In general, they appeared on the dates shown in various Colorado Community Newspapers.
There's an old joke about the guy who goes to a psychiatrist. "I want you to take a look at these ink blots," says the psychiatrist. "What do you see?"
The man looks at the first picture. "A man and a woman making love on a rock slide," he says. "It's pretty torrid."
"Hmm," says the psychiatrist. He shows the man a dozen more pictures. For each one, the man describes a very explicit sexual encounter.
Let me say at the outset that I have never watched Oprah Winfrey. There's no particular reason; I've never watched any of the daytime talk shows.
But suddenly Oprah Winfrey is making big waves in the world of libraries.
It seems that Ms. Winfrey, an astute and avid reader, has launched a once-a-month "Oprah's Book Club." The results are astonishing.
Lately I've been reading "The Fourth Turning," by William Strauss and Neil Howe.
I've written here before about their earlier book, "Generations." "The Fourth Turning" hits most of the same themes: four basic generational types cycle through an arc of institution-building, followed by a profound challenge to cultural values, followed by an eventual renewal of those institutions based on new values.
I don't know if it's the weather, or that it's January and so the new year. But about every twelve months I get a strong urge to cook up a batch of bean soup. And when I get the urge, I call my dad for the recipe.
It's not that I can't, or haven't, written it down. But somehow the phone call is one of the ingredients that makes for good soup. "About half an hour before it's done," my dad says, "add about half a cup of ketchup."
"Ketchup!" I always say, wondering. "Why ketchup?"
"For color," he says.
A couple weeks back I picked up the December 28, 1996, Denver Post and read about the vicious beating of a woman in Grand Junction, the murder of a 6 year old girl in Boulder, and the state-sponsored slaughter of half a million people in Rwanda.
In the same issue I read that "Dougco wants driven students" -- an announcement about the Douglas County School District's new International Baccalaureate program.
On Christmas Day, at 2 o'clock in the morning, my 9-year-old daughter woke me up to say "Merry Christmas!" I had at that point been in bed for a solid, restful stretch of almost 45 minutes. But with true Christmas spirit, I responded, "Go back to sleep!"
Maddy vibrated with anticipation for another four hours. (We could feel her bed shake through the floor boards.) Eventually, she did get us all assembled before the glittering tree with its mounds of gifts.
There comes a time in the life of every new family when it has to make some decisions: which holidays matter, and where and how they'll be spent.
Whatever your religious background, you probably find something in the Christmas season that speaks to you. To the Druids (from whom we get the Christmas tree), it was the winter solstice -- the idea of the "evergreen," a life that sustained itself through the cold, but reveled in the seasons of the sun and the promise of warmth to come.
My Great Aunt Edith was a live-in cook. She worked for a wealthy family in Lake Forest, Illinois -- Adlai Stevenson III's maternal grandmother, as it happened.
Like most children, I didn't really pay that much attention to the adults around me. Particularly this time of year, my biggest interest in Aunt Edith concerned what she might have gotten me for Christmas.
One of life's great mysteries is how fascinating it is to talk about your own illnesses -- but how boring it is to listen to anybody else's.
So rather than regale you with the heroic saga of my week-long battle with vertigo (my third bout in six years, as it happens), followed and compounded by the flu, I'll get right to the point: when you can't get out of bed, it's important to have a whole bunch of your favorite books immediately at hand.