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A couple of weeks ago, I received an unexpected phone call.
I was on the phone at the office when I noticed my cell phone vibrating. I saw it was my oldest daughter’s boyfriend who was calling.
Hmm, I thought, this is a first. I don’t think I’ve ever had my daughter’s boyfriend — his name is Tyson — call me before.
Tyson left a voice mail saying he had something he wanted to talk to me about. Again, that got me to thinking. The thought crossed my mind: I wondered if the reason he might be calling was to talk to me about my daughter. Specifically, to ask me about marrying my oldest daughter.
After I completed my phone call for work, I tried calling Tyson back, but it was his turn to be unavailable, so I left a message.
The delay only served to make me more curious about the purpose of Tyson’s phone call. Eventually, we made connections.
My daughter’s birthday was coming up the next week, which, of course, I was aware of, and, confirming my suspicions, Tyson told me he wanted to surprise her with a marriage proposal. But first, he said, he wanted to ask for my blessing.
My first thought was, this was a stand-up thing for him to do. It meant a lot to me, as a father, that Tyson would value my opinion enough to ask for my blessing before proposing to my oldest daughter.
Of course, I told him, you got it.
Tyson and Carrie — my oldest daughter — have been together for a few years now and I’ve seen how good they seem to be for each other, which is what I told him.
“Do you think she will say yes?” Tyson asked me.
“I don’t think you have to worry about that,” I told him. “She will say yes.”
I thanked Tyson for calling me and told him I appreciated the gesture and respected him for doing it.
“I know how important it will be to Carrie to have you walk her down the aisle,” he said. “I want you to know I’ll treat her right.”
Before we got off the phone, Tyson asked me not to say anything to Carrie’s mom about his plans, because he wasn’t sure if she could keep the secret. I found out later, Tyson hadn’t even told his own parents. I was the only person he had told.
Originally, Carrie and Tyson had plans to go out to dinner at a nice restaurant last Tuesday night, but those plans got changed because of their schedules, and they switched it to Thursday night.
As time went by, it got harder not to tell anybody about the exciting news. I did share it with people at the newspaper office and a few other close friends, but I couldn’t say anything to my three other children or to my parents. My folks live in the same town in Kansas where Carrie lives.
Then last Wednesday afternoon, I got a phone call from my oldest daughter telling me that she and Tyson were finally going to get to go out to eat for her birthday later that night.
“That will be nice,” I told her, knowing what was in store for her. But she had no clue.
As the evening wore on, I kept looking at the clock on my cell phone, checking the time and wondering when I would hear from my daughter. Then, a few minutes before 7 my time, I received a text message from Carrie.
“Dad, you’ve been keeping a secret from me,” she said.
“Yeah, that’s been hard. I’m excited for you,” I responded.
“Thanks, daddy! I’m very shocked. It was very unexpected.”
“You happy?” I asked.
“I’m very happy. I hope you are, too,” she said.
“I’m thrilled,” I said.
“You said yes then?” I asked, just to make sure.
“Well, yeah! He’s perfect for me!” Carrie said.
“I agree,” I said. “Talked about when?”
“Oh, wow, at least a year.”
“Walking down the aisle, you and me, babe,” I said.
“Oh, my gosh, don’t make me cry,” Carrie said. “I still gotta eat!”
With that, I let my daughter finish her dinner. She had just turned 22 a few days before, and now she was engaged. It will be a night she will always remember.
So will I.
• • • • •
Ethel Starbuck will soon have her first photography exhibit at the Meeker Public Library, which features exhibits by local artists on a rotating basis. The exhibit is supposed to be ready in the new week or two.
The following is a prepared statement about Ethel and her photography:
“Mrs. Ethel Starbuck is well known in the Meeker community as a beloved teacher who inspired generations of business students. She can be equally applauded for her lifelong commitment to outstanding photography and pursuit of continued excellence in her photographic skills.
“Ethel Starbuck has been a serious photographer since high school and continues to produce stunning photos on a daily basis. Being one of Rio Blanco’s senior citizens has not deterred her ability to capture unique images through her lens.
“As well, Ethel is a reminder to us all that the learning process never ends. She has continued photography classes with Dale Hallebach through our community college for many years, learning new techniques and transitioning from film to digital processes. You will often find her studying photography magazines and manuals, adding to her vast repertoire of technical expertise.
“Her photographic interests include a broad range of subjects including FFA projects, high school sports, landscapes, animals, flowers, people, and more recently equine, ranching, and historical places.
“A member of the prestigious Photographic Society of America, Ethel has the distinction of being recognized with a few awards by the Colorado chapter. Her annual Christmas cards featuring our local treasures are cherished items.
“Moving to Colorado in 1922 as a young child with her recently widowed mother and siblings, Ethel lived in the Denver area where her mother painted backdrops for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, plus taught adult art classes. Ethel has lived in Meeker since 1941, where she raised two children, Gene Starbuck and Paula Armstrong, with her late husband, Paul. Today, she is a proud grandmother and great-grandmother.
“Please enjoy this special, first solo exhibition of Ethel Starbuck’s photography.”
I might add, Ethel is one of the nicest people you’d ever meet. She always has a smile on her face.
• • • • •
While checking out at the photography entries on exhibit at the Rio Blanco County Fair, a bystander asked me, “Would you be considered a professional photographer?”
“Well, I don’t know,” I said. “But I do get paid.”
• • • • •
I never like a conversation that starts out with, “You had a mistake in your paper.”
Turns out Roaring Fork High School is in Carbondale, not in Glenwood Springs.
Hey, what can I say? I’m still learning my Colorado towns and cities. At least Carbondale is close to Glenwood Springs.
• • • • •
Paul Martin is no longer the minister at the Church of Christ in Meeker, and his wife and daughter have left town.
Paul’s wife, Vanessa, and the couple’s two children were involved in a two-vehicle accident on Highway 13, just outside of Meeker, on Jan. 19. Stone Martin, 9, died the next day from injuries he suffered in the crash. Alahna Martin, 12 at the time, spent three weeks in the hospital recovering from multiple injuries.
Paul Martin’s father, Jerry, had also previously been the minister at the Church of Christ in Meeker.
• • • • •
Pioneers Medical Center has added a new doctor, and the search continues for a permanent CEO, to replace Bob Omer, whose resignation took effect Feb. 28.
“The CEO search continues, and the PMC Board of Directors and Quorum Health Services (the hospital management company conducting the search) are reviewing applicants and hope to have an on-site interview later this month,” said Ken Huey, the hospital’s interim CEO.
Omer continues to serve on the Meeker Town Board.
• • • • •
There was a strong political buzz around Meeker last week, which attracted a lot of attention. Crews from both PBS and the BBC were in town to cover a Tea Party cookout, which included an appearance by Ken Buck, the district attorney from Weld County who was running for the U.S. Senate, and a surprise visit by Dan Maes, Republican gubernatorial candidate.
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, the Democratic candidate for governor, who had made a campaign stop in Meeker earlier in the day, was also invited to the Tea Party event, but didn’t make it.
“Yes, I called Reed Kelley (local Democratic activist) and asked him to invite Mayor Hickenlooper to our cookout. Reed left me a message (I didn’t talk to him in person) that John was scheduled to speak in Craig and Steamboat … but he appreciated the invitation,” said Lois Sampson, one of the organizers of the Meeker Tea Party group.
• • • • •
Emily Holmes of Meeker, one of the out-numbered registered Democrats in the overwhelmingly Republican-dominated Rio Blanco County, was one of the 40 some people who turned out last week to hear what Hickenlooper had to say.
“If he does for Colorado what he did for Denver … he’ll be OK,” Holmes said of the Denver mayor.
• • • • •
The town of Meeker’s case against business owner Harry Watt over a sign ordinance was continued until Aug. 20 to allow for the municipal judge (Laurie Noble of Rangely) “to check calendars for setting a trial date and coming up with a schedule for any pre-trial motions,” said Jerry Viscardi, attorney for the town of Meeker.
Viscardi said he expected the case to go to trial “probably by the end of October, unless there are continuances.”
• • • • •
Local royalty will be honored Friday at a barbecue recognizing past Range Call queens.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at City Park in Meeker.
All past Range Call Royalty queens are invited to attend. Here’s a list of the past queens:
1948-Deloris Pollard; 1949-Mary Boise Norell; 1950-Veyon Robbins Wagner; 1951-Marsha Fredricks; 1952-?; 1953?; 1954-Sandy Amick Bradfield; 1955-Sandy Amick Bradfield; 1956-Patty Johnson; 1957-Eva Jean Pilkington; 1958-Jean Robbins; 1959-Patty Johnson; 1960-Sally Watt Smith; 1961-Judy Green; 1962-Sandy Amick Bradfield; 1963-Marie Anderson; 1964-Vicky Spence Kirkpatrick; 1965-Karen Joslyn Stick; 1966-Charlotte Sizemore Mobley; 1967-Diana Amick Watson; 1968-Kay Brennan Bumgardner; 1969-Arlene Gentry Estes; 1970-Sally Lou Johnson Shults; 1971-Vicky Halmark; 1972-Cora Gentry; 1973-Janet Prockup Dole; 1974-Renee Theos Neilson; 1975-Leslie Coley; 1976-Tami Anderson; 1977-Marci Kracht; 1978-Colleen Watson; 1979-Karen Jo Miller; 1980-Kim Stagner; 1981-Thena Collins; 1982-Faye Hutchinson; 1983-Lynn Stewart Carrol; 1984-Jackie Stewart Davis; 1985-Kelly Griffin; 1986-Becca Mobley Nielsen; 1987-Karla Seely Sullivan; 1988-Angie Brough Wren; 1989-Beth Ann Jones Parsons; 1990-Cindy Johnson Grady; 1991-Bobbie Jordan Fiscus; 1992-Trina Stout Smith; 1993-Lori Johnson Fowle; 1994-Lori Johnson Fowle; 1995-Velvet Kenney; 1996-Sharalee Guise; 1997-Kelcee Milton Vroman; 1998-Beth Huff Brugger; 1999-Miranda Jackson; 2000-Roxie Long-Leischer; 2001-Tanya Gilbert; 2002-Katie Slawson; 2003-Kari Nielsen Brennan; 2004-Katie Lewis; 2005-Christina Amick Craig; 2006-Dixie Baughman; 2007-Timbre Shriver; 2008-None; 2009-Denee Chintala; 2010-Denee Chintala; and 2011-Kaysyn Chintala.
For more information, contact Kari Brennan, a past Range Call Royalty queen, in 2003. She can be reached at 878-4091.
• • • • •
Congratulations to everyone who was involved in putting on the Rio Blanco County Fair. It’s such a great small-town event, and it brings together residents from both ends of the county.
I may be from the city, but the fair is one of my favorite events to cover. Kids and animals — you can’t beat ’em as far as a great photo op.
• • • • •
Also, congratulations to all of the local candidates who competed in the two contested political races in the county — commissioner and coroner. There were three candidates — all Republicans — for both positions. They all ran a good race.
The two comments I most frequently heard throughout the campaign were: The races were too close to call, and people were glad they had a choice of candidates to choose from.
• • • • •
Recently, I was hauling boxes of inserts to the basement of the Hugus Building in Meeker, which is where we insert the paper early on Thursday mornings, when I noticed the window was down on a friend’s vehicle that was parked in the alley. It looked like it was going to rain, so I thought I would see if he had left his keys in his vehicle. Sure enough he had, so I raised the window, in case it started raining.
Later, I found out I had accidentally locked the friend’s vehicle — with the keys inside. And, by the way, it never did rain.
So much for trying to do a good deed.
• • • • •
Fall is definitely in the air. I actually saw my breath when I let my dog outside Tuesday morning.
Classes start at Rangely schools next week, and they start the week after that in Meeker. Classes at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely start Aug. 23.
Where did the summer go?