adults is just $7 and there are reduced rates for seniors, children, active military and corrections employees. It's one of the best museum bargains--and one of the most interesting looks into Colorado history ever.

And if something from another plane is your cup of tea, you can call the museum, which is available for paranormal investigations for a fee. Hmm, I just might do that. I know the chick with the tube of AIM toothpaste is still haunting me.

Friday, July 10, 2015

There Is Only One Punishment For Ariana Grande, Donut Licker

Ah, if only I were a judge and I could mete out the punishment if pop star Ariana Grande is indeed guilty of "maliciously licking" a donut in a Los Angeles area donut shop.

There really is only one truly appropriate punishment. I usually go to ETSY to punish myself by looking at some of the unusual handmade fashions on that site. Why shouldn't alleged donut licker Ariana also be tortured as I am--a person who has never publicly licked a donut.

If I were a judge I would sentence her to one year of wearing these.

Only $49 bucks at ETSY. Sooo sexy. I'd make her order the jumbo size. After all, according to her, Americans are into jumbo sizes. Apparently after a donut shop worker walked by with a tray of jumbo donuts, Ariana chirped through her sugary lips, "What the F... is that? I hate Americans. I hate America."

Tssk, Tssk. Even 22-year-old pop stars should clean up their potty mouths. After all her potty mouth might kiss her mother someday, or lick an innocent donut.

Have some class. Even I don't say WTF out loud, even when I am thinking it about donut-slobbering pop stars. Instead I say this:

OK, my sentence doesn't end there. The ETSY donut undies don't totally do the trick, even though some pop stars wear their undies in public--and lick donuts in public.

I'd make her wear these also.

Another ETSY delight.

Well, heck, there are so many donut fashions at ETSY, it wouldn't be difficult to make Ariana wear donut fashions for that year sentence.

I understand Ariana has a new boyfriend. She might not if she shows up wearing this ETSY beauty.

Rocky Mountain Sigh: Death-Defying Trip To Canon City's Skyline Drive Part 2

We were all enjoying the dinosaur trackway at Canon City's Skyline Drive. I decided that nearly getting thrown over the side of the cliff and nearly getting blown over in a porta-pottie was not going to rain on my parade--or anyone else's parade.

Crack! A bolt of lightening shreeks. OK, I lied. I'm afraid of four things: Clown collectibles, heights, porta-potties and lightening. I have reason to be afraid of lightening. A lightening fireball blew through our window swamp cooler once and nearly got me. And the lightening also blew a chunk out of the road in front of our house before totally frying our SUV. But that's another story. And honestly folks, Colorado is wonderful. Even for chickens like me.

Granny was also afraid of lightening. My husband and teenager, not so much. I start jogging towards the car. Slowly. Teenager is not afraid and is ambling. Granny is scared, but still had her sprained ankle wrapped from a previous incident (not in Colorado) and is also ambling, but with a look of fear on her face.

Crack! This time the lightening appears to be hitting just feet in front of us, right in the road.

"We've got to get the the car," Granny gasped.

I cheerfully reply," I just saw something on the local news, where even one's car is not totally safe in a lightening storm." I then proceed to tell her our SUV was fried in front of our home, thankfully without us in it--but if we would have been--adios!

I certainly know how to show company a good time.

Crack! Another close strike. This time I grab my husband's arm and slightly run towards the car.

I yell over my shoulder to the company," That's what John Denver meant when he sung, Rocky Mountain High! 'I've seen it rain fire in the sky.'"

Granny, her face as pale as a Colorado ice field replied," Oh my God! I've heard that song a million times and I never made the connection. That's what it means!"

Of course, she'd never been stuck in a lightening storm on a thin road, trying to dodge cars as we raced to our car.

I linked my husband's arm again and sang to him off-key," Rocky Mountain Die!!! First I nearly get knocked over the side, then blown away in a porta-pottie and now I am dodging lightening strikes. Rocky Mountain Die!!! I've seen it raining fire in the sky! You sure know how to show a girl a good time!"

He was snickering so lavishly that he barely could make it to the car. Company didn't hear my rendition of Rocky Mountain High.

OK, we know I'm a sissy pants. But what do other people (besides company) who were split down the middle (thankfully NOT by lightening) think about Skyline Drive?

I took a two-second trip over to TripAdvisor. Now poo, poo that a bazillion people thought Skyline Drive was the best thing since sliced bread. Of course, I'm going to hone in on the most hilarious review of Skyline Drive, which goes something like this:

"Be very afraid! One false move on this nightmare of a road and you will tumble to your death. Once you commit, there's no turning around. THERE IS NO ROOM TO TURN AROUND! The ground drops off hundreds of feet just inches from your vehicle on both sides Thirty seconds after starting up the ridge, I knew I had made a terrible mistake. 

I'm not kidding about this. I'm a 54 year man, I have a pilot's license, and I've jumped out of an airplane - but driving Skyline Drive was the most terrifying experience of my life! My hands were shaking on the steering wheel and I could feel my heart pounding. I started talking to myself, "Don't look down,don't look down". I was convinced I was going to lose control of my vehicle. I had to will myself to keep going. Thank God there was no one behind me.

I don't know how many deaths there have been on this road, but to me, taking your family on this road is utter lunacy. I'm Libertarian by nature, but I would ban children from vehicles on Skyline Drive."

Oh my goodness! I'm not a 54-year-old man, but I am a sissy at times. I used to jump horses and go up in two-seater planes. But Skyline Drive kicked my butt. And I, too, am a Libertarian by nature!

For those who aren't familiar with Libertarians (Ron Paul is one) it basically is someone who thinks people have the right to be as stupid as they want, as long as they aren't endangering others.

Yeah, Skyline Drive even kicks hearty Libertarian butts!

Seriously, I do recommend Skyline Drive for a fun and free way to scare the hell out of yourself and company. The views are spectacular. Just make sure there is no lightening predicted. Make sure you are wearing an adult diaper or empty your bladder before you go, so you can avoid swaying porta-potties. And make sure other passengers in your car all open the doors when no one is standing by the edge.

As if all that wasn't exciting enough. I discovered--after I did the Rocky Mountain Sigh and defied death on Skyline Drive--that there is wonderful self-guided tour brochure on Skyline Drive. I have the brochure and it is great with directions, history and pictures. The Self-Guided Heritage tours were developed by the Fremont County Heritage Commission and the Fremont County Tourism Council. The brochures are free and can be found at museums and Chambers of Commerce in Fremont County. If you can't find the brochure in person, it's easy to go to and download it for free.

Well, hats off to the Fremont County Heritage Commission for excellent brochures. I'll be referring to others of their informative brochures in future blog posts when I share yet another Rocky Mountain Sigh day trip in Colorado.

WTF! Yes, if I can survive Skyline Drive, you can too!

Rocky Mountain Sigh: Death-Defying Trip To Canon City's Skyline Drive - PART 1

In addition to mocking clown collectibles, collecting unusual true stories--I like to shine a spotlight on all the fun things to do in Colorado.

Colorful Colorado is one of the prettiest and most interesting states in the Union. I've been to 43 states and all of them are great--but Colorado, in my opinion towers above the rest.

I love cheap and fun day trips in Colorado. After moving to Colorado over 20 years ago, we've rarely taken a vacation outside of the state, because it would take a lifetime to drink in all the beauty of this state.

Today's fun trip is: Skyline Drive, just west of Canon City on Highway 50.

My history with Skyline Drive is angst-filled. I ain't afraid of much in this life except clown collectibles and heights. Several years ago, company came from California and my husband decided Skyline Drive was a must-do.

My husband has a maniacal streak. He once commented that he'd love to take his mother on Skyline Drive, since she's really afraid of heights. Really afraid--not just semi-hysterical as I am. Fortunately or unfortunately she hasn't visited us in Colorado yet.

A friend about our age was delighted with the idea of going up a one-way road with NO guard rails and sheer drops on either side. I was literally hyperventilating. My husband's solution was to immediately take a second trip up Skyline to get me over my fear. It worked a little--since I am a reasonable person when my hands aren't wrapped around someone's neck and shock therapy can be a good thing.

That was about six years ago. Well, a few days ago--another crop of company arrived. Of course, my husband thought Skyline Drive was a good thing to show them. One of our company was a teenaged-girl who had never been to Colorado. The other was her grandmother, who has been to Colorado.

The teenager was gun-ho. Granny was not. She cleared her throat, "I'm a bit afraid of heights also."

That didn't stop my husband.

I decided to pull up my big-girl panties for the sake of company and my sanity. I took deep breaths and am doing fairly well and almost enjoying the spectacular scenery while chanting under my breath that guard rails are a good thing.

Granny is horrified.

We stopped at the big pull-out at the top of the ridge. There is about two feet space from the car and a sheer drop. But we all decided to park so we could walk back to the dinosaur trackway.

The dinosaur trackway boasts layers that tell an interesting story of geology and history with the tracks made by 30-foot long Ankylosuars. There are also burrows and other traces of ancient clams, worms and shrimp. Yum! Too bad there's not a Red Lobster in Fremont County.

I opened my door and the teenager, sitting in the back seat with her ear pods and/or smart phone in hand, didn't see me and opened her door at full swing. She smacked me so hard in the hip and rump that I nearly toppled over the side of the sheer drop.

Of course, she was apologetic. So apologetic for so many hours, that I told her that I KNOW she didn't do it on purpose and that it's stuff like that, that memories are made of. I mean, if one went on a trip and didn't have a near-disaster or two--one would not remember it on one's deathbed, would one?

I didn't tell the teenager that she whacked me so hard that my butt and hip were throbbing for hours.

I was trying not to wet my big-girl panties as I ran across the drive to the lone porta-pottie. OK, I lied. I have three fears--clown collectibles, heights and OUTHOUSES or porta-potties. I'd rather bust my bladder that use a porta-pottie. But I had no choice.

So I limped into the porta-pottie and did my business swaying above the seat. Well, at that exact moment a huge wind gust came up and rocked the pottie so much that I almost fell over.

I nearly escaped getting tossed over the side by a big whack in the arse, and now to be blown away in a stinky porta-pottie? I lept out of the pottie and joined the others at the dinosaur trackway.

Two scary experiences. Well, three--if you include the scariness of a tiny road and sheer drops.

Surely there would not be yet another scary experience on Skyline Drive, would there?

Yes, if I can survive Skyline Drive, you can too!