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RBC — In the July 10 edition of the Herald Times, we published an anonymous letter to the editor. The “Bubba” letter, as it has become known, created a bit of a stir. Some liked it, some didn’t.
One thing for sure, it definitely has been a topic of conversation.
Publishing an unsigned letter to the editor is not something we typically do. As a matter of policy, in order for a letter to the editor to be published in the newspaper, it has to be signed. By signing the letter, it shows the writer is serious enough to make his or her views public and to stand behind them. It’s too easy to take cheap shots when a letter is unsigned.
However, because of the exceptional circumstances, and after considerable internal discussion, we decided to publish the “Bubba” letter (Bubba was the fictitious name the writer used).
I had personally met the person who wrote the letter, and I talked to someone else who could vouch for the letter’s authenticity. So, we published the “Bubba” letter, with an editor’s note explaining why we did it.
I have heard from those who agreed with the decision to publish the letter, and I have heard from those who didn’t like that we printed the letter.
More than the question of whether the letter was signed or not signed, I think it was a case of whether people either agreed with the letter’s contents, or they didn’t.
There are many sides to this story, which centers around the closing of Love’s RV Park, just outside Meeker, at the end of this month. There’s the county’s position, there are the homeowners who live in the subdivision adjacent to the park, there are the residents of the RV park who have been forced to find a new place to live, and there are the Loves, Sam and Ginny, who own the park as well as the land for the subdivision.
A subplot in all of this is the community’s attitude toward outsiders, many who have moved into the area temporarily to fill the demand for workers in the pipeline industry.
I heard from one person, who is from here, who said she was disappointed in the way the community had responded to new people moving into the area. “As a long-time Meekerite, I never thought I would say this,” she said. “But I’m ashamed (of the way outsiders have been treated.)”
I’m sure there are examples of how locals have been unwelcoming, or how newcomers have been treated unfairly — one of the most common comments I hear is about rent gouging — just as I’m sure there are examples of how there are those in the community who have welcomed outsiders with open arms.
It cuts both ways.
On Saturday, I had a man walk up to me and shake my hand firmly. He said, somewhat sternly, “Are you that guy who has been writing those stories in the paper?”
He didn’t specify what stories he was referring to, but I had a pretty good idea I knew what he was talking about.
“Yes, I suppose I am,” I said, somewhat hesitatingly, not sure whether the man was genuinely upset or just messing with me.
“Well, keep it up,” he said, cracking a sly grin. “I’ve been here 40 years, and I still don’t feel like a local.”
In the short time I’ve been in Rio Blanco County, I’ve already had quite a few new experiences. One was the Ultimate Adventures event a couple of weeks ago at the Rangely rock crawling park.
That was a first for me. It also was one of the coolest things I’ve seen.
But I really had no idea what to expect, nor did I know for sure where I was going.
After asking around, I had a general idea of where the rock park was located, so I headed off in that direction.
I followed the road until I came upon where some other vehicles were parked. So, I decided that would be a good stopping-off point. I got out of my Jeep and started walking, following the road. Along the way, fortunately, I was met by Peggy Rector, who was coming from the direction of where the Ultimate Adventures — a 4×4 rock crawling event — was taking place.
I probably looked lost, but Peggy assured me I was headed in the right direction.
As I was talking with Peggy, a young guy (anybody under 45 is considered young to me), happened along in his souped-up black Ford Bronco. Peggy asked if he was headed to the rock crawling event, and he said he was, so Peggy asked the driver if he would give me a lift. Sure, he said.
So, I climbed into the Bronco.
The Bronco, by the way, had no doors. They had been removed. This was not your typical Ford Bronco.
The nice young driver was named Cliff, I think. Umm, that’s an interesting name, considering where we’re going. When the driver of the Bronco put on his seat belt, I immediately did the same. Not having any doors is a good reason to buckle up, I figured.
As we made our way toward the rock crawling park, the incline became steeper and steeper, and the rocks became bigger and bigger. I looked back and thought, that looks like a long way down. I didn’t say it, but I also wondered, “Do these off-road vehicles ever tip over?”
We neared the top, but we came to a place where the Bronco kept losing its tracking and couldn’t quite make it up and over, what seemed to me, to be a humongous boulder. As we were trying to scale the massive rock, with the hood of the Bronco pointed skyward, it felt like we might flip over backward. But despite making several different runs at the big rock, that was as far as we made it.
“I think I’ll get out here and walk the rest of the way up,” I said. “Thanks for the ride.”
I was happy to be back on solid ground.
Like a number of my buddies in high school, we enrolled in a home economics class. We did it, in part, as a prank, but also because, we had heard, cooking was involved, which meant there would be food.
I should have paid more attention in class.
Last year, was my parents’ 50th anniversary. It was an informal celebration, but I did buy a new shirt for the occasion. It became one of my favorite shirts.
That’s why I was sick when I pulled the shirt out of the dryer last week and noticed the black ink spots. Someone had left an ink pen in the dryer. Fortunately, I had only put the shirt in the dryer for a minute or two, and then took it out to finish hang drying.
I tried everything I could come up with to remove the ink spots. I asked my mom, who said she had heard milk was effective in removing stains. So, I tried milk. Someone at work suggested rubbing alcohol. So, I tried that. She also suggested baking soda, which I tried. Someone else at the office suggested nail polish remover, but I wasn’t about to be seen buying nail polish remover.
On my own, I tried using a bar of soap. However, when I rubbed the bar of soap on the area of the shirt with the stains, the ink bled through to the front of the shirt. When retelling the story to someone at the office, I was scolded for rubbing, instead of blotting. “You blot,” she said in a lecturing tone. “You don’t rub.”
It was obvious I had no idea what I was doing.
Despite my efforts, the ink stains, though somewhat faded, were still evident. But I wasn’t about to give up yet. So I went to the store in search of a miracle stain remover. While scouring the variety of stain removers on the shelves, I called a co-worker and asked, “Should I go with Zout, or should I try OxyClean?”
I could hear the co-worker’s sister laughing in the background, “Tell him to buy a new shirt,” she said.
I knew I should have paid more attention in home ec class.