Stephen Woody

Good morning, Montrose.

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Butter Side Up……The annual Colorado Mesa University Foundation report came in the mail last week. I’m a bit geeky when it comes to these things, sometimes actually reading them. Most impressive was that last year, 889 students received $2.6 million in scholarship money. That means, successful students filled out applications, sent in resumes, sat for interviews, went to orientations and voila! – student life.......CMU is now the fifth fastest-growing university in the U.S. with more than 11,000 students. Last May, students from 11 countries received degrees. A few things that stood out from the report.

• Some 5,317 people made donations so others could go to college, increasing CMU’s total endowment to almost $35 million. That’s an increase of six percent of donors, of almost 16 percent in funds.

• In the last five years, the awarding of scholarship dollars to students has increased by 43 percent.

That’s flat-out remarkable. What it says: if a student coming out of high school, or a two-year school or the military and if he or she has a desire to earn a four-year degree at an increasingly prestigious Colorado university, the scholarship assistance is there. Cliché and trite: a hand up.

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Thanks, veterans.

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One summer memory……The difference today with teenagers and when Notebook was their age? One word. Stereos. Much. Better. Stereos. Was sitting at a stoplight on the South Townsend Tug Along when it much warmer a few weeks. A Jeep full of young citizens rolled up alongside. Thwump! Thwump! Thwump! The Notebook used to cruise, too, I told the grandkids, busy with ice cream, asserting that I wasn’t born 67. My simple old 8-track, hanging feebly under the dashboard, would not be able to compete these days……Nobody asked me, but……You don’t hear much about Stormy Daniels anymore. Paying off a porn star (or a Playboy model) with a big cashier’s check splashed on the wall of a hearing room in Congress seems quaint in comparison to what’s going on these days. No doubt when Ms. Daniels’ (aka Stephanie Clifford) time comes and her obituary appears in the NYTimes, there will be some mention of her connection to the current president and how she was a multi-tasking actress.

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I See By The Paper……Texas Monthly magazine recently featured on its cover honky-tonks. Also known as: dive bars, roadhouses, beer joints. One of them, Arky’s Blue Silver Dollar in Bandera, Texas, has a sign as you walk in the front door:

• Cowboys – No Shoes, No Service.

• Cowgirls – No Shirt, Free Beer.

The Notebook tended bar for three years, three nights a week in a honky-tonk, the Bar G, in Commerce, Texas, while attending East Texas State U. The G stood for the last name of a pair of brothers who suddenly came into a pot of money and decided to, well, throw it away by starting a bar in a college town that had just voted itself “wet.” The Bar G was a howdy, rowdy, place, fersure. A jukebox in the corner, a house band on the weekends and once a month, a big name like Ernest Tubb, Hank Thompson, Faron Young, or Conway Twitty rolled through. Menu items included frozen Tombstone pizzas and dark, mysterious, pickled food products that floated around in a jar on the bar. (That sounds like a lyric, country songwriters. You’re welcome.) Long neck beer was the most popular item. There was trouble now and then. “Fist City,” as Loretta Lynn wrote. Usually ex-wives and husbands being overly friendly with others. Bartenders heard a lot of stories about cheatin’ hearts. One honky-tonk axiom: “If you can dance, you gotta chance.” The Bar G seated 600. Cotton farmers, hippies and rednecks. College folk. A few years ago, I rolled by to see what had become of the old place. Fittingly, it’s become a Pentecostal church.

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Boxelder Blues……The recent snows and cold snaps haven’t completely killed off the pesky autumn insects, boxelders in particular, in search of that one last, warm place to reside before signing off. Columnist Jim Hicks in the Buffalo (Wyo.) Bulletin makes a few apt observations:

• They can stay frozen in an ice cube (apparently Jim’s seen the research) for several months and then crawl out like nothing’s happened when the cube melts.

• Equipped with a brain no larger than a pinhead, they know English, especially the phrase, “spray for them,” disappearing when the activity occurs.

• You know that butcher block thingy? Where you keep the big knives on the kitchen counter? They like to pop out after you pull a big knife, and say, “Hello. I’m still here.”

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Quotable: “It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.”- A. Bartlett Giamatti, 1938-1989, Yale professor, author, seventh commissioner of Major League Baseball

Stephen Woody was the publisher of community daily newspapers for 38 years in four cities, including the Montrose Daily Press, 1997-2011.

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