My father was a vetrinarian, but

I don’t remember him treating horses,

Just piglets.

Though I never owned a horse,

I rode.

I rode at church camp and scout camp in the Colorado Rockies.

The wranglers often gave me the hard to handle riding horses, because I could handle them.

Except for the one who tried to brushing me off by going under a low hanging tree.

Although he was unsuccessful in this attempt, I had to eat Jello for dinner because of a bloody mouth.

We were charging, like wild Indians, and I couldn’t slow him down.

Five years later I worked in the kitchen of the Rawah Dude Ranch in northern Colorado, where the help was not permitted to ride the horses. Mostly they were work horses uses to pack into Rawah Lake in the Rawah Wilderness area, or as log pullers when timber harvesting was done.

He had a pair of horses, one black and one white to pull the logs.

But they had to hitch up the black one first and get him started, then the white one.

As she (the white) worked up the hill passed him, he would come to life and struggle to beat her to the top.

One of the largest pack horses, Tom, many hands high, was nortoriously spooky. One day as I was holding his reins after he was packed with camping and fishing gear, he spooked and tore off through the brush destroying the fishing gear and spreading camping gear everywhere..

The owner of the Rawah Guest Ranch raised Arabians, and provided stud service to interested mares from nearby ranches.

However, all the college kids on the ranch were required to be in the bunkhouse, so as not to see the stallion do his job.

It was thought by the owner that he didn’t want his employees behaving in a manner like those college kids in Estes Park, who came from all over the country to party.

The owner had bred his own Arabian mare, with the result being a beautiful colt, named Rawah.

However, Rawah got into the barbed wire and cut himself badly, but since the owner was a Christian Scientist, he would not call the vet, and the colt died.

Thirty years later, my wife and I decided our ten year old bossy daughter needed something large to boss around, so we signed her up at a nearby stable in Portland, Oregon, where she rode and cared for her horse.

I decided it looked like fun, and since I only knew how to ride western, that i would learn English as well.

When I fell after a stirrup broke, it was a soft landing in the bark feathers in the arena.

My instructor said that it takes twenty falls to be an expert.

Words to live by.

– Small town boy


I was unaware of the problem until it was too late.

After flunking out of the University of Colorado twice in Chemical Engineerung,

I went on to Colorado State where I didn’t get into Vet school due to poor chemistry grades.

As children began to arrive in my family, I sought a new major that would count my science background, physical science, with emphasis on physics and math, and chemistry.

When I checked at the placement office I found the only job for that major was the FBI!

So I went into education and became a great chemistry teacher.

What had made me a poor chemistry student (slow thinking) made me a great chemistry teacher,

Which leads me back to reception.

When teaching I could take all the time I wanted for chemistry instruction; no need to quickly recall chemistry names and reactions and products.

This type of slow instruction was aided by writing on the (green) blackboard.

Writing on the blackboard provided time…

Time for feedback and consideration based on perceived reception by the students of what I was trying to teach them.

As I monitored their receptivity to my teaching,  I adjusted my teaching strategies accordingly.

Occasionally I got it wrong, as when my sixth period chem class at Jefferson High in Portland, OR began throwing spit wads at the blackboard when my back was turned.
I stormed at them only to find that they just were trying to make me smile.

Sixth period became my favorite period after that.

Just so in conversation or public speaking I monitor and adjust (as my friend LuAnn taught me).

I’m thinking while you’re talking.

According to my listening coach (see Contribution) this is a no-no.

Don’t think, just listen.

This is hard for me, but necessary, I guess, to hear you, Yes?

Do you find it difficult to talk to someone on the phone? Where you can’t see their reaction? Or texting.?

I think people who text (my children) don’t want to know how you are receiving their message.

I think we are passive receptors to messages all day (MSNBC and CNN).

I go back to my previous statement:

That conversation requires at least two participants.

If we are all to listen it’s like traffic at the stoplight that comes to a standstill as two people wait to make a left turn, neither trusting the other, waiting for a clear and signal that they truly mean to turn left, sometimes requiring two or more left turners to pass before you feel you can process.

See what I mean? Are you getting this? Am I saying it right?

We’ll see how you do on the pop quiz.

– Small town boy

My Life Quilt – Portland OregonĀ 

This is the first story from the first block of the Life Quilt that my friend Joanne made for me.

These stories are for her; she is my muse.

This story begins with 9/11.

After that disaster occurred in New York City, my wife Betsy and I felt we needed to act, to support a charity that had shown quick meaningful help in emergencies .

We chose Northwest Medical Teams (now Medical Teams International) located in Tigard, OR, because they were first out the door bringing needed medical people and supplies to the heart of  disasters.

After we made a sizable donation NWMT, they contacted us to see if we wanted to go on a trip.

The trip was a Gift of Hope trip to Mexico, Oaxaca and Mexico City. I went.

After returning I asked if there was another one I could help with.

NWMT said yes. Peru?

When I was departing for Peru I found this Portland Oregon tee shirt at an airport gift shop.

I had long collected tee shirts in my travels with city names for my daughter, Becca. 

But this time I wanted to wear the shirt to show people where I was from, Portland, OR.

Though I am originally from Fort Collins, CO,  I had lived in Portland for thirty years and taught high school science, math, and computers. I had raised my family there.

I was proud of the Rose City.

You can see it served me well in Peru from the very first day. I was there from March 26 to April 6, 2004.

We were in Coya, Peru, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, an hour and a half from the nearest medical clinic in Cusco (the navel of the world, well one of them, there are seven).

We were there to change a prison (it was a prison for runaway horses, but you get the idea) into a medical clinic so that teams of doctors from the states could come and treat local people. There were specialized teams for  plastic surgery, orthopedics, ophthomology and more.  Sixteen medical teams, as it turned out, came after the completion the next year.  .

We worked for seven days, went to see Macchu Picchu, and ate local foods (though not cuy, because my son Teddy had a favorite guinea pig at home).

I, and the attorney Ben, were the only ones not experienced in carpentry, plumbing or electricity. We worked as the manual labor.

Every time I see the Portland Oregon tee shirt I think of Peru.

I sleep in my memories made into the Life Quilt.

– Small town boy


The evening meal, in my house, was supper.

Dinner was the Sunday mid-day meal,

Or a special meal, like Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving dinner in my mother’s family, the Lanes,

Was an extravaganza, one of two family gatherings,

The other being the Fourth of July.

In the early fifties, after my father’s untimely death,

We returned to Colorado from Coleridge, Nebraska,

And received a 1936 Buick Victoria, which had belonged to my great aunt Alice McAnelly,

And given to us because we had no vehicles.

My father owned three vehicles, a jeep, a Modle A Ford and a Chrysler, but as he left no will they were sold off and mone was put in trust for the children.

Mother called the car Vickie.

We had to stop half way to Lakewood on the way to Thanksgiving Dinner to refill the radiator after it overheated and blew off steam.

(Later, I had an accident when driving it age 15 and drove through a stop sign.

Vickie had trouble with her transmission as her sisters had, so that was the end of her.)

But I digress (a trait of my vascular dementia, I get distracted)

Thanksgiving Dinner was at my Uncle Emmet’s house,

Though we were sleeping elsewhere usually, at Uncle Clark’s or Uncle Howard’s.

All three of my mother’s brothers lived in Lakewood, CO.

The big excitement of the dinner, the Thanksgiving gathering, 

Was the candy centerpiece Emmet and his family made,

Which was usually hidden under a dish towel till time to reveal it.

I remember chocolate log cabins made from Tootsie Rolls,

White divinity snow, marshmallow rice crispie footballs and more.

Not all of these were made on the same centerpiece but occurred on other Thanksgivings.

One year, upon the reveal, we were told the candy centerpiece was a “Kosdoon.”

We didn’t know what a Kosdoon was and conjectured that it was some kind of rectangular mine shaft?

Later the family admitted that it was supposed to be a windmill,

But it had fallen over! They made up the name Kosdoon to cover for the accident.

My grandfather, Albert Lane, sat at the head of the table, and carved the turkey,

After honing the carving knife with a steel that matched it in the handle.

Mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, jello, carrots and celery, and more, 

Ending with pumpkin pie.

(I subsequently attempted to make a candy centerpiece when I moved to Portland and was invited to my Aunt Margaret’s in Kent, Washington, but I was unable to make anything remotely similar to the great Emmet Lane masterpiece.)

Dinner to me means family.

Dinner means sitting down to the same big table with a beautiful table cloth, and a kid’s table nearby.

Dinner means food and tradition and family.

Dinner is more ceremonious than supper.

Let’s have dinner, OK?

Giving Thanks

It’s that time of year in the States,


In the Lane family, my mother was a Lane,

We used to gather in Lakewood, Colorado

At my Uncle Emmet’s house for the traditional Thanksgiving meal

And a huge candy centerpiece that they made that held the position of honor on the table.

My grandfather and grandmother, Albert and Sadie, were the head of this family

And so he got to carve the turkey, with a big carving knife and a knive sharpener near by.

Uncle Emmet’s family included his wife Louise, son Allen and daughters Karen and Christie (three more were to come along later)

Uncle Clark was the eldest son and his wife was Irma and three sons, Norman, Robert and Neal.

Uncle Howard’s wife was Ruth and there children were Jim and Judy.

My family was headed by lmy mother, Ruth Elizabeth (Betty), daughters Gladys and Donna and three boys, Lloyd (me), Ron and Don the twins.

Big family.

Sometimes Neal and his family might come if they were visiting from Arlington, VA. He was in the Department of Agriculture and his wife was Mary, their daughter Patricia and twins John and Robert. 

Margaret and her husband Monty, from Kent, Wa might  show up for the  summer Fourth of July gathering with a new Oldsmobile they drove back from Detroit with three sons and two daughters. He was a veterinarian there. Sons: Clark, Ted, Dennis and daughters: Emily and Mary.

The youngest member of the  family, Albert, was inTucson at the University of Arizona and might come with his daughter Pamela.

No Thanksgiving passes without thoughts of that family gathering.  All of the adults and some of the  grandchildren are gone now.

But I give thanks for this family that stood by us when my father  committed suicide and we moved back to Colorado from Coleridge, NE in 1950.

We were given a 1936 Buick Victoria to drive as we didn’t have a car then. We had  to stop on a  hll near Broomfield to refill the radiator to make it from Fort Collins to Lakewood.

In order for Thanksgiving to truly be Thanksgiving I must smell turkey cooking and take home leftovers.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with family memories.

– Small Town Boy

Lost Children

i have eight children; 4 bio, 4 adopted; 4 black, 4 white; 4 girls, 4 boys; 4 from marriage #1, 4 from marriage #2; 4 college educated; 4 not. I could go on, but you get the point.

At one time or another I have lost each of them. Fortunately I always get them back. Now I have 16 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

So let’s get started. CORY is my #1, my eldest daughter . I lost her when she went into hiding to avoid an abusive husband. We had to meet in a McDonalds that was near her safe house. Then she totally disappeared only to show up with her three boys in Fort Collins attending CSU where she got her social work degree.

John is #2 and one of the twins. John was never actually lost that I recall, but he disappeared when his mother paid for a trip to Australua where he met Debra Sue from Maryland. After that he would often disappear carrying on a coast to coast relationship till they got married in Portland.

Jim, the other twin really began the disappearances when he got lost on a Seattle Ferry when we were crossing to get to ???, I don’t remember, it was 1967 and he was two. The good news was that he had nowhere to go but to stay on the ferry and so was quickly found.

When we adopted Casey she was already lost. We had asked Boys and Girls aid for an interracial girl who was out of diapers. (We had had enough diapers with the twin boys.) Boys an Girls said they couldn’t find a girl like that locally. They would have to seek her in the east coast. Well surprise, they found her and another girl lost and forgotten by the system in foster care for almost two years. She had been in Portland all along.

My second wife and I had a daughter, Becca, who seemed lost. We couldn’t find her. After an hour or so we were becoming desperate. She was about eight at the time. Finally we found her in the back of the school bus that was outfitted by a wood shop teacher from New Jersey as a motor home. (I had bought it when I was attending OSU for my masters.) after I found her I spanked her to remind her to tell us when she was playing Hide and Seek.

Ashley has been my traveling partner in lots of trip : to Europe, Florida and Disney, and New Mexico where she rode a camel at the Albuquerque zoo. But she did disappear once none the less, at her first soccer game. She loved the idea of soccer, especially the uniform and kicking the ball. However she thought it unfair that the other girls didn’t get out of the way when it was her turn to kick, and they kept trying to take the ball from her. Anyway, when the game started, Ashley went to the sideline, squatted down and vanished. Oh she was still there, but she was lost in thought and didn’t play that game. She had zoned out to somewhere else till the game was over. Apparently she had paid attention to the game and had actually thought she had played in it.

Jacquari got lost in the Reach the Beach Bicycle ride. We had started out together, me, him and his younger brother Teddy. The boys were on their BMX bikes and had walkie talkies to stay in touch with. Teddy tired fast and his mother came and picked him up, but Jacquari had disappeared. He had ridden far enough ahead that I could no longer get him on the walkie talkie. By the time I had gotten to Sheridan he was nowhere to be seen. I had his water and food. The rest, as they say, is history. I stopped at the Grand Rind Indian reservation for lunch and my wife had told me he had been there and gone. She and I went to the Spirit Mountain Casino briefly and then drive to Pacific City where we remounted our bikes to go over the finish line. Rumors flourished that some kid in a BMX bike had ridden fifty miles, and they called him the “machine.” It was Jacquari. Later we found out that he could catch the twenty somethings going up hill, but they were much faster downhill. He had run into the “wall” and just kept going about two miles from the finish line. For a kid with ADD this was a lot of focus. When he got to the finish line the people from Cliff Bars were there to greet him with a box of Cliff Bars because they heard the stories that he was coming and hungry. Later we bought him a 21 speed road bike for further rides like the Spring Century near Canby.

Finally Teddy’s story has a happy ending. Teddy had a habit of disappearing, once calling us from a strangers home to say he was lost, had knocked on this persons door and asked for water and the phone.  So we got him a cell phone to carry when cell phones were new. He thought this was great until he found out we could call him wherever he was and tell him to come home. Still, he liked calling mom in the kitchen for a sandwich. He was in the basement at the time.

So far I haven’t lost any grandkids (If you don’t count Ashley, Jacquari and Teddy who were our grandchildren before we adopted them).

But that’s another story.  


Men in my life who made a difference

I lost my father when I was nine. He committed suicide.

My mother, when I was still young, sought out men who could become surrogates.

Here are the ones I can remember:

Chuck Hagemeister was a mentor in acolytes and Boy Scouts, probably my first adult male friend, one with whom I shared a bond of friendship.

Mr Pitkin, I think his name was. He was a teacher during the year but he ran a crafts class outside the library across the street where we made plastic bracelets, among other things.

Mr Van Arsdale(?) my junior high science teacher who pointed me toward science Ed though I didn’t know it at the time.

Jerry DeFreise, high school chemistry teacher who definitely pushed me into chemistry and my unsuccessful attempt at Chem engineering .

Ed and Don Pomranka who owned Fred and Fred’s grocery and took me in when I was a teen and taught me about the world of work.

Fr. Alexander Balfour Patterson III campus chaplain at University of Colorado and Francis Wolle, deacon. Fr. Wolle taught me how to be a lay reader and Fr Pat told me to go make myself useful when I flunked out.

John Gibbons, former Sea Bee in the Pacific, a contractor in Boulder who I worked for after flunking out of CU who taught me how to be a laborer, a hod carrier, a carpenter, a cement mason, a tiler, and an adult.

A neighbor in Fort Collins who collected and sold things others didn’t want. We would call him a recycler now. He told me if I ever fell on hard times to acquire a magnet and anything that would stick to it could be sold for money.

Dr Louis R Weber, chair of the physics department at Colorado State University, who taught me to rely on myself, seek others to partner with, and the love of teaching physics . (And to not fall asleep in class)

Gerald ??? My science Ed professor who turned me into a science teacher. He taught me to gather resources and helped me learn to be at the front of the science classroom.

Jack Sheehy, science department chair at Roosevelt where I started teaching. His kind, quiet support removed the frustration and anxiety of my first real job.

George Flitte, head of College Exploration school at Adams High. Jerry Hagan, counselor and Ed Basaraba, my team leader. These three men and Henry Pond, vice principal, made a challenging teaching assignment doable.

6 men in ABOGIK, a men’s group. It stood for A Bunch Of Guys I Know. They taught me how to love men and that they could love me.

Elliot Geller and Thomas Fisher, two counsellors who helped me come to grips with my father and my relationship with men and women.

Chuck Kuzminski, Bob Dahlman, Clark Peters, uniserv staff for OEA PAT NEA. Who helped me grow into leadership.

Gerry Moreford, who bargained on the board’s side of the table who helped learn how to bargain for the best in the teacher’s contract.

Gene Douthie ( now Jean Valjean) And Larry Ayers, Admin at Jefferson, who led me to team leader and ultimately my PhD.  

Bob Williams, head of data processingAnd Ed Schneider, head of the Curriculum department, who showed me the ropes of school support that eventually led to private consulting and teacher training and my PhD.

Colin Karr-Morse who rescued me when my tech job in the curriculum dept dissolved, got me lots of Macs to teach physical science with, and said I was one of the finest teachers in Portland, upon my retirement.

Tom Nelson who taught me all he knew about birding and took me twice to Malheur National Wildlife Sanctuary in southeastern Oregon at times of migration.

The eight men I interviewed for a series called Cronies’ Tales.

Playing Cowboy

Coleridge, 1948
Maybe ‘Playing Cowboys’ isn’t the right term, but it was a fictional exercise and it had rules. Sometimes we called it ‘Army’ or ‘War.’ All of our playtime when I was about 7 to when I was 8 was taken up with this ‘Play.’ If we weren’t out playing, we were thinking about it: Coloring in cowboy comic books, listening to cowboy radio, or going to cowboy movies. (Every Saturday there would be a fight to see who got to sit in  the front row left side near the aisle. for some reason that was the choice seat and Merlyn, who  lived in the restaurant next door, usually won.) These were full length movies, I din’t see cowboy serials until we moved back to Colorado, and then it was 10 cents at the  State theater for 15 minute serials with cliff hangers at the end  of each  one.
That was the age of western movies and cowboy stars: Roy rogers, Hopalong Cassedy,, Gene Autry, Lash Larue, Tim Allen (I didn’t really get into Tom Mix, before my time.) Lone Ranger, Cisco Kid and their sidekicks: Gabby Hayes, Jingles, Pat Butrum, Pancho, Tonto and, of course, the only cowgirl, Dale Evans.  John Wayne was but a lad then.

Some had their own line of  clothes which were often wished for but seldom received or worn outside.  I remember a Roy Rogers outfit I received as a gift for birthday or Christmas (I would have never had enough money to buy one by myself). The outfits usually consisted of a vest, chaps, sometimes a holster, sometimes a hat, and  seldom if ever, spurs. We provided our own bandana from home for around  the neck or to  cover your face is you were the bad guy and involved in a stick-up.

Now pistols were a different matter.  Sure we could play ‘guns’ without guns, using sticks shaped like guns instead. But what we all coveted was cap pistols shaped like the Colt .45 and a holster that worked. You had to be able to ‘fast draw’ with  it, so it had to be real leather, broken in, and worn low on your thigh with a rawhide string that held it in place. Although the pistols were cap pistols, they seldom had caps in them. First of all they cost money, second they were used up quickly, and third they blackened the pistol. (BB guns were never used. No one had one and we liked pistols for the fast draw.)
So instead we just shouted “BANG.”  Or “BANG, I got you!” If the latter was used an argument immediately commenced.  “No You didn’t; yes I did; no you didn’t; cheater!” And then we  would run off to hide and lay in wait for  the next shoot out.

To start the game, after getting together your friends, rules were established: who were good and who were bad guys, what was  the area of play (usually the block), when to quit (usually when it got dark), and how long you had to stay dead (usually count to  100).

During one of these events wherein we were playing around the Coleridge school I jumped down into a window well to hide, bent down out of sight, and put my butt through the window.  I had to go home, tell my father, return to  the school with him to  tell the principal, and pay the piper. My father spanked me for a lot less, often leaving big red welts (since I was  a red  head) but not his time. Money was involved. He had to ay for the window and I had to pay him.  I lost out on a lot of cowboy play (for a week), did extra chores and had to forego my (50 cent) allowance for a month.

The holster was so important that I stole my friends holster when we had to move to Colorado.  I didn’t use it much there as we had other games to play (hide and go seek), so it did me no good to steal the holster.  I also found this out when pilfering other items in my youth.  Wanting was better than having.

– Small Town Boy

Grandpa’s bike

Lloyd McAnelly


January 2, 2015

Grandpa’s bike

Fort Collins, 1950
I had just learned to ride my sister’s bike in Coleridge, taking off down the hill in front of my house, and then riding all over the little town. Then we moved back to Fort Collins. I was 9 and I needed transportation.

My maternal grandfather, Albert Lane Sr. had a bike he wasn’t using any more. He was born in 1878, so he was 72 now, but that wasn’t the reason he no longer rode, the police department had provided him with a Cushman three wheeled scooter with a big box on front to take care  of the city’s parking meters, so he didn’t use the bike anymore and was happy to let me  use it

It as a tall old bike with thin tires and a cross bar on the handlebar. It was so tall for me that I had trouble mounting and dismounting without damaging the ‘family jewels.’ 

To get on I had to find a step or a curb to make me tall enough to get it going. Like ladies and gentlemen of old I needed a step up to my steed.  Once on I needed space ahead of me to move away from my mounting aid. Then I could ride.

There was another problem to overcome though, it had only one pedal. I soon became adept at not only using the functioning pedal, put learning when I could push on the shaft of the non pedal.  I wasn’t going to win any races, but I could get around town.

I remember one morning getting up before others to go see the Clyde Beatty circus set up on the east edge of town.  I rode the bike down there and watched as the harnessed elephants were hitched to the chains and in concert raised the main circus tent. I was even allowed to help do something (I don’t remember what) and got a couple of free passes to use later in  the day with my friend.

Oh yes, I forgot. I also had difficulty getting off the bike.  Most times there was not a stoop or curb to dismount, so I fell off, until I discovered that if I just lean the bike as I stopped I could put my foot down and dismount. 

(One more part of this story was about a disagreement I had with a deputy sheriff (Chuck Hagemeister) in 5th grade. He was visiting my class in which his mother taught, and talking about bike safety.  I knew him from church where he was in charge of the acolytes and from  Boy Scouts where he was the assistant leader, and as such he was one of my father substitutes.

Anyway, somehow the discussion turned to tire pressure. Wherein I said the tire pressure on  my (grandfather’s) bike was 80 psi. He argued that that was impossible since car tires which were much bigger only took 32 psi!  Later when I Worked for his wife in the school  of ed I reminded him  of this story.  Funny, he didn’t remember it.)

– Small Town boy 


I’ve lost it you see, hope.

I had it but it disappeared, suddenly.

I want to get it back, hope, promise, a future.

Where do you go to get your hope back?


It gets you back,

When the pain is, not gone, but at a liveable level.

Then in the wee hours of the morning

You notice that it has returned,


Carefully reestablishing itself in your world.

Wait for it, prepare, it’s coming.

You will feel that you are moving from 

etherial to solidity and you can stand up for short periods.

Don’t rush it, it takes its own sweet time,

but notice that it has returned and is growing

Growing large enough to hold you close in it arms

Close to  its bosom, warm and comforting,

as you remember.

It is coming back.  It needs you too.

It loves you too.

Here it comes.


– Small Town Boy