Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Georgia Behind The Wheel

I've been meaning to write about where some of my songs come from and share it here on The Blob! The song 'Georgia Behind The Wheel' off the Walking Stick CD is an interesting one. Larry Bishop and I took a road trip a few years back and a number of songs came from that trip. We visited Bandelier National Monument and I read the story of Evelyn Frey. She and her husband George moved to Frijoles Canyon in 1925. The only way in was a steep trail down from the canyon rim and supplies were delivered via mules. George left at some point but Evelyn stayed on. She planted an orchard and wanted a pickup truck to help her maintain it. They hauled one in for her in pieces by mules and a crude gondola from the top of the canyon. I thought it was a great story for a song and wrote one. I guess I didn't take any notes and somehow confused George with Georgia and so instead of Evelyn behind the wheel it became Georgia, which sounds better anyway.

She was quite a remarkable woman and stayed there through the change from Ranch of the Ten Elders to Bandelier National Monument. If you listen to my little talk at the beginning of the song it explains a bit of the story. To learn more about Bandelier (which is really a fantastic place to visit) check out http://www.nps.gov/band/

Monday, April 28, 2008

Toni Baloni

There was a time back in the 80's when I decided to go back to school. I had a bachelors degree in geography from the University of Northern Colorado but never did anything with it. I started playing music for money while in school and that turned into my career. Playing music had always treated me well but I wondered if it would last. I figured something different to fall back on might be a good idea.

I decided to learn how to be a sign painter and enrolled in an art school in Denver. It was only 15 months and I could still play music on weekends. There were probably 12 people in the class and one of them was the one and only Toni H. I'll keep her last name anonymous, not to protect her, but rather you innocent readers of this blog.

The 'Tonester' and I still keep in touch and she visits us as often as possible here in the mountains she loves so much. Toni and Jeanine have become great friends and the two of them help with the Race for the Cure every October and try to figure out a way for her to visit more often. Toni stayed in the sign business and always helps me out when I need advice on one of the few signs I still make. We look forward to her visits and hope she and her son can make it out this summer for some hiking, tipi parties and whatever.

I know she reads this blog now and then so, yes, this is a hint!! Thanks for being such a great friend over the years Toni and we'll see ya soon.

Watch out MJ, your turns coming but I might not be so nice!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Me and Hatter...On the "Love Boat"

Every time I'm in Cabo and see the big cruise ships come in I think about my one and only adventure on one of those hotels of the sea.
I was offered a great deal to go and play on a ship from the Costa cruise lines by a travel company Kathy Lewis worked for. They were leasing the ship for a 'Country Cruise' in the Caribbean. Country stars like Tanya Tucker, The Oak Ridge Boys and Colin Ray were on board and they needed some smaller acts to play other venues so I got to go for a week for free and get paid on top of it!
Anyway, they offered inexpensive fares for others if you shared a room so the 'Mad Hatter' went along with me. We had a good time and he even won enough money the first night in the casino to pay for his trip. I usually played afternoons by the pool and before dinner. I'd stay out late and Hatter would get up early, so we didn't even see that much of each other. We did have a couple days in port where I had the day off and we'd wander around St. Thomas or tour Nassau looking for something Hatter wanted that you couldn't find in the,ah, umm, eer... shops! All in all we both had a great time and I would do it again if I could get a similar deal, even if Mike didn't buy it when I came in early one morning, opened the door to the cabin and whispered, "It's OK Tanya, I think he's asleep".

Friday, April 18, 2008

Alice on the Town

Some years back Ronnie Roo had her art gallery in the loft at Caroline's Cuisine. I believe it was named 'Viva la Roo'. Well anyway, that's when I first laid eyes on Alice. Alice is a camel of the paper mache and burlap variety and I immediately wanted to purchase her. She was not really for sale but with a little begging and pleading, Ronnie agreed to sell Alice on the condition that every once in awhile I would take my new found friend out for a night on the town.

Well needless to say, whenever we go out, my humpbacked date always gets lots of attention. I've heard that camels can go a long time without a drink of water but watch out for the bars! Everybody insists on buying her cocktails, especially when she's accompanied by her rubber chicken. The two of them make quite a show and as their designated driver it's all I can do to get them home safe and sound. I wonder what they do when I'm out of town?
Next time you're at your local watering hole, keep an eye out for my dromedary companion and her vulcanized friend. This ship of the desert might just sail into your heart!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Goin' To The Roadhouse

There's still time to get in one last get-a-way before the summer season begins. Our friends Ken & Marty Lund along with Peggy Mann and her husband Ken are going on their semi-annual trip to Cabo San Lucas so we decided we could take a few days to join them in sunny Mexico. Bog King and Mandy are already there and hopefully Bob's neighbors and good friends Jennifer and Rob Gill will be there too! Captain Rob has taken me fishing on his boat (The Double Take) a few times and I've been lucky enough to catch Tuna, a Marlin and the Dorado you see me holding up here on the blog.
We have a few favorite spots we like to go to. The Villa Serena Restaurant for great lobster tail, or the loud and crazy Mango Deck beach bar where you can watch college kids act like, well, college kids.
One of our favorite hangouts is The Roadhouse (Latitude 22). Peggy and I have played music there a few times and the owner, Mike, plays our CDs in between Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffett sometimes. We've come to know the bartenders and waiters and they always remember us and greet us with a smile even though it may have been a year since we last visited.
It'll be good to see the sunset behind the Arch at land's end and watch for Humpbacks from Frankie's chairs.
I usually work a little on some songs while I'm there or at least get another verse for 'Frankie's Chairs', which will be on the new CD. So it's off again for a short visit to the land of NO BAD DAYS!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Take An Old Fart To The Dump

Here's a little rumor I heard about a way to get to dump your unwanted refuse for free. Once a week the county allows people 65 or older to take a load and deposit it in the local landfill for free. If you drive that senior citizen, you can also bring along your stuff.
Well I nominate Dave Whitman as my designated dump-ee. He always brags that he is 10 years older than I am and I figure he could use some company on his way to appraise some one's house or property on the way. Maybe we could discuss how bad we did at trivia Wednesday night and the fact that 'Nine Toed' Bob was wrong about that question referring to the Revolutionary War because he was there!
The fact is...Dave's a great guy (no matter what everybody else says) and he's always ready and willing to help out for a good cause. He's pictured here over-seeing the water station at the Race For The Cure with his jello shots for kids(no alcohol).
But what the hell? Why not take advantage of the old coot! Take him to the dump, buy him lunch, pay for the gas, drive your own truck, buy him a couple Budweisers afterwards, pay him for the mileage, pay him for his valuable time, pay him for his advice on women, politics, religion, golf, football, basketball, gambling, the Buckeyes........oh, never mind, it would be way less expensive to just go by yourself and pay for it!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Legends Of Golf

As I watch the 72nd Masters, I can't help but think of some of the legendary players of the game. Yes, of course I'm talking about the 'Golfing Elvises'! The annual Lariat Golf Tournament was an event that Barky Lew, Aron Rhone, Tom (The Tuna) Gustin and I looked forward to every year. We were possibly the worst foursome to ever swing a club, but no one came close to having as much fun as we did.

Knowing we never had a chance to win, we decided to make the best of it and enjoy ourselves to the best of our abilities. Each fall we would think of something new to add to our growing status and the enquiring minds who wondered.. " what are they gonna do this year?" I believe our Elvis costumes were the best. Cindy Stewart made them for us with great detail all the way down to the sequins, gold lamae and bell bottoms. Keith Avila gave us a ride up to the course in his limousine and we piled out to accept the reception of a cheering crowd. OK, maybe a couple people laughed and applauded, but we were definitely the hit of the day.

We proceeded to play our usual stellar game and with the help of the beverage cart and the kegs of beer placed strategically throughout the course, we managed another last place finish. That didn't bother us one bit and just enhanced our already growing legend. Those old Lariat Golf Tournaments were the things dreams are made of, or nightmares in our case. I miss those days and all the fun everybody enjoyed. Some people played serious golf but most were just happy to be there with all their friends (some of whom, you only saw that one time a year). Rain, snow or sunshine, those were some of the best times ever and no matter what has happened since, the 'good old days of Grand Lake' were still the best!!

Friday, April 11, 2008


I'm glad some people are reading my little blog and even coming up with suggestions for new ones. Dolores Esmonde said I should do one on the dogs that have pretty much ran rough shot over this town for years. Well I thought there would be no better place to start than with my own sweet hound..Ady.
We found each other in the Fall of 1974. She was from a litter of pups brought forth by the union of Tom Jochems male Arnie(I think that was his name) and Steve Schrock's girl Brandy. The pups were under Peggy Bloch's porch and there were only one or two unclaimed when I went to see if I wanted to buy one.
Of course, a little ball of golden fur caught my eye and I proudly named her Adelaide, after the first school teacher in Grand Lake (at least according to Mary Lyons Cairn's book). We spent the first few months together here in the mountains but just having graduated from college and broke, we naturally moved back to Denver with mom and dad.
I left Ady with my folks for awhile and then my cousin Pam adopted her because I was 23, stupid and irresponsible.
Cole Porter might have written "Don't Fence Me In" just for that dog. She would dig under the fence, climb over it, or even chew her way through to make one of her many great escapes. After she got out and rolled in the fresh tar of the new paving job in front of my cousin's house, Pam had had enough! Luckily for me I was back from wherever and working on a farm outside of Greeley. Ady had finally found a home! No fences, lots of room to run, cow manure to eat(and throw up in my pickup truck), it was 'dog heaven'!
After about four years I moved on to play music in Grand Lake and then Colorado Springs. I tried to bring her with me but in the long run, she belonged on the farm. Sometime later I returned to the farm to bury her body, but not her memory. Her portrait hangs on my bedroom wall and I go to sleep every night and wake every morning to her beautiful smile. That was twenty eight years ago.
I know most everyone has had a best friend like Ady and there's a poem that sums it up pretty well. It's way too long to repeat here, but I have the magic computer power here to share it with you. http://www.petloss.com/poems/maingrp/rainbowb.htm

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Up, Up, and Away.... Maybe

There are many forms of transportation to use when traveling in other countries. Tour buses, taxis, water taxis, public buses, camels, donkeys, horseback and my favorite...trains. But sometimes you need to get from place to place a little faster given the limited amount of time allowed on a short vacation. That's when you get to take the little 'puddle jumper' airplanes.
I think my first experience with these wonders of the sky was in the outback of Australia. They offered a flight over Ayers Rock(Uluru) and the Olgas. It really was fantastic to see from the air but when we were ready to land, the pilot explained that this particular plane was nicknamed the 'flying pig' because it landed like a pig. This was great news to the guy sitting behind me who had spent the entire flight with his face buried in his 'barf bag'. It was a rough landing, but the experience was well worth it.
Our last trip to Belize was a good one. No problems on the flights to and from Caye Caulker. We landed at the municipal airport in Belize City to catch another plane to Placencia. The ground crew serenaded us on guitar and as you can see by the picture on the right, security is top notch!(click on the photo to get a closer look) We boarded the plane and everyone strapped in. Jeanine even got the seat next to the pilot. Suddenly they asked us all to get out because some of the ground crew smelled smoke. The pilot couldn't smell or see anything, so he stayed put while we all got off. Jeanine turned around and saw that the plane was empty but couldn't get her seat belt undone. Finally the pilot helped her out and soon we were on another plane and on our way.
Personally, I love flying on those little 'puddle jumpers' and it always adds some adventure to one's holiday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Too Loose la Beck

What can I say about Bob Beck? Bob was one of the owners of Squeaky Bob Wheelers when I worked there in the 70's and 80's. He was truly a piece of work! He was also a house painter and some people used to say that inhaling all those paint fumes over the years made him a bit goofy.
He still did some painting in Grand Lake and along with Dave Knighton, they had a painting company named Brite Painting and Decorating. Terry Bramwell and I worked for them on and off in the 1970's and it was something to behold. Bob and Dave would argue back and forth and it was about the funniest thing I've ever witnessed. They'd go on a lunch break together and you'd swear you were watching an Abbot and Costello routine.
Bob's days at Squeaky Bob's were funny too. I was tending bar one day while Bob was managing and I ran out of pennies, so I asked Bob to get me a roll or two from the office. He just turned to me and said, "oh, just give 'em nickles". Bill Reardon (one of the other owners) would often send Beck off to get something from Zick's grocery, just to get rid of him for the rest of the day. He knew Bob would end up at The Pub, Lariat or The Little Bear and never make it back!
The last time I saw Beck was about twelve years ago at Daven Haven. He was doing well and living in Florida. I've got more stories about Bob, who some people thought was Squeaky Bob.
He wasn't the real Squeaky Bob, but he was certainly one of the real 'characters' of Grand Lake.
I don't have room here to go on about Bob, but I hope he's doing well. He sure decorated this little town with laughter.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Make a Little Ripple

I thought it might be good idea to share what inspires my songs. A favorite is 'Make A Little Ripple' which is on the Somewhere with a Beach CD. I had hiked up the East Inlet Trail to the second meadow and some of the words and music just kind of came to me, so I filed them away somewhere in the old memory banks.
A few months later, a guy who was making a video for the United Way looked me up to ask if maybe I had a song he could use as the background for his video. I remembered what I had jotted down and wrote a verse and chorus which he recorded and used. Later on when I was getting songs together for the 'Beach' CD, I revisited the song, and with a line from my friend Sean Anglum, finished it on the plane on my way to the first and only Cruise Ship gig I ever did. It's become one of my favorites and whenever I play it, especially at a fundraiser for a good cause, the lyrics ring true.
Make a little ripple, make a little wave
Toss a stone in the water
Shine a light through the haze
Helping one another, there's no better way
To make a little ripple
And make some body's day
Sounds like a good way to live life, doesn't it?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

How Can I Be The Man, When You're The Mann

I'm sure many of you have had the pleasure of listening to the music of Peggy Mann. I believe I first heard her with her ex-husband, Craig Mann at the Grand Lake Lodge. Well, needless to say, they just blew me away. I would always make a point to go and listen to them whenever they were in town.
Luckily for me and everyone else, Peggy and her wonderful husband Ken fell in love with Grand Lake and bought a little piece of property here.They came up a lot on weekends from Denver and I soon got to know them as friends. Peggy would sometimes sit in for a song or two at the Lariat or Pancho & Lefty's and pretty soon all of Grand Lake fell in love with her music and great spirit. Many of us have ventured over the hill to the "Big Smoke' of Denver to see her CD release concerts at the Soiled Dove.
Her generosity in using her talent to help out whenever possible is inspiring. I asked her if she would join me for a concert in the community house to help raise money for a scholarship fund for Middle Park High School students with medical aspirations in Dorothy "Nursie" Young's name. Of course she said yes and we were able to raise enough money to get the scholarship off the ground.
Now, she and Ken have built a house here and moved to Grand Lake permanently. She's still using her incredible talent to help our little community with events such as Fallfest, the Old Fashioned Christmas concert and the Race for the Cure. Peggy is singing the lead vocal on my song Ribbons of Hope, which was inspired by the 'Race' and might even be used by the Susan G, Komen foundation (with any luck).
You can see and hear her on Grand County Dave's site (which you can click on to here on the sidebar) buy one or more of her CD's at Pancho's or the Lariat, or see her in person this summer at the Gateway, Waconda or a concert or two. So thanks again to my friend Peggy Mann, the 'Queen of Grand Lake'!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

And a swell time was had by all

The Lariat's 28th Anniversary went well. There were lots of locals there and a good time was had by all. Some of the people that have probably been there from the start, such as; Hoppy Southway, Paul McDonald, Dan Schneller, Don Stookey, Barky Lew, Aron Rhone, John Flemming, Bonnie Gravit, Mike 'The General' Smith, Bobby Anderson, Trish McDonald and a number of people who have passed through those swingin' doors over the years. The crowd was pretty much locals, so it was good to see all the gang who have supported the 'Rope' for so many years. Thanks to every one for keeping the Lariat going, not to mention, keeping me employed for so long!

Friday, April 4, 2008


"Lariat Saloon Means Fun Times"

That's the way it started 28 years ago today! Gene and D.W. bought the bar from Dave Knighton which was then known as the Rockin' K. They decided to rename it the Lariat Saloon, because that's what it had been known as since the 1920's. They were also managing the Little Bear across the street, which is now Pancho and Lefty's. They promised to keep the Lariat open 365 days a year and from 11:00 am 'til 2:00 am and that's the way things have been ever since.
The picture on the right is probably from that first year, I believe. From left to right is Bill Losasso, who owned the Stagecoach; Dave Knighton, who they got the bar from; Gene; Bob Beck of Squeaky Bob Wheelers; Terry Bramwell; D.W.; and Bill Reardon, also from Squeaky's. Hazel Mosley was on the far right (out of the picture) with her arms crossed and her back to the whole scene! The girl posed for the photo taken by 'Dr. Slime' Fielder only with permission from her boyfriend who made her put duct tape over her nipples for the shot.
The pool cues hanging above the bar probably belonged to D.W. and Bobby Anderson. Bobby still sends flowers every year for the anniversary and I imagine there will be some there on the bar and Bobby might just pop in for a game of pool with Skip tonight.
There are way too many stories to tell and so little time that I can't even begin to recall them here. If I ever write a book, it would probably be about the Lariat and all the wonderful characters I've had the pleasure to meet there. Even though the stories might be true, they would have to put it in the fiction section because the truth is stranger, especially in Grand Lake! I've been there for most of the ride and according to last week's paper, I'm at "almost a staple at the Lariat" (whatever that means).
Anyhow, if you read this blog, you might give The Rope a call and wish Gene a happy 28th or better yet, show up and celebrate with the rest of the degenerates!
p.s. I didn't know this but ronnie says if you click on the picture,it enlarges it so you can really check out Bob Beck's eyes...Priceless!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Dead of Winter

The Cherry Blossom Festival is happening in Washington D.C., baseball season has started with the Boys of Summer back on the field and it's been over a week since the official beginning of Spring. Well not up here in the high country! Yesterday morning saw temperatures still below zero and this morning a fresh new blanket of snow awaits the new dawn. Bulls--t!!! Where's the sun? It is April isn't it? Shouldn't it be at least mud season now?
I, for one, am ready for Summer. I know I've got a long wait ahead of me but isn't there such a thing as a 'False Spring'? I always liked John Henry Rhone's description... "We have two seasons here in Grand Lake, this Winter and next Winter". Why did he have to be right all the time?
Guess I'll just have to go out and shovel some more snow or better yet, huddle up by the fireplace and go to a beach in my mind. Now I know why bears hibernate!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Time to Move On

Well, as Jimmy Buffett sings "You can have rest of everything I own, "cause I have found me a home". A new home, that is! After a year of negotiations and of course keeping this secret, I finally worked out the deal I've been wanting to do for almost two years. I've traded my house in Grand Lake for this place right on the ocean in Caye Caulker! It turns out the owner lives in Denver and never gets down there anymore and was willing to more or less trade for a house in the mountains. We finalized the deal yesterday and I'll be moving to Belize sometime next week. Jeanine's a little shocked and is not sure yet if she wants to leave Grand Lake to move to a tiny island in the Caribbean. It's pretty much a 'turn key' deal, so all I'm really taking is my guitar and some clothes, tools and some money to get started fixing up the place. I'll also take my laptop so I can keep in touch and maybe even keep this blog going. Everyone is welcome to come visit! It's on Caye Caulker, Belize just two doors up from the Barefoot Beach Hotel & Lodge. I'll let the Lariat know when I get a phone # and e-mail address. Thanks for all the great memories here in Grand Lake and I hope to see some you at my new home. Later....Corm
Happy April Fools Day!