. . . Louis L'Amour
If my mom, Freda, was alive we would have celebrated her 93rd birthday today. Mom was an avid reader. Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey were particular favorites of hers; she had an affinity for a good western! She loved a good story. She read a lot... magazines, cookbooks, novels, newspapers. In her later years, each week our town librarian would leave a grocery bag of books on her front porch. Mom would call the library (the "liberry" she called it) and say, "I'm ready for a new stack... you know what I like..." And, the librarian would do a book drop. Mom couldn't wait to see how the next story turned out! Of course, mom would also call the librarian to give her opinion of her selections!
Mom was born on December 11, 1916 in Denver... and on the rare times she visited, I loved driving her around "town" and listening to her stories about Denver. She grew up on Kalamath Street, not far from where the University of Colorado at Denver is today. We'd drive up and down the streets and she'd tell grand stories about the surrounding neighborhoods. Oh, I wish I had written her stories down! She was a gifted story teller and had an amazing memory; her stories were every bit as rich as the ones she read each week. "Oh, that's where we used to hide and we'd shoot the street cars with our slingshots to see if we could break a window, we were so naughty... See that corner there, there was a Chinese restaurant there where your father and I used to go eat... There's a stuffed rattlesnake in there that my father killed in the foundry (pointing to the Buckhorn Exchange talking about The American Ironworks)... We used to go peek in the windows of that church and watch people speaking in tongues and rolling on the floor; scared us to death... I used to work in that building helping make taxidermy forms for the Jonas family; they were the nicest people... I used to fill catalog orders in that building (Montgomery Ward) and had to wear roller skates..." Today I have bits and pieces floating in my head, but what I'd give for more!
I heard Eugene Cerman (who happened to land on the moon on December 11, 1972) speak at the PEBC's luncheon last year and he said, "I remember starting up the ladder and looking over my shoulder. I saw my footprints there on the surface of the moon and realized that they'd be there for eternity. And they were mine! I knew I might be the last person to step on the moon for a long, long time." He also tells the story of looking at Earth from the moon and realizing that its beauty was too beautiful to grasp!
Sometimes things are too beautiful to grasp, so we just have to hold them as memories the best way we know how. That's what I do on December 11th, I pull one those memories out of my heart or mind and remember mom. Perhaps by writing down what I remember about her, my own children will know how her story turned out! It was a grand story.