After more than 200 episodes and nearly five years, Kathryn Eastburn has decided to retire The Middle Distance. It has been a pleasure to work with Kathryn, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors, whatever they may be. If you've enjoyed reading/hearing her column over the years, we hope you'll join us in thanking her in the comment section below.
This cold January, Mama keeps the heat cranked up to 73 and only goes outside to put out the mail. She’s down to less than 90 pounds, her weight about the same as her age, but she still glides around on her little cat feet from chore to chore, all day long, every day. By the time I get up in the morning she has already unloaded the dishwasher, brought in the newspaper and read it, made the coffee and warmed up the biscuits.
The little sorrel mare plunges joyfully through the powdery drifts, like a carousel horse freed from its pole. Her shaggy winter coat is frosted with snow and when she pauses at the hilltop, she snorts steam and her sides heave with the effort. Yet, she tugs at the reins, seems eager to push on.
But not yet.
The view from here needs to be savored – silvery snow and dark evergreens are cast against the blue-jay sky over the Rocky Mountains near Granby.
The plan was to fly, but at the last minute I decided to drive instead. I’d set aside a month to visit my mother on the Texas Gulf coast over Christmas and into the new year, and I reasoned it would be good to have my car for the month in Galveston, if the mechanic deemed it roadworthy for the 2,500-mile round trip.
There’s at least one way to have a blast of snowy fun without even standing up. And that’s tucked into a sled, sitting behind a team of yapping, churning, happy Huskies.
Dog-sledding has become increasingly popular in many Colorado mountain towns and ski areas as a different way to explore the winter wilderness. So whether or not you can ski or snowshoe, you can park your butt in a sled and let someone else do the work while you enjoy the scenery.
Planning a trip for 2015, but need to watch your budget? Consider visiting a destination in its off-season, when airfares and hotel rates are lowest. You may have to deal with less-than-perfect weather, but there are compensations.
Here are some places to visit in their off-season, where you might just find travel bargains.
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is in full swing, with half a dozen different entertainments on tap. Speaking of taps, Denver’s famous for its fine micro-breweries, so tip one before the show.
This time of year, you can find Santa Claus in every mall in America. In department stores and even discount stores. Ringing bells and coddling toddlers. But if you want the real Santa experience, you need to visit him where he lives.
The tree lights twinkle silently on Christmas morning in our Kentucky living room. Beneath the lowest limbs, glassy-eyed baby dolls, circa 1960, lounge among piles of soft new pajamas and socks, awaiting the arms of three little girls.
I believe these are the happiest days of my mother’s life, when she sees us with our new dolls. It’s true that we asked for them, but in a roundabout way.
“What do you want Santa to bring you?” she asks.
“A football and shoulder pads,” says my older sister.
Scott Freiman is a composer, producer, and creator of the lecture series, “Deconstructing The Beatles.” He’ll be at Colorado College tomorrow night to deliver a lecture from this series entitled, “A Trip Through Strawberry Fields,” which tells the story of the groundbreaking Beatles song, "Strawberry Fields Forever." Colorado College English Professor Steven Hayward spoke with Freiman about the lecture, and about how the music of this iconic band changed popular culture forever.
For a landmark wedding anniversary one December, we did what many people do to celebrate an accomplishment. We went to Disney World.
We always meant to take the kids, but somehow it didn’t happen. And, actually, it wasn’t our idea. We thought Florida in December sounded good, and planned to visit relatives, among other things. They suggested spending a day at the theme park.
Disney, without kids, we asked? Sure, they said. People (like them) do it all the time!
It is nearly mid-December and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Lights twinkle on wreathes; shiny red bows crown doorways; cartoon reindeer and snowmen and Santas grin cheerfully from festive store windows.
The darkest day of the year approaches, the winter solstice, and candles in windows flicker against the black night.
The flotilla of fat blue and yellow inner tubes sorts itself into single file as we enter the first of five tunnels on our downhill journey through former irrigation ditches on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i.
The waterway’s banks are lined with tropical blossoms tucked into mosses and ferns. Sunlight flickers through the forest canopy.
In the tunnel, our tubes bounce off each other and the walls like blind bumper boats, causing them to spin uncontrollably, twirling downhill in the tepid water.
This week Colorado lost one of its finest native sons, but not really. Kent Haruf — born in Pueblo, raised on the eastern plains, schooled in Canon City and most recently a resident of Salida — died at his home last Sunday, but his legacy remains in the books he left behind.
Nearly every wall of my mother’s house is lined with tables, bookcases, or a chest with drawers. And every time I come for a stay, I go through all of those drawers, one at a time.
Before the sun is up, Mama picks up the morning newspaper from the front porch, then pads down the carpeted hallway and pulls my bedroom door closed so I can sleep a little longer and she can fix her breakfast in peace. She feeds the dog a fried egg and makes a half pot of weak coffee, then reads the Galveston Daily News from front to back, clipping a recipe or a coupon if there’s a good one.
Thanksgiving automatically brings to mind all the stories we learned in school about how the Pilgrims came to America in search of religious freedom, landed on Plymouth Rock and were saved from starvation by friendly Indians.
Much of what we think we know is wrong. Or at least off-kilter.
“The story we get about the Pilgrims was actually constructed by the Victorians, after the Civil War,” says Kathleen Curtin, former historian at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Mass.
On an end table in my living room sits a chubby, six-inch-high blue pottery owl with huge eyes. His name is Bernard.
Bernard was also the name of the slightly plump, doe-eyed waiter who brought us strong coffee and a genuine smile every morning on a trip to Cancun some years ago. When I saw the owl, reasonably priced in the hotel gift shop, I had to have him. Twenty years later, every time I pass by him, I think of how friendly and sweet our waiter—and the people of Cancun – were.
I was reunited with a friend this week. From the time we last parted ways — the fall of 2007 — until now, she has lived in Denver and I have moved from Colorado to south Texas and back.
She exists as a painting, a portrait made some 30 years ago on the frozen plains outside St. Paul, Minnesota, by an artist born in Costa Rica, relocated to the midwest via Los Angeles. Her face betrays her Asian roots — Vietnamese, relocated to the United States after fleeing her homeland in a boat.
The newest hot spot in Denver also is where the town got its start: at the railroad station.
The newly renovated Union Station in downtown Denver echoes the past and celebrates the present. The historic 1914 building has undergone a $54 million renovation that incorporates public spaces, 10 local restaurants/bars, three retail shops (with more to come) and a spanking new 112-room luxury hotel carved out of what once were offices, a drafty attic and, frankly, empty space.
Friday night, November 7th, 2014, the twenty-seventh annual Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival begins tomorrow night and runs through the weekend, here in downtown Colorado Springs. Wish We Were Here Intern Lauren Antonoff sat down and spoke with Linda Broker, Executive Director of the festival.
This week's Middle Distancemarks the 200th episode. Congratulations and thank you, Kathryn, for all you have done, and continue to do in the community! —Noel Black, Producer, and the KRCC Staff
I get irritated with writers who only write about writing. How can someone who doesn’t write essays or memoir or short stories or poems or novels, or even news stories have anything useful to say to someone who wants to tell a story?
Tomorrow night at the Fine Arts Center, the Youth Documentary Academy will premiere films produced by their first class of local high school students. Podcaster Ryan Lowery sat down and spoke Colorado Springs native and Academy founder Tom Shepard, a documentary filmmaker who now resides in San Francisco, about the school and the films.
Something remarkable happened in Colorado Springs over the last year. It happens all the time but often remains beneath the radar: someone with a dream pursues it with focus and determination and a vision is realized.
Scott Anderson--seasoned war correspondent and author of the novel, Triage--will be speaking tomorrow at Colorado College. His most recent book, Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, tells the story of T.E. Lawrence, an Oxford educated archeologist who helped shape the Middle East as we know it during and after World War One. Colorado College English professor Steve Hayward spoke with Anderson about his work.
One of the delights of traveling – in Colorado or anywhere – is finding great local restaurants. They don’t need to be the fanciest, or most expensive – and often they’re not. What they do offer is good food at good prices or something unique that sets them apart from the predictable mediocrity of fast-food and chain restaurants.
During the past 30 or so years of traveling our state, I’ve found a few that are must-visit venues when we’re on the road. I’ll even time my lunch stop to coincide with them – even if lunch has to be at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m.
A student talked to me recently about his storytelling style. Film is his medium, and though he resists it, he tends naturally toward tightly constructed romantic comedies with snappy dialogue and happy endings. “I think I should just embrace my clichéd self,” he said. I told him that during my newspapering days, my co-workers, hard-nosed reporters, often teased that I covered the tearjerker beat. Sometimes, I said, we just have to admit what we’re good at whether we like it or not.