Friday, October 30, 2009
This old house was not just lumber and nails it was a treasure chest that held the memories of pioneers, teachers, Moms and Dads, brothers and sisters, yes it was my treasure chest. A place where ear aches were cured with warm towels warmed in a cast iron stove and gently stoked with the hands of a worried Mother. A place where real buried treasure was found between the many layers of wall covering and early tokens from local merchants of days when the stagecoach rolled across the San Juan's, lay in the ground underneath. The old chicken coup also held its own treasures, found between the walls was a 1879 Springfield rifle barrel without the stock.
This was a gathering place for high school boys and girls to bring their friends and be part of our family. No one ever need worry about a place to warm their hands on a cold snowy day or place to lay their head to rest as long as the Willett's lived there.
A room in back served as my Dad's printing shop, a place where he felt at peace no matter the time of day. For a time there was a chicken coup out back but gave way to a place to park a car, called a garage. As young boy, I once thought it would be brave to steal a chicken or two but figured the safest hunt would be in my own back yard. Dad told me years later of watching my antics from the window upstairs. Once he even watched me attempt to get out of a ditch in front where new water pipes were being laid, he never told my Mother of his drunk son trying to get home.
Christmas in the 1950's and 60's were always filled with joy around this old house. Months and years of Mother and Dad searching and designing just the right yard decoration to put in the yard for the enjoyment of all who passed by always brought some new excitement to Lewis street. Nothing was put out that was not hand made except for the lighting.
The old house became quite lonely as time passed, my brothers and I all became sons of Uncle Sam and set out to protect this country from what ever evil lurked. Even though the folks were left alone they always found some one in need of place to stay and took in a young girl to live with them until she finished high school.
Seeing the changes that have taken place leaves very little resemblance to the place I grew up, its amazing what money can do, my only regret is that my parents never reached the mountain top of wealth to enjoy the grandeur in their last years.
The old home is now a bed and breakfast, listed on the web as www.lewisand4th.com,
Friday, October 9, 2009
It was nice to return my roots not as a disgruntled ex resident but as a tourist out to enjoy the beauty of this wonderful country. One of the reasons I wanted to venture back to the San Juan mountains of Colorado was visit my older brother and to visit the family plot where my other brother was recently laid to rest.
Our first night on the road found us in Flagstaff AZ where after feasting on some of the best home cooking at the Cracker Barrel restaurant we settled in at the near by Econo Lodge. The following day we stopped by the four corners monument to take a few snapshots of the place where four states meet. We were then on our way to Durango Co. where we were looking forward to an adventure of riding the narrow guage railroad train to Silverton.
Although I had ridden the train many years ago I really didn't recollect what was in store on the journey. It was a cool fall morning as we waited along with all the other tourists to board a train back into the past. We were seated in a car named the "San Juan" witch was really appropriate for this area. AS the old train whistle began to sound the departure and the smoke and steam began to rise, our anxiety also rose. The old locomotive slowly pulled away and headed out towards the mountains with a back and forth motion that would shake our insides for another three hours.
Like so many others aboard our eyes were focused on all the splendor of the changing colors of the landscape. With our cameras snapping as many scenes as we could capture, each mile became more beautiful. As the old train made its way along the mountain wall with rivers and gorges below we were at awe how such a feat could be accomplished to lay the tracks in such a place.
The little of town Silverton was a bustling place, awaiting the arrival of all the tourist to spread their money around. Since only a two hour lay over is allotted between train departures the local restaurants witch appear to be many are rushing to feed the hungry travelers.
Our next adventure took us to my home town roots of Pagosa Springs. The little town I once called home was now a city with all the amenities of any large city along with price tag. Our old home is now a Bed and Breakfast, its a beautiful place now with hardly any resemblance of the past. We enjoyed visiting with family and touring the area, even took photos of deer that have decided its better to live in town. My brother is very much involved with the American Legion and we took in a bingo game with him where he was charge of the concessions.