Dear friends

  • Eddie Eastman and son Ben Eastman visited

    Greg Hanscom


Longtime subscribers Charlie and Shelley Calisher of Red Feather Lakes, Colo., a town smaller than Paonia, dropped by in mid-September after failing to catch fish on the Dolores River.

Writer Susan Tweit (a frequent contributor to these pages) and her husband, Richard Cabe, left a postcard on our door after hours, on their way back from a camping trip in Black Canyon National Park.

Ben Eastman, a Spanish teacher from Denver, Colo., came by with his mother, artist Eddie Eastman, who lives in nearby Hotchkiss. Also from Denver, longtime subscribers Gary and Anne Baker stopped in on their way to visit friends in Grand Junction.

On a recent Monday morning, we found a note tucked into the daily newspaper — "I stopped by today. Who works on Sunday? Nobody!" Frances Hagan, a longtime subscriber from Visalia, Calif., had come through town while vacationing in the Southwest.


Mike Zempter of Athens, Ohio, sent us this note: "I crossed the Utah-Nevada state line on Route 80 one day in late 1981. In the midst of the salt flat, there was a little diner and gas station right near the state line. The place was run by a couple about 60. It was an oasis. A necessary place in a sea of salt, like the truck stop at Sodom.

"The man in the little garage had posted a sign that praised the wisdom of keeping one’s mouth shut, but he was friendly, and I had coffee with him and his wife. I told them I felt like my soul had been born in that place, the salt flat, and so they offered to sell it to me.

"There was a tabloid-type paper there that night, and I keep a copy of it. It was called The Salt Flat News: The Only Paper In the World that Gives a Damn About The Salt Flat. I wonder sometimes if I am the only one who remembers the Salt Flat News. I wonder about the diner, if it is still standing.

"At least I know, now that I’ve run across the High Country News, that I am not the only one who gives a damn about the salt flat."

Inspired by our essay about spreading loved ones’ ashes in the Western landscape, reader Ken Moore of Aspen, Colo., wrote with a story of his own (HCN, 9/5/05: The meeting of heaven and earth). "Plane takes off with ashes. Gets to altitude over a peak. Open the plane door. Dump out the ashes, which get sucked back into the plane. Plane lands. Crew gets vacuum cleaner. Cleans plane cabin of ash residue. Plane takes off. Gets to altitude over a peak. Open the plane door. Toss out the vacuum cleaner."


We got our lawmakers tangled up in "Heard Around the West" (HCN, 11/14/05: Heard around the West). A story about a proposed Alaska bridge project referred to "Rep. Ted Young" but should have said Sen. Ted Stevens. Stevens thundered that he would resign in the Senate, not the House. And Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is also in the Senate rather than the House.

And apologies to Hal Rothman for introducing an error into his letter in the last issue. Southern Nevada has added 150,000 new residents since 2003, not 15,000.

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