Western history Western Travel

Indoor Activities

Minnehaha FallsI’ve always enjoyed January for its fresh start after the holidays, and its sunny crisp weather punctuated by occasional sparkling powdery snow swirling around at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. It is also a good time to enjoy indoor diversions and activities. I don’t know what you might be thinking, but here are some of my favorite January activities.

The Post Card Club had a sale and show this month. My pal Christie and I attended and scored big time. While my friend wheeled and dealed for some historic documents, I found a post card that looked suspiciously like an image by pioneer viewist William E. Hook, although it was not identified as such. Sure enough, when I got home, I was able to match it to an identical image by Hook. It will be a perfect addition to my Pikes Peak History Symposium presentation in June, along with some cabinet cards I purchased. Anxious to learn new information. I quickly discovered that Victorian cabinet cards are original photos mounted on stiff cardboard, about 6″x8″ in size. They can be seen from across the room when propped up on a cabinet, thus the name, cabinet cards.

A few days ago, I was a presenter on a panel about organizing research material at the Columbine Genealogical and Historical Society. I serve on the board of directors, which is a great way to return some support for all they’ve done for me. I learn as much as the audience from participating on such a panel.

Another way to enjoy Western History during the winter months is to visit the library. Not only can you pick up a book about your favorite western subject, (biographies by Joyce Lohse are very good,) but don’t forget to check the video section. We recently watched The Searchers, starring John Wayne, sometimes considered The Duke’s best work. It is certainly a fine production by John Ford, in which the scenery becomes an important element of the film. We passed through Monument Valley, Utah on the way to Arizona a few months back, where this, and many other westerns were filmed. The magnificently stunning landscape has lured many Midwesterners such as ourselves to turn our backs on the cornfield landscape of the heartland and adopt the west as our home.

For viewing this movie on a chilly winter evening, may I suggest pairing it with wine and pizza. Any Oregon pinot noir and Big Bill’s pizza works for me!

Joyce B. Lohse, 1/20/11