My son, Orion, sent me a notice that The Times-Independent was looking for someone to report on noteworthy items from the northern burgs of Grand County. I thought about it for a few days, and then e-mailed the new editor, Greg Knight, to let him know I might be interested in giving it a shot, though I’m certainly not well schooled in journalism. Greg encouraged me to send him some copy, saying he thought it was important, because he was pretty sure that the small communities of Thompson Springs, Crescent Junction and Cisco weren’t getting any love from the media, or the larger populace in general. He ended up offering me a chance to submit a monthly column, if I can send in anything useable.
A bit of bio so you know where I’m coming from and what you might expect in this column: I was born in Moab in July 1953, which made me not only a baby boomer, but also a uranium boomer. I grew up in Thompson where my folks operated the various Desert Moon businesses. I attended first and second grades at our little two-room schoolhouse in Thompson. We moved to Moab for five years, returning to the family business again in 1965. I’ve lived here for over 50 years since that time, because, as I like to point out, someone has to. I’m the only one of four siblings who stayed in this area.
I worked in the family businesses since I was big enough to be somewhat useful, cutting weeds, digging ditches, building fences, pumping gas and everything else that needs doing around a few hundred acres of desert. In 1973 I got lucky, landing a job with Strong Construction Company building the ten-mile stretch of Interstate 70 that passes by Thompson Springs. I worked on several other road construction jobs in southeastern Utah for the same company over the next several years, as well as working for some local companies like Southern Paving. I was cutting and hauling firewood for sale between real jobs in the late fall of 1982. Upon returning to town one evening I was cornered by my wife at the time, and the local Utah Department of Transportation foreman. They told me I was going to work for UDOT the following Monday at the Thompson maintenance station. I explained in no uncertain terms that they were up in the night, because I was a construction hand, not a state road-ent! But, alas, I lost the argument, agreeing to try snowplowing, crack sealing, and pothole patching just for the winter months. I meant it too. I put my foot down so hard, that I was able to get back out of that job after only 31 years.
There were a lot of other flavors of water flowing under my bridge during those years, but that will be some of the basis for tales I might tell in future columns. Suffice it to say that I am now a happily married and retired grandpa with too many things still on my list yet to accomplish — this column being one of them.
I don’t see myself relating much big news about doings in my neck of the woods, as that is already generally covered elsewhere, but I will update you on generally unknown things that you may find of interest, and introduce you to some of our areas colorful characters that reside in the shadow of our awesome Book Cliffs. However, what I really hope to do is to share some good stories I’ve gleaned from old timers, some of my own special experiences, and a few obscure things I may have read. You can expect to see more items of actual interest beginning next month.