Monday, October 15, 2007

Snow, Snow and more Snow

Well, it wasn't a lot of snow but it was measurerable.  I guess we could call it the first official snowfall of the year, at least one where the snow stayed on the ground.  The snow stayed on the ground for about 4 hours.  It won't be long until it stays for 4 months! 



Monday, October 8, 2007

First snow flakes


Sunshine School house, 2007, 107 years old.

Milo and I started down the driveway a little late this morning.  It was very cool and crisp, the sky was a very bright blue without a cloud to be seen.  We missed seeing Bob, the school bus driver, and waving to all of the Sunshine kids on the bus.  We stopped at the Sunshine School house and raised the American flag.  Today we raised the flag to honor one of our neighbors who recently passed away.  Long time neighbor Bebe left this world on Saturday.  She had lived in Sunshine a long time before she and her husband, Bob, moved to Moab, Utah.  We spent time with them at our SCSSYYSR (Sunshine Canyon Summer Solstice YaYa Sisterhood Reunion) in June.  Bebe was very active and will be missed by all of her family and friends.

We experienced our first snow fall yesterday.  It wasn't much, just a few flakes but a reminder that it won't be long........  Oh I just can't wait!  LOL

Milo noticed that I had dug out my HAM radio (Portable) and was wearing it on my belt this morning.  He pushed his nose up under the bottom as if to ask me "what's up with that?"  I explainedthat I wanted to keep it close, just in case any bears wanted to bother us.  I have been an amateur radio operator for 15 years.  HAM operators have the ability to communicate with other HAM operators anywhere in the world.  Shortly after receiving my license I was involved in a conversation that was "out of this world".

One of the high schools in Fort Collins, Colorado has a program in the study of space travel.  They even have a mock space shuttle set up in the classroom.  NASA has a public relations program called SAREX, allowing the astronauts to communicate with HAM operators on the ground (little know fact  - most of the astronauts have a HAM license).  Our amateur radio club, working with the high school, contacted NASA and arranged a private contact with the shuttle.

NASA agreed, a time and frequency were agreed upon and we went to work.  A HAM station was set up at the high school, including a transceiver, antenna with a rotor and recording equipment.  The idea was to to be able to point the radio station antenna at the shuttle while it passed from horizon to the other.  The maximum window is 8 minutes. 

As the appointed day drew closer, we became more excited.  Club members were assigned different tasks (mine was to record the entire event).  On contact day the entire club joined the students.  At the agreed time we started to call the shuttle.."W5NAS, this is WK3S......W5NAS, this is WK3S" (call signs have been changed for this post)...we repeated this three times.  With anticipation, we heard what we were listing for...."WK3S, this is W5NAS".  It was the voice of Dr. Marty Fettman, astronaut and veterinarian (from Colorado State University) aboard the space shuttle Columbia, mission STS-58.  We passed the microphone around, allowing the students to talk while we held the contact.  We held the contact the entire 8 minutes and then it was over.

Three months later, the high school held an assembly.  The guest was Dr. Fettman.  For me, the fun part came just before the assembly began.  Dr. Fettman met with those of us who participated.  He gave each of us an autographed photo, a mission patch and a hearty "thank you" for making the entire event a success.  



Thursday, October 4, 2007

My connection continued

There is an old saying that in Wyoming, you are only one person away from knowing everyone in the whole state.  This brings me to my brief story about my connection with the old west.  There was a gentleman by the name of Tom Horn.  Tom was the last man hung in Wyoming in 1903.

Tom Horn

Tom was a cowboy, US Army scout, and a stock detective.  There have been many books written about him (Blood On the Moon by Chip Carlson is one of the most recent).  There have also been two different movies with Steve McQueen and David Carradine playing the part of Tom.


Tom, according to his autobiography, Life of Tom Horn, government scout & interpreter Written by himself, University of Oklahoma Press, ISBN: 0-8061-1044-9, was the man who convinced Geronimo to surrender to the US Army.  To the day he died, he felt Geronimo was a great man.  Tom stopped the cattle rustling in Wyoming.  It is rumored that he was on the search party that chased Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as depicted in the movie of the same name.  Tom was hung for the murder of young Willie Nickell.  To this day people will argue over his guilt.  One thing is for sure, justice was done.

When Tom was hung, he was allowed to have a person of his choice stand next to him.  He chose T. Joe Cahill, the Laramie County clerk, a young manin his 20's.  The last words spoken by Tom were to T.Joe.

As a young stock boy, clerk and delivery boy, working at Hoy's Drug and Dairy in Cheyenne, I had an opportunity to meet most of the customers.  I even delivered prescriptions to people who were not able to get to the store.  I also delivered groceries.  I will never forget the elderly gentleman that everybody loved.  That friendly man was T. Joe.  T.Joe Cahill died in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1968.

Tom is buried next to his brother in the Columbine Cemetery here in Boulder.  Twice a year I put flowers on his grave.  Every Memorial Day and every Veterans Day there is a small American flag next to his head stone.