Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Colorado Chronicles : Unsinkable

I'd bet dollars to donuts that if I mentioned the name Margaret Tobin, you'd say, "Who?". OK, how about Margaret Brown? Molly Brown? Still no idea? The Unsinkable Molly Brown? I knew that you'd recognize that one. And the goofy thing is that Margaret Tobin (maiden name) Brown was never even known as Molly, but as Maggie, during her lifetime, but Molly is the handle that made her world famous.So, what does Maggie Brown have to do with Colorado? Maggie Tobin and her brother moved to Leadville from Hanibal, Missouri when she was 19. She later met and married J.J. Brown. Mr. Brown made a killing in gold mining and he and Maggie used their good fortune to do wonderful things in Colorado, especially Denver, where the Browns lived. Wikipedia picks up the story from there : "In 1894, the Browns moved to Denver, Colorado, which gave the family more social opportunities. Margaret became a charter member of the Denver Woman's Club, whose mission was the improvement of women's lives through continuing education and philanthropy. In 1901, she was one of the first students to enroll at the Carnegie Institute [disambiguation needed] in New York. Adjusting to the trappings of a society lady, Brown became well-immersed in the arts and fluent in French, German, and Russian. In 1909 she ran for the U.S. Senate. Margaret assisted in the fundraising for Denver's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception which was completed in 1911. Margaret worked with Judge Lindsey to help destitute children and establish the United States' first juvenile court which helped form the basis of the modern U.S. juvenile courts system." Next question, "Where in the heck did the "Unsinkable Molly" come from? Again, we turn to Wikipedia : "Margaret boarded the passenger liner RMS Titanic as a first class passenger at Cherbourg, France. The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg. Margaret helped others board the lifeboats but was finally convinced to leave the ship in Lifeboat No. 6.[1] She would come to be regarded as a heroine for her efforts to get Lifeboat 6 to go back to look for survivors.[1] Molly Brown was dubbed "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" by historians because she became a hero of the night by helping in the ship's evacuation, taking an oar herself in her lifeboat and protesting for the lifeboat to go back to try and save more people." Molly's heroics were noted in the 1997 blockbuster movie, Titanic, and before that in 1960, Molly was memorialized the Broadway musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and in the 1964 film based on the musical. Margaret Tobin Brown, known as Molly to millions, unbeatable and unsinkable.

*Photo from wikipedia.org

Maine Minutiae : Oh, Little Town of Bethel...

One thing I like about living in Maine is that are not a lot of people here. There are only about 1.5 million people in the whole state, leaving lots of room to get away from the grind of daily life...and kids. :) Based on that population figure, it's only natural that there a ton of small towns up here and nearly every town or community in Maine has at least one big festival a year, kind of like all the rural areas of East and West Texas. Bethel, Maine is one of those small towns. Bethel is a town of 2400 folks and is 63 miles due west of Augusta in Oxford County. This weekend is a big deal for Bethel and the surrounding communities. On Saturday, September 18, Bethel will host the 13th Annual Harvest Fest and Chowdah Cookoff. This shindig marks the beginning of the foliage change in New England and there are some neat events for the whole family. And all good celebrations have a liberal quantity of food for your culinary enjoyment. As the name of the festival indicates, the main dish to be served is chowder and some of the best chowder cookers from around New England will compete in the big Chowdah Cookoff. For my amigos in Texas, think chili cookoff. This chowdah cookoff stuff is serious business. Also on tap will be some more serious business, an apple pie bake off! I'm not much for chowder, but homemade apple pie is another matter all together. Just writing about it, I can almost smell a fresh, succulent, homemade apple pie cooking in the oven. Is it just me or is anybody else hungry right now? The schedule of events for the 13th Annual Harvest Fest and Chowdah Cookoff can be found here. OK, Mainers and neighboring staters, you've got the scoop on this hoedown (there will be music, too) and the time to make plans for this weekend...the 13th Annual Harvest and Chowdah Cookoff in Bethel awaits you! One more thing, will somebody save a piece of apple pie for me? Thanks. :)

Texas Tidbits : Rodeo, Cantaloupe and Dad

I don't know much about Pecos, but I feel like I have been there a hundred times. As many of you know, my Dad was a trucker and he's the reason that, as a child, that I even knew Pecos existed. At the time, the company that Dad worked for only delivered in Texas and Pecos was the crown jewel of all the trips. We lived in Irving at the, so Dad drove out of the Dallas terminal, making Pecos the longest and best-paying trip Merchants (the company) had. I remember Dad saying 1000's of times, "I wish I could get a Pecos tonight". To me, a kid of 6 or 7, Pecos was in another world. It was 427 miles from Dallas! 427 miles!In West Texas! Wow! I had never been to West Texas at that time, so it sounded like a whole other planet. I knew East Texas very well by the time I was 6 or 7, Tyler, Gilmer, Betty, Thomas, Gladewater, Lindale and so on. But West Texas was in the desert! I imagined Pecos as the kind of place John Wayne would live. Cowboys, saloons, cattle, bad guys waiting for The Duke to come kick their asses or meet their Fate at the end of a rope. That is how I "knew" Pecos. For some odd reason, I also knew that Pecos was home to the World's 1st Rodeo . Why? Don't ask me. It's probably something I learned from Dad. Oh, yeah! Cantaloupes! Pecos was famous for cantaloupes! I learned that from Dad, too - probably over a Pecos cantaloupe split in half and a salt shaker, neither of us looking up from that melon while, carrying on a conversation about race cars or something similar. My Dad lived in Pecos for a while after my parent split up when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I remember him telling me of going to Mexico for what I guess now was a little "cultural exchange". He never did say, and I never asked. I started writing this post with the intention of sharing some history and general info about Pecos, but after I typed the first sentence, the memories of my Dad and his stories came to me in a flood of yesterdays. You know, I'm glad I wrote that first sentence. I have a big ass cantaloupe in the kitchen, I think I'll split it in half, grab a salt shaker and share the melon and some stories of my life with my little girl. Oh....and Dad, I'll tell her about you, me, the cantaloupe and the salt shaker.

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