Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Pay Forward


This is a long rambling post but it has a point, community and kin.

 Located along US 40 in Moffat County, CO is the small town of Maybell, population 72. Best known for the official coldest temperature recorded in Colorado (-61 °) and the annual (COVID Years excepted) Great American Horse Drive, it is a prominent part of our paternal family history. 


Central to the town is the Maybell General Store. This was recently on Facebook.


With all the new updates at the Maybell Store, I think this would be a great time to share some notes written by Ole C. Barber with permission from the present day Barbers. I believe these notes were written in 1985.

Ole stated that one of the first buildings in any new town would be a General Store and so it was with Maybell. He couldn’t remember when the store was built but he saw a picture of the first automobile standing in front of the store - it was a 1904 model although he didn’t know what make it was. He saw the store in 1914, when he was around 5 years old. The following are Ole’s notes:

AB Kapple and family moved to Maybell somewhere around 1900, built the store on a corner lot facing the main road through town along with a house just north of the store. The store was 30 ft wide by 40 feet long . He planned a general store, knowing that the closest store was in Craig, 30 miles away and the only mode of travel in those days was by a team of horses or horseback. So he stocked everything from bachelor buttons to harnesses, including groceries.

It was always an interesting tour of the store, when I would get to go with the folks grocery shopping. When we first walked in, on the right sat a glass show case, stocked with cigars and chewing tobacco. Behind the tobacco case on a counter was a tobacco cutter. The chewing tobacco came in five pound boxes, lined with an oiled paper to keep it fresh. The plugs were about eight inches long and three inches wide and ¾’s inch thick. The cutter had a cast iron base with a knife attached to a long handle. The base was marked with lines to tell how much to cut off for a certain amount of money, such as 5, 10 or 15 cents worth. Roy and Ruth Barber ended up with the cutter.

On top of the glass case sat a cigar lighter in which almost every kid in town cut the end of their finger off - just a small slice mostly skin. It had an automatic knife which sat under a small hole in the top, intended to cut the small end of the cigar off. There was also an arm stuck up on the top that was hinged so when it was pulled out at the top, a spark would light a wick to light the cigar. Also when this arm was activated it would reset the knife under the small hole. The knife was spring loaded when a finger or cigar was inserted in the hole, the knife would automatically release consequently trimming the end of said finger or cigar. We kids most all had to try it once but being fast to learn, it usually took only one try to teach us.

Next to this was a case filled with candy. From the candy case there was a counter about 8 feet long with two rolls of wrapping paper. Customers didn’t help themselves at that time. You ordered what you wanted and the clerk set it out on the counter for you.

Next from the counter was a cheese case that looked like a butcher block. It had a high glass dome top. The cheese was about 16 inches in diameter and 8 inches high. A cheese knife was hinged on a pedestal in the center of the cheese. For a pound they knew just about how much of a wedge to cut. It was surprising how close they would come to the right amount that was ordered. Next sat the coffee mill. They didn’t sell ground coffee at that time, they only kept the beans and would grind whatever you ordered. This mill was real interesting to us kids. It sat on a stand about table height and was painted bright red with gold trim. There were two big wheels that worked like counter balances. Across the back of the store he had his harness and leather material, collars, hames, tug chains, bits, most always a side of harness leather. Starting back up the south side, He had shoes, shirts, overalls (Levis) and gloves. The gloves were mostly buckskin and there were two kinds. . . Hodkins and Russell, all better that what one can buy today. The buckskin gloves you buy today won’t begin to wear as long as those that Mr. Kapple stocked back then.

Next from the gloves were needs for the house wife, from needles to thread, buttons, knitting needles and about anything they would need including hair dye.

He also had a store room about 16 feet wide and the full length of the store where he kept groceries that weren’t put up on the shelves along with some farm machinery, walking plows, harrows and etc.

The World War and homestead rush seems to have happened all about the same time but I remember the homesteaders coming along between 1915 and 1916 and a lot more later. They could file on a piece of land and live on it a specified amount of time and if they did everything required of them, they could prove up and get a government deed to the land. So around 1917 to 1920 the town of Maybell grew up pretty fast. In 1917 Kapples sold their store to H. B. Pleasant, a brother of F. H. Pleasant who managed the First Federal Savings for many years.

Mr. Pleasant immediately rearranged the whole inside of the store to make it look more modern. He also built a frame house just north of the Kapple house , for his wife’s mother who needed to live close to them.

H. B. had been in the store business in Denver and had an altogether different idea on how to merchandise his wares. Once everything was rearranged in the store, I had never seen things displayed on tables. There was a lot of stock in the store, most of the small things such as knives, watches, wrenches and small tools had always been kept in cases but H. B. had some small tables made and displayed the dollar watches, pocket knives and a whole bunch of small things like that out where they would attract attention. I got out of school one evening and going home horseback I noticed Dad’s buggy down at the store, so decided to go down there and see what they were doing. I walked in and saw all those goodies on one of the tables right close to where I was. I saw a nice shiny Corouso dollar watch and just somehow it slipped off the table and into my pocket. I visited with the folks a bit and said I guessed I’d just go on home and start the chores. I walked out and untied my saddle horse and was in the act of getting on when I heard a gruff voice behind me. He said “Wait up a minute son . . I want to talk to you!” I looked around. H. B. Pleasant was a big man, but at that moment he looked about 10 times bigger than he really was. He said, “What do you want to do about that watch you have in your pocket?” I said “I don’t have any watch.” But he just said “O yes I think you do for I saw you take it!” He gave me a choice . . either give him a dollar or if I would rather he would put it on my dad’s account and that if those choices didn’t please me I could give it back to him and he would forget the whole affair. Well you can bet I wasn’t long finding it and handing it back to him, telling him how sorry I was. He said he knew I was sorry and that I was a very good boy but didn’t want me to get started doing things like that, for it would get me into some real trouble later if I kept it up. I can truthfully say I have never let anything slip off into my pocket since and was for sure he didn’t tell Dad. It was probably my best lesson in life!

Things started going downhill and some of the businesses in Maybell went broke. The dry farmers were trying to suffer it out until they could prove up and get a deed to their acres but Maybell slowed down a lot. Nobody had much money, just barely enough to buy groceries.

The Maybell Store has had several owners over the years and currently is owned by Joe and Mary Schminkey. They have made some fantastic changes to the store and are excited now to mention that they have a liquor license so will be selling beverages to your liking! Be sure to stop in and say HOWDY to these awesome folks!

My grandmother, Louise White, nee Ferrel lost her husband to cancer in 1935. At the time they had a truck farm in Wheatridge, CO, the current location of the Wheatridge Historical Society.

She moved to Maybell (family were in the area) and left her three youngest daughters at home while she worked, often away from town. One summer a daughter fell into a coma for several weeks.

My father, who was scratching out a living in the area, would stop in and check on his sisters. He found they were often out of food. He made arrangements for them to get food as needed from the Maybell General Store. One of my aunts told me, privately, had he not, they might not have survived!

Today the sister who was in a coma is a wealthy woman. Nearly 90, she still works at the family owned business in Portland, OR. One of her favorite great nephews is my autistic son in Seattle.

Some time back she asked me for his bank account. She wanted to give him some extra money monthly. When I said she didn’t need to do that, she flatly told me it was her money and she would spend it as she pleased!

“Yes, Aunt _____”.

Whatever her motivation, it occurred to me my father’s contribution to his siblings in need is now being carried on to his grandson. Payed forward, if you will.

The owners of the store didn’t need to agree to the arrangement. The security, if you will, was the word of a 15 year old. That is what I mean by community.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Unfocused Mind



A rambling post with no specific direction. You have been warned.

100 years ago – Local Rag edition.

The price of gasoline has fallen again in Greeley. It dropped 2 cents to 24 cents per gallon. Dealers believe the gas price will continue to drop every 30 days. It is because the price of crude oil falls quickly.

Editorial: “One of the most discouraging tasks in the world must be praying for Congress. One chaplain prayed for the Congressmen 25 years ago, and they are no better off today.”

What has changed?


A long time fixture in the Colorado Country Club mafia, aka The Republican Party, is one Dick Wadhams. Excerpts from a recent article he published regarding Colorado’s senior carpetbagger aka Senator Bennet.

Republicans must nominate a candidate who will run an aggressive, disciplined campaign with a clear agenda that is in stark contrast with Bennet and that focuses on the issues that appeal to unaffiliated voters rather than repel them. 

So far, so good. Then the lofty GOP high road takes over..  "

And the candidate cannot get mired in discredited conspiracy theories about alleged stolen elections".

Gutless wonder! Colorado’s election results were likely accurate as the Secretary of State for several years was a man of integrity. The rest of the country???  Now that  the office is held by a woke (P)regressive, who has a 200% turnover in staff her first two years, Colorado will join the rest of the Blue wave election corrupters, IMO.

He concludes.

Colorado Republicans have another opportunity to get it right in 2022. If not, Bennet will be headed to another undeserved victory.

Not if they continue their lofty and mannerly (don’t sully our hands like the Democrats do) ways.


One of my favorite Colorado towns. Back in the day we held five off site sales there, including our last one. It was always a good one for us My crew did their best to enhance the local economy’s bars. We had an excellent relationship with the police, county sheriff, and area state patrolmen. Lucky me, not having to bail out anyone.

Some recent good news for the area is reopening a coal mine.

Since the coal is to be shipped abroad, my question is what ports they will be able to use? The Earth Huggers are fighting any coal exporting facilities on the West Coast.

The area as a whole I enjoy. Going westward toward the Sangre de Cristos, you encounter lava dikes. Northwest are the Spanish Peaks, locally referred to as the Spanish “tits”. In the area is the site of the Ludlow Massacre.

The area, in the past, saw lots of mining, and lots of labor strife.

Fisher Peak dominates the area. Should you think surveyors aren’t important, a quiet fight goes on as to it being in Colorado or New Mexico. So far, Colorado. The huge mesa eastward towards Boise City, OK  is worth exploring.


The south side is a very open expanse of NE New Mexico from Raton, NM to Clayton, TX. There are things to see.

The north side was the route, along the Purgatory River, of the old Santa Fe Trail. One of the more obscure sights is Picture Canyon. My late son claimed some of these are Norse runes.

Also along the Purgatory is what is left of a Japanese WW II internment camp.

Further up the Purgatory is the US Army’s Pinion Canyon Training Area. My late son, who trained there with the 4th Infantry Division, told me there is a complete empty internment camp behind barbed wire fencing tucked away in a side canyon.

What future use?

I’m tempted to move to the area. The problem is escaping Colorado politics. The other side, New Mexico, has appeal. Again, the state politics are distasteful.

As always, YMMV.


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Stuff Off Facebook

Taking up Biden’s challenge?

Why is the Colorado River, among many, getting smaller?

Faint hope.

Yes, lame. So sue me!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Hell No!

This angers me. A boondoggle at we taxpayer’s expense.

What did it cost to send this to every Colorado resident? What bright (P)regressive came up with the Lottery sheeple bribe?

Lottery? I can buy my own ticket, thank you very much.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Victory at Sea


One of the first television shows I remember watching was Victory at Sea.

Circa 1952-1954 my Dad was the Section Forman at the East Portal of the Moffat Tunnel on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. At an elevation of 9,200’ ASL in a deep valley, the tiny town of East Portal had no television reception. AM radio was full of static and only a few 50,000 watt stations could be heard.

My Dad had a sister and brother-in-law living in Wheatridge, CO west of Denver and they had television reception. When we visited I was fascinated by Victory at Sea on their tiny black and white television set.

Browsing YouTube I’ve come across episodes. They don’t fascinate me like in my youth but do bring back memories of riding two hours in the back of a 1951 Ford just to see television.

Times change. That handheld device that rides in my pocket will let me see anything nearly anywhere, except East Portal. No cell service there.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

CAT Scams

It seems the  theft of catalytic converters are one the rise.

I have a question those readers in law enforcement might be able to answer. Who are the buyers of these catalytic converters? Fences, I would call them.

There are well developed and time tested methods of dealing with fences. Pawn shops come to mind. While nothing works 100%, nailing and prosecuting fences might make buying a catalytic converter too risky.

This isn’t a new problem. Back in the car biz day, I always checked under any trade vehicle I appraised. Customers often removed them (Hello, Wyoming) where emission tested wasn’t required.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Buyer Beware

 In the news, used car prices are appreciating! (h/t Splendid Isolation)

Maybe, maybe not. Regular readers know I spent many years retailing automobiles and light trucks. One hard lesson learned was, in most sales, there are two customers. The first, and more important, is the lender. The second, and less important, is the mutt driving off the lot with a “happy tag” in the window.

As you sit fuming in the dealership while the sales person scurries back and forth from the “desk”, the reason is seldom trying to find ways to gouge you. Rather, the “desk” is trying to structure a deal that some lender will be stupid enough to buy and thereby finance your purchase. The lender buys the car; you buy it from the lender one month at a time.

Lenders don’t like financing used cars. The default rate on used cars is much higher than new. New cars have factory backed warranties. You can buy a “warranty” on a used car that may, or may not, be worth more than the paper it is written on.

Lenders don’t want to finance anything older than three model years. If you get one financed, it is because of your stellar credit. Poor credit? You are buy here, pay here material.

May I offer you two important “tips”?

Arrange your financing, via a face to face meeting at your credit union, prior to visiting a dealer. Your preconceived ideas may need readjusting. Using a bank instead of a credit union for you day to day financial business? You are foolish, IMO. Hey WSF, fuck you! Yeah, do your own research. With the knowledge of what your credit union will do, you are in a better position to determine if the dealer can get you a better deal.

The second tip is what to look for in buying an extended warrant, aka service contract, etc. Does it cover seals and gaskets? If not, don’t buy it. Gaskets fail far more often than transmissions and engines. I’m talking $1,000 and up to repair that plastic intake manifold (with the very hot gas recalculating return adjacent) gasket. Double that cost for a rear main seal at the back of the engine.

In conclusion, dealers who pay stupid money at the Mannheim Auction doesn’t mean the lender writing a check to the dealer on your behalf agrees with the value of the hoopty.

As always, YMMV

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Jolly Rancher Candies

 LL talks about Jolly Rancher candy, which brought to mind a memory.

The US Army in Afghanistan gave the troops Jolly Rancher hard candies for them to give to civilian children (hearts and minds).

When my son was in Kandahar, I sent him a “CARE” package with items to make his life easier. Along with camper items, I included a wrist rocket. As a teener, he had one and was the terror of our neighborhood.

His buddies found a new use for the wrist rocket. As they traveled in convoys, the local urchins would stand by the roads and throw rocks at them. The gunner in my son’s truck would distribute Jolly Rancher candies to the urchins using the wrist rocket.

When he came home, he left the wrist rocket behind. Perhaps it is still being used to win hearts and minds.\


I've been blogging here for several years and just this month went over 500,000 page views. Some of you do that i a month, or at least a quarter, but I'm humbled that anyone finds my posts entertaining enough to come back. Thank all of you.

Monday, June 14, 2021

All Aboard

 Covid over, the Union Pacific has released a "Big Boy" tour schedule.

I will be somewhere along the tracks getting my steam engine fix.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

They Can't Connect the Dots


Several seniors gathered together in our common room were moaning about soaring prices. When I introduced the theme things were much better under President Trump, several brainwashed Democrats jumped (verbally) on me. Game on!

I held up one example, the price of a 32 oz “Family Size” bag of shredded cheese that last year was $4.99 and last week was $7.99.

“Oh, it isn’t President Biden’s fault; all our problems are caused by COVID!”

Yeah, keep believing that, sheeple.

Most of the residents of this 90 unit senior apartment building are on fixed incomes; their suffering going forward will become acute. Many rely on the Weld County Food Bank now for most of their needs.

Going forward I’m going to avoid these kinds of conversations. Few, if any, minds will be changed (including mine!). Rather, facts will only increase their distress.

My Dad was a proponent of the Belly Flapping Principal. Nothing will change a person’s attitude quicker than a flapping belly (hunger).

Going forward with the (P)regressives calling the shots, I forecast many converts to my Dad’s philosophy.

As always, YMMV

Friday, June 11, 2021

Stirring the Pot

 Swiped from a friend's Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Saving the Environment


Colorado will soon be a safer place! Plastic bags are to be banned. One of the hard working (P)regressive “Karens” has been working to pass this since elected.

No mention of her, and fellow (P)regressives, failure to pass a state budget for two sessions.  That will require them to work with rural conservatives but, hey! they care about all their constituents, just ask them. Just don’t ask their constituents.

The silence from them regarding the millions of non biodegradable snot rags we have been forced to wear, seemingly forever, now being scattered to the four winds is deafening.

Certainly this will result in better weather for everyone.

Currently my area has had the wettest spring in decades while most of Colorado is in a severe drought. Areas that were brown just six weeks ago now have grass 5’ tall. I can’t remember seeing native hay being harvested this early.

I’ve never seen roadsides harvested before.

But have no fear. If we just pay a bit more in taxes, the weather will even out. What if it doesn’t, WSF? We can comfort ourselves with the virtue signaling of trying to do something. Solve vexing problems like homelessness, violent crime and third world roads are too hard. Perhaps we can fool both the public and ourselves with the sound and fury with which we attack trivial issues.

As always, YMMV.

UPDATE - Local

The Miller farm has a large collection of "stuff", airplanes, cars, trucks, construction equipment, farm equipment, etc. People can wander around and the Millers will sell you all manner of food stuff. They are about ten minutes East of I-25 off Exit 243. Well worth the time if you are traveling I-25 IMO.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Beware the Idle Mind

Two of the ladies living in our apartment building enjoy decorating rocks. I find them to be a visual treat; a diversion as Banner takes care of his dog business. 

 Bridal Fashions

As an old fossil, I find these types of bridal gowns distasteful. One wonders just how serious someone is about joining a lifelong partnership wearing such a costume. Assuming the marriage lasts; imagine the reaction of grandchildren to photos in years ahead.

 Below is a photo of a recent bride, ranch raised. She is the granddaughter of a high school classmate. A serious gown for a serious occasion, the good taste displayed will endure in the years ahead, IMO.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Whiskey Is For Drinking, Water Is For Fighting


This is a Northern Colorado specific blog that may be of limited appeal to readers from out of the area.

The City of Thornton was Colorado’s first fully planned community. Located ten miles North of Denver and between the then planned Interstate Highways (I-25/I-76) the town, with one square mile and a population of 8,640 was incorporated in 1956. Since then it has grown to 38 square miles and a population of 136,000+.

Without water, growth is nearly impossible and Thornton focused their eyes on the Cache la Poudre River which flows through Fort Collins (Larimer County) and Greeley (Weld County) where it merges with the South Platte.

Early settlers obtained water rights. Thornton started acquiring many of these farms for their water rights. Shortsighted, wanting only the water rights, they dried up the farms and tore down the farm houses and outbuildings.  The once productive farm lands became home to noxious weeds and litter. This caused extreme resentment in Larimer and Weld Counties. The resentment lives on today as Thornton tries to build a pipeline from Fort Collins to Thornton.

Thornton is building their pipeline where they can. Evidently their strategy is, if enough is built, they can muster enough political and/or court pressure to force Weld and Larimer counties to give in.

WSF’s forecast? Might work in another twenty years.

An aunt and uncle bought a house there in 1956. These original houses were 1,000 sq ft 3 bedroom GI Bill/VA Loan targeted.

Circa 1998 I managed a used car “pot lot” in Thornton. Trust me, it wasn’t an upscale area. Few of the years I worked car sales did I “carry” but in Thornton I did.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Running on Empty


Blogging is bogging due to having little of worth for putting forth to the public. Hopefully things will change soon.

One bright spot is the Veterans Administration finally getting my case moving. Due to the COVID hiatus, the doctor I see is now booked solid for eight weeks. Lucked out, there was a cancellation, so I see him for an office visit in two weeks. Hopefully, the procedure will follow on July 1.