Posts Tagged With: Colorado

Visting with Ghosts (1650 miles from WV to CO and back)

My trip home to attend my mother’s internment in my home town of Boulder Co. was like no other trip I have ever made. Returning to the mountains in Colorado, I not only said goodbye to someone I loved, but I spent much of my time revisiting childhood friends and reliving memories. I am not sure if everyone goes through similar feelings of joy and comfort when they experience a lifetime of memories and nostalgia but this trip was about visiting with the ghosts of my past and those of Colorado’s wild west history.

I am lucky to have found a man who also enjoys the history of the west, folk tails, museums, old houses, cemeteries and old friends. This trip was planned to incorporate visits to “Doc” Holiday’s, Kid Cassidy’s, Buffalo Bill’s, My Ex-inlaws and my mother and father’s graves and cemeteries. We road historic railways, we became silver miners for a day, we hiked to cemeteries, we toured historic homes, eat spicy Mexican food and laughed at stories of our youth. Several times I felt that we were in a movie about growing up in the 1980s when the only music on the radio was from my generation and faces from high school filled a table at a local pub.

Tom and I Colorado River

Tom and I resting on the shore of the Colorado River, Glenwood Springs, Co.

Somewhere between the kind words said about my mother at a toast in her honor, I floated away to a quiet place of sweetness and memories. A happy place where she was healthy, young and had a huge smile on her face. I like that image of her best, smiling and hugging me. Her ghost was there at the table with us, she was finally part of the parties that I was always going to in high school. She was the honored guest this time and took time to lean over each guest to let them know that they were always welcome to visit her as she played hostess like she always did in our home. Her ghost was happy and free and that night and so was I. The evening turned into a beautiful blending of the past and the present I will never forget how much love I felt in that pub that night! Thank you to everyone who took the time to come and those who sent well wishes during this challenging time.

Friends at Mikeoshea's

Some of my high school family. We are missing a few faces in the photo but I have never felt better about who I have called my friends over the years.

Memories and ghosts were tangible at the cemetery the next day. I looked for and found the family plots of my first husband, my aunt, uncle, and other extended family members all buried within yards of my parents.  It was nice to settle a debt that I had owed to them for the years that they all supported me through youth. It was wonderful to say thank you and place flowers and stones on their graves. Even the memories of my first marriage had less sting and more forgiveness for things that were never in my control. I said a prayer of peace to the crowd of ghosts that sounded me and the funeral of my mother. I knew I was surrounded by the love of my family and friends.

Family together at hotel

The Lowrey clan gathered together after my Mother’s internment.

During the service, my family joined together to say some wonderful things about my mom. We all shared memories of things we remembered about her. We placed things in her cremation box that meant something to us and sent her remains into the ground covered in her favorite flower, the yellow rose. It was not hard to let her go, it was the very best send off a woman who was trapped in a broken body tortured by Alzheimer’s could get. The relief we all felt about her transfiguration spilled into joy, laughter, and sweet storytelling.  It was the perfect afternoon with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild. We chatted as her spirit looked over our shoulders at photo albums and scrapbooks, she held her great-grandson on her lap and enjoyed his laughter. I even think I heard her laugh out loud at one of my brother’s corny jokes.  I hated to see her fade away as we walked to our truck after the gathering. With armloads of memories stuffed in overfull boxes, I stopped to say goodbye to my family. Fully knowing that the matriarch of my family, the roots, that kept us together, was gone and we could possibly scatter like leaves in the wind. I felt something shift and knew that I wanted to be sure that did not happen. She had worked too hard to watch the family get distant.

The following day we traveled to Georgetown Co. in search of silver mines and train rides. The day was full of historical adventures, Christopher got to spend time on the Georgetown Loop train and take an extended tour in the Lebanon Silver Mine. The Georgetown Loop was completed in 1884 as a way for miners and their cargo to move up and down the 2 miles of steep incline between Georgetown and Silverplume Co. In the end, the train travels 3 miles of track to reach its final destination only 2 miles away, with a short trip around the loop over the canyon and Clear Creek river. In between the two depots, there are two historic silver mines that visitors can tour to learn more about the lives of miners at the turn of the century. So this was a welcome cool spot on a 99-degree day in Denver.

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Georgetown Loop Train

High bridge of Georgetown loop

The high bridge over clear creek river Georgetown Co

We even learned about Tommyknockers and Dragon’s Blood, which were often found in mines.  Tommyknockers may very well be the spirits of dead miners looking out for living miners with their tricks. Christopher believes he heard one on our tour… poping and cracking the roof of the silver mine. We also found what miners called Dragons Blood. Where silver ore tarnishes and leaches through the walls. It is said that if you fallow the Dragon’s Blood it would lead you to his guarded treasure. In fact, the myth is somewhat true because often where there was silver tarnish leaking through the walls you would find a silver seam in the mine. It also meant that you might pay with your life if you tried to take the Dragon’s Treasure.

We also learned the average life expectancy of a silver miner in Colorado in the late 1890s was 36 years old….Let that one sink in for a minute…. My husband would have been dead almost 20 years by now. Leaving many woman widows before they even turned 40. What sad dark lives the Welsh immigrants lived to come to American and start a new life for their children.

That evening and the next two days we spent in Glenwood Springs, Co. hunting down the grave and museum of “Doc” Holliday my favorite dentist, gunman, and gambler. It was a nice hike to the Linwood Cemetery averaging about and 1 and 1/4 miles all uphill. ( I thought I was going to die, not enough oxygen at about 5,800 ft above sea level).  With beautiful views of the town of Glenwood Springs and the Colorado River. The cemetery is old for Colorado standards many of the graves are from the late 1800s and many are miners. TheDoc Holliday’s gravesite is covered with coins, cards, cigars, and roses, making a testament to his popularity even today.

The only disappointment was the paid entry to what is called the Doc Holliday museum. With only one item that might have belonged to him (a derringer pistol), it was not worth the $5 dollars to see in my opinion. The rest of the room in filled with other information and items from the same time period. So we did read new articles written about him and see other guns from the time period but sadly nothing that really struck me as impressive.

While in town we did stop at a local history museum in a 1905 downtown home. We enjoyed looking at the antiques from the turn of the century and learning about local history. The Frontier History Museum of Glenwood Springs has a wonderful collection of items including one of President Teddy Roosevelt’s saddles that he used bear hunting in Colorado.

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Christopher and Tom look at the gravesite of William F Cody AKA Buffalo Bill. 

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Close up of grave of Buffalo Bill Cody

 

Then we headed to Golden Co. to visit with longtime friends and to see the gravesite of Buffalo Bill Cody and his museum. The collection of items here is huge and very complete for the same $5 dollars you get ten times the exhibits and information then at the Doc Holliday Museum. You also can walk to a Jefferson County Nature Center and visit the Boettcher Mansion. A 1917  Craftsman/ Tudor style home that is often open to the public and free. Where they rent the building for weddings and other large events.

The gravesite of William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) is on the top of Lookout Mountain in Golden, Co. It allows you a wide panorama view of not only Golden and Denver, but East into the grasslands of Colorado, and West to the peaks of Breckenridge and others ( my camera freaked out and I lost all the shots I took from the observation area of Lookout Mountain). The grave is part of a large poured cement patio with a grave covered in raw white quartz. Very traditional in the area to decorate an ugly cement topped graves with local stone and a granite headstone. My grandmothers’ cemetery has a couple graves marked this way. Buffalo Bill’s grave is usually covered in coins, most often a buffalo nickel. We added nickels without buffalos and a penny to the collection saying a prayer for Buffalo Bill and the cities of Boulder and Denver and those that surround the mountain for peace and prosperity.

By the end of our trip up Lookout Mountain, it was time to meet up with a friend for lunch. The amount of traffic and regional construction change made me wonder if I had ever lived in Golden at all. I was lost and thought we would never find our restaurant. Finally finding the El Amigo restaurant, I fell back into a time and place of wondering through memories and felt at ease. Laughter came easy and the warmth of my friend made me relax. I had worried that somehow I would be judged after all these years. I was in some way still being the scared high school girl that I had left behind 3 decades ago. The discovery was that I was not being judged at all but again supported in my dreams and passions was the most comforting thing I have ever experienced.

Nick and I

Nick Plumber and I out to lunch and sharing stories. 

I put to rest, so many worries, fears, and uncertainties, on this trip that I know that I will never be the same. I am better for knowing each and everyone one of my high school friends. I am healthier because I have a wonderful family, who supported me on this adventure of healing. I am stronger for letting go of the people and things I don’t need anymore. I am freer because I have finally become the person I worked for all these years to become.

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Jolynn Powers in front of a huge sagebrush plant. Glenwood Springs Co. 

So when I am asked if It was hard and sad to go home for my mother’s funeral I have to honestly say “NO!, it was a wonderful time. It was the best gift she has ever given me and I am so happy she is free!” I just wait for the confused look on the face of people who do not understand that I like visiting with ghosts and smile broadly.

 

Categories: About me, ageing, Buffalo Bill, Change, Christopher, Death, Doc Holliday, Family, family memories, Healing, historic locations, Home, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holidays Without Our Parents

So,every adult child has to go through this at least once and some of us have to face it 4 or more times if you are married. It is the day you realize that you will not have a Mother or Father around for the holidays.That you are grown up and you have lost the one or two people in your life that you look up too.  This is the first full year after losing my Mother In Law and one of many years since Tom and I have both lost fathers. The Holidays feel different without them and we feel that we have lost the key to our holiday celebrations.

I think I was in shock last Thanksgiving.I do not even remember what we eat and even if we did  eat… some how I just blanked it all out from Oct 22nd to New Years day. I remember the tree and the kids opening gifts and making breakfast for my family but not much more. I was a stay at home mom then… what did I do for three months??

It seems that this fall the reminder of the loss is tangible. It is harder this year, I can’t call up and ask a questions about how to make stuffing, from the father who has been gone 25 years. The holiday craft making for Sunday School kids is just a distant memory. Christmas cookies and candy over flowing from my mother’s kitchen is no more and I wonder how we will continue as adults. Children suffer deeply with the loss of a grandparent or step grandparent,but I wonder if they feel the loss as long as the adults.The pain lingers for years as we share dinners, gifts and reminders that the person is gone. They are not replaced by thoughts of a new toy,an exciting movie or by the first boy friend or girl friend.

The reply to my heart-break most often is “make  your own memories and traditions” share them with the children. The logic seems to work until you realize how many of us do not have children or have only one.The family dynamic has changed and we don’t always have younger siblings or children share the traditions with.

In my case shopping at the mall is nothing compared to the years I spent making cookies with my mother in our kitchen.Tom still misses opening day of deer season with his Dad and Thanksgiving is not the same without having everyone together for dinner at his parents house. My husband and I still continue to share both of those traditions with our own children and try to pass down those memories to them so nothing is lost.

It is tough doing “Adult”sometimes.I guess we keep moving forward the best we can and at times just fall apart when we finally realize that times change and we can’t stop them.Loss is part of living and being a grown up is all we can do. As Dory says” Just Keep Swimming”.

I am finding it hard to be excited for the Holidays this year,even with the little ones around. I will do my best to make our home warm and inviting and we will have friends and family here.The kids will spend time together and we will eat well. But in my heart there will still be an empty chair at our table. I will spend a few minutes remembering and giving thanks for those we have been lucky to know and love,but Thanksgiving is going to be tough this year. empty-chair-at-thanksgiving

 

Categories: About me, childhood memories, Colorado, Family, grandma, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

A Liebster Award nomination

Me like most of my blogging friends, I do not write my blog as a way to get awards or acclaim. I write to make friends, to share great information about topics, places and events that interest me. I also write this blog as a form of a diary. I lost my father young and have always wondered about him and his view of the world and what knowledge he could have shared. So my writing is a way to share with my children and grandchild a little about who I am. So when I get awards, even a simple award, I find it strange and funny.I never think that someone out their likes my stories and finds them worth reading. I want to thank my Friends at Cheese Acres Farm for my nomination for the Leibster Award. Please stop and hit their link to learn more .liebsterblogaward This award helps show case the blogs that I fallow and helps promote the small blogs with around 200 or less followers. Most of them you will find on Word Press but I do have some blogging friends around the glob that use other blog sites also.With receiving the Liebseter I was given a list of 11 questions to answer about my self and this blog to allow all of you to get to know me better.

1. Have you always lived in the state/ province that you are now in?    Answer:  No, I grew up at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder Colorado, lived several places including a short time over seas in Germany and ended up in the Appalachian mountains of  north central West Virginia and have been here about 20 years.

2. How did I get my farm/ homestead/ blog name?   Answer:  From a friend, JD Wissinger, who wrote on my Facebook Page that I was a Mountain Mama. We joked that I was a John Denver fan grew up in Colorado and lived in WV  making me alot like his songs so it just stuck.

3. Do I or my family eat out much? Do I try to cook while traveling?  Answer: No, not unless traveling… but I do love pizza out, and a good seafood meal now and again.

4. What varieties of critters do I own?  Answer: Sable rabbits is the only animal that I own for now, but have owned dogs, cats, chickens, horses, goats, mice, turtles, fish, frogs, gerbils, in the past.

5. Is their any animals you want but have do not have yet? Answer: yes, I hope to get a puppy next year. My husband wants to get a Germany short hair pointer.

6. What is your favorite season?  Answer: Fall in a hardwood forest is breath-taking.

7. Are you a morning or evening person?  Answer: nether I am an afternoon person… I don’t like getting up before 7 am and don’t like staying up past 11 pm.

8. Who does that cooking at your house? Answer: Me although I do get help from the family.

9. Are you a go with the flow person or a plan it out kinda person? Answer: I go with the flow baby!

10. How long have you been a blogger? about two years but only one on the WordPress platform.

11. Why did you start your blog? Well for the a couple of reasons, first I wanted to share what my family loved to do and see if I could  eventually make a living from it. I also wanted to save the memories we made for the future generations of our family.

 

My random 11 facts are as fallows.

1. I love classic rock and have seen Pink Floyd in concert.

2. My favorite food is pasta, and it shows.

3. I love to read historical fiction novels.

4. I lead a reading group in our small town.

5. I have always wanted to travel to Ireland.

6. I love farm fresh, eggs.

7. I love second-hand stores.

8. I doodle while talking on the phone.

9. just bought my first ATV last month.

10. I hate folding laundry.

11. my favorite hobby is mushroom hunting.

 

Now I will  share with you 11 blogs that I fallow and love that have around 200 or less followers. So here are some of my favorite undiscovered blogs. I think this list is really more a reflection of when I started following each blog then a favorites list . One of the first blogs I ever followed was Homestead Dad and it is one that I still fallow faithfully.

Strange Remains

Wild Forage

Growing Stories

Gather and Grow

The Hunters Widow 

Molly in the Mountains

Hunt/Fish/Play 

A Random Harvest 

Deliciouspotager

Eat the Season

Homestead Dad

 

Now that I have shared some of my favorite blogs I hope that you take the time to look a few over and find more wonderful people who are writing about their corner of the world.Then the next step is for me to pass this award on to the bloggers listed above and hope that they know how much I enjoy what they do. If they want to pass along the award they just need to fallow these steps.

 

– Acknowledge the blogger who nominated them and display the award symbol.

–  Answer the eleven questions that the nominator gives you.

– Give 11 random facts about yourself.

– Nominate 11 blogs that you think are deserving( that have less than 200 followers) try not to renominated people who have  already been given the award.

– Feel free to pass on the this award if you do not have time for it.

– Let all the bloggers know you nominated them.

Give them 11 questions to answer.

 

So if  you feel like you have time to participate in this award  here are my eleven questions for you!

1.  Where were you born?

2. What is your favorite food?

3. What is your favorite season?

4. What is your favorite Hobby ( besides blogging)

5. What kind of home do you live in?

6. What kind of animals do you have?

7. Have you always liked writing ?

8. When did you start blogging?

9. Why did you start blogging?

10. Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?

11. Are you married or single?

I  have found a wonderful group of friends with blogging and I hope you can share some of your favorite blogs too.

Categories: About me, awards, blogging, hobbies | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

The advice I gave my Daughter in law about winter driving that applies to so much more

Photo of Boulder Colorado thanks to Alex Smits Photography.com

Photo of Boulder Colorado thanks to Alex Smits Photography.com

Growing up at the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder Colorado where is seems that winter lasts 6 months of the year, we all got lots of practice driving in snow and slush. I admit, I was a very timid and stressful winter driver in my youth, but I did learn something after a few winters under my belt. The most important and what I shared with my daughter in law this last week was learning to NOT be a white knuckle driver. I am not sure if this a common expression or is just what my mother called it. The white knuckle driver is one who  holds the steering wheel so tight that the knuckles on the back of you hands turn white from the grip that you have on the wheel. Where you are so afraid of what is happening on the road that the tension is visible all over your body. Most young drivers experience this while learning to drive and it passes only to return when winter weather reappears. So when I am feeling stressed behind the wheel in the winter, I still to this day, I take a deep breath  and play this song in my head to remind myself what to do.

38 Special… “Hold On Loosely”

If you choose not to see the video  I still want to share with you the chorus with you so that you understand what is that I am trying to get at.  ” Just hold on loosely, but don’t let go, if you cling to tightly to her, you’re gonna lose control”. This is a simple way for me to force myself to slow down, take a deep breath and stop white knuckling my way through life.

snow covered road by Jeff Cook.

snow-covered road by Jeff Cook.

38 Special  wrote and preformed the song with a love affair in mind, but I like to take the idea and expand it to life in general.  How often have we all smothered our loved ones, our children or choked off other opportunities in our lives because we were to afraid to just let life happen. We are terrified that we would not be able to handle the results of a life lived in the present. We do not believe in ourselves enough to handle what life was giving us. I was guilty of this much of my youth.

I wanted all the details of everyone’s lives. I had to check in with my friends a million times a day. I worried that if I wasn’t part of what was happening then something terrible would happen. Well guess what, terrible things happen everyday, all across the world, in my town and yours, to people we love and those we do not know at all and it happens with or without us. The reality is that we really have very little control over the weather, our friends, family or at times our own health. So it is by choice that I have tried to stop letting worry control my happiness.

Instead of worrying about everything that happens in my life I have learned, as the song says,” To Hold On Loosely, But Not Let Go”. To allow for the bumps in the road and the twists and turns that we all experience without totally losing my way in the world. Age gives you insight to realize that there is really nothing that you can not over come in your life if you are willing to just Hold On, Not Give Up and Try Again.

So to my Daughter In Law I said  “Try not to white knuckle all the fun out of life by trying to control the things that you can’t”. Don’t lose your balance and happiness because the fear of losing something or someone.We all lose it is part of life, but you can keep your sense of happiness if you just remember to ” Take a deep breath, go slow and hold on loosely but don’t let go”.

I am sure that our conversation about winter driving made sense to her it is easy to understand The  other part about not doing the same for her family, friends and future may have made her think that I was just crazy, I just hope when the time comes in her life that she will think back on this song and find some solace there.

toms truck on a snowy road near old house

toms truck on a snowy road near old house

Categories: Colorado, family memories, music, rock music, snow, winter driving | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Peaceful Death

snowing in a pine

 

When I die take me home, to cold mountain air and songs that sing through the pines.
Take me home, to  a wide  open sky and crisp freshly fallen snow.
Spread my ashes across a high range and let me blow in the wind.
Take me home so I can join the deer and elk in their migrations.
Take me home to join the circle again.

Losing my father in law yesterday was hard, but I am relived to know that he died at home in his town with his family around him. I feel comforted that he was at Peace.

Categories: Colorado, Death, Family, poem | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

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