Iron Horse a Peterson family bicycle affair

Courtesy of Janet Peterson

Getting psyched for their first Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Citizens Ride as a family are the children of Carroll “Pete” and Maxine Peterson, from left, Trent Peterson, Laurie Peterson, Janet Peterson and Terryl Peterson. Their parents stayed overnight in Silverton so they could greet them at the finish line.

Every rider in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic has a story, of hours spent training, of what inspires them and why it matters to them to finish the grueling 50-mile race, much of it spent climbing.

For the Peterson “kids,” it was a challenge for all four of them to cross the finish line together. Trent Peterson, Terryl Peterson and Janet Peterson had all ridden the race before – although Janet says her brother and sister are a lot faster than she is.

Laurie Peterson, who lives in Florida, was riding for the first time for her 50th birthday. She spent a lot of time training in parking garages and over bridges, then came thee days early to acclimate to the altitude. She may have grown up in Durango, but years living at sea level take their toll.

Janet Peterson was celebrating just being alive to ride the race, after combatting a wicked case of necrotizing fascitis that almost killed her in 2011.

Carroll “Pete” and Maxine Peterson may be in their 80s, but they were determined not to let their children have all the fun. They headed up to Silverton the night before the race so they could catch them all coming across the finish line.

The faster duo had a different race experience as they held to the pace established by the “slower” pair, and all four arrived together around 12:30 p.m. May 26. The smiles on their faces said it all: “We did it!”

Janet Peterson is also celebrating moving back to Durango after nearly 30 years away. She and her significant other, Bart Womack, are building a home here and will commute to their teaching jobs at San Juan College in Farmington. She’s the Peterson child who followed in her father’s footsteps. He is a professor emeritus of English at Fort Lewis College, and Janet Peterson earned her doctorate in English, too.

Congratulations to all the Petersons.

And “Dr. Pete” will never forgive me if I forget to mention the annual Barbershop Chorus of the Narrow Gauge is holding its annual concert featuring a century’s worth of popular music at 7:01 p.m. today at the Smiley Theatre.

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Am I seeing double? No, it’s just time to wish these Geminis a happy birthday – Max Jaye, Ken Jenkins, Benjamin Wiley, Billy Greer, TomMaloney, Becky Owen, Karen Johnson, Ruth Wagner, J. Richard Loucks, Bob McGrath, Sloan Mazur, Scott Hagler, Klare Nava, Marcy Pugh, LucasMarkley, Linnea Close, Darrell Gardner, Dick Bell, Mary Jo Rakowski, Gwyn Stites, Kyle Kirchner, Ronald Anderson, Roger Hausen, TracyKennedy, Shelley Plomske, Randy Hatcher, Will Connelly, Ment Goehring, Monique Monson, Mary Helen Watkins and June Mason.

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The Reading Club of Durango finished its program year on Latin American literature and authors with a President’s Luncheon in an Asian theme at East by Southwest. It’s not that far off the theme, because a number of Japanese and Chinese immigrants made their way to live among our southern neighbors.

It was also a perfect choice for this year’s president, Laurel Vogl, who not only has had a long love affair with Asia and Japan, but brought back souvenirs for all of us as her president’s gift from her most recent trip to the Land of the Rising Sun.

The bookmarks, made of Japanese decorative papers, will make all of our reading more exotic, no matter the settings of the books themselves.

Members are already gearing up for the 2012-13 program year, which kicks off at the end of September. The theme is game-changers – inventions, people and movements that changed the course of everything from politics to medicine, religion to technology. The programs promise to be fascinating.

To start the year, members will be reading Duane Smith’s The Women Who Saved Mesa Verde, because the club’s foremothers were on the forefront of the battle to have Mesa Verde declared a national park.

In their own stalwart way, the women of the Reading Club of Durango from its founding in the Victorian age in 1882 and continuing to the present day have been instruments of change for Durango.

It seems the perfect topic to celebrate the club’s 130th anniversary.

I need to make a disclaimer here. I have been a member of the Reading Club of Durango since 1999, in my pre-Neighbors days. When I accepted the columnist job in 2000, I stepped down from all the boards and other organizations with which I was involved, but I refused to step down from Reading Club.

Since its founding, the club has always had newspaperwomen as members, including my predecessor, the late Sally Morrissey, the late Herald publishers Bessie McDevitt and Morley Ballantine and even charter member Laura Marsh, whose father founded the Herald. Heck, if I hadn’t already been a member, they would practically have had to invite me when I was hired to write the column!

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The other long-term reading group in Durango, Tuesday Literary Club, founded in 1938, also celebrated the end of its program year in May, but this time it was a spring picnic, although cool weather drove us inside Jim and Bee Attwood’s beautiful Animas Valley home.

Suzanne Zerbe served as co-hostess. The club is happy to have her back in fighting form after she spent months healing from shoulder surgery.

Conversation is always lively at Tuesday Lit, as it’s called, and this event was no exception. Topics ranged from the great programs they had enjoyed over the past year to plans for the summer and shared envy over Mary and George Thompson’s recent three-week trip to Italy.

They spent two weeks with a group from St. Columba Catholic Church led by the Rev. Jim Koenigsfeld. The highlight of that portion was probably celebrating Mass in the crypt beneath St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice. The highlight of the rest may have been the food.

Tuesday Lit members spent a lot of time raving over Thompson’s antipasto ravioli at the potluck.

The picnic always ends with an important announcement: the unveiling of next year’s theme. When members gather again in October, they will be learning about intrepid women explorers.

I’m just an honorary member of Tuesday Lit, but that too is part of a tradition. Sally Morrissey was a member, and Thompson, her daughter is second generation in the tradition. Nancy Elliott, Morrissey’s predecessor, was also a member, and her daughter, Lucy Olson, and granddaughter Joanie Olson make them a three-generation Tuesday Lit family.

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Making this a trifecta of stories about reading groups, one which doesn’t have such a long and illustrious history but which is interesting in its own way came about because of my senior seminar English teacher at Durango High School, Lillian McKelvey.

In a brief comment to me, she once said that she didn’t think one could be considered a literate person if he or she had not read Thucydides’ The History of the Peloponnesian War. Unfortunately, I don’t remember why she said that, but it stuck.

For years, I moved my Penguin Classics version of the book with its teeny tiny print, never progressing much past the first chapter. I made an offhand remark about Mrs. McKelvey to Judith Reynolds, and she volunteered to read Thucydides with me.

And thus was born the Guilt Reading Group about nine years ago. On Saturday, the group gathered for a salad lunch and just to discuss what we’d been reading, but it reminded us why we had met for the first place.

As Suzanne Zerbe said, looking around the table at a group that included people with doctoral and master’s degrees, “Here we are, all these people with a lot of initials after our names, and all of us felt like we had big holes in our knowledge.”

Will Coe, who is one of those PhDs, said when he received his degree, he thought that if what he knew was all it took to earn the degree, it didn’t feel like much of an honor. It’s safe to say he’s never stopped reading and learning – he’s now postdoctoral all the way, even after his retirement from Fort Lewis College.

And so we read, not just Thucydides, but Lucretius, Stendahl, James Joyce, William Faulkner and other classics that maybe some of us had read, but were happy to reread. We all came away with a greater understanding after reading the works with the group.

We ate well, too. If it’s Thucydides, the menu was Greek, for Lucretius, Italian and for Stendahl, ooh là là, French.

Thanks to Garth and Sue Buchanan for hosting us. Other member who made it to lunch were John Erickson, Shaila Van Sickle, her husband, JohnSanders and Reynolds. We missed Roger and Shirley Buslee, who wasn’t feeling well, and there is always an empty chair where the late David Reynolds used to sit. Vickie Coe was off on an adventure to Taos, N.M.

And the name? We felt so guilty everyone else was reading the sometimes dense material, we read it, too. And regarding Thucydides, if you decide to join the “literate” group, I highly suggest an annotated copy.

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The plethora of anniversaries for those former June brides is underway – Wyn Berven and Linda Mack, David and Claudia Engle, Bernie and DianeWelle, Mike and Marcia Bray, Kenny and Michelle Schramko, Ben and Mindy Breed, Jeff and Caroline Munger, J. Richard and Susanne Loucks, Carter and Sue Hampton, John Condie and Wanda Ellingson, Jim and CarolWest, Larry and Roberta Day, John and Mary Walters, Steve Parker and Geni Miller-Parker, Darrell and Sonja Smith, Jack and Bert Baker, Gip and Karen Aldrich and Jerry and Jane Maxey.

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neighbors@durangoherald.com

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