Monday, January 31, 2011


New Paris High School

As a continuation of Part 1 in this series, I would like to add some comments about the New Paris High School Cubs.  As noted in the previous posts, our varsity team was 41 and 6 during our junior and senior years.  Possibly the most noteworthy memory, or non-memory, of those days was that we achieved such a high level of success with a coach who never yelled at us.  Over the years I have watched the vast majority of high school, college and pro coaches using raised voices, verbal intimidation and humiliation, and even physical abuse as a part of their coaching method, and this has led me to appreciation and respect for our NPHS coach, Jim Hettler.  Coach Hettler got the very best out of all of us not by screaming and hollering, but by teaching and mentoring.  I am sure that he got irritated with us, and his correctives may have been stern but they were not out-of-control.

Although we 'minute-men' did not see a great deal of action on game night, we surely felt part of the winning team.  Every practice, we all worked extremely hard in both the drills and the scrimmages.  I still recollect the fast break drills, the 2 on 1 and 3 on 2 drills, the offense vs zone defense compared to the offense vs man-to-man defense, the full-court and half-court press drills, the 1-2-2, the 2-1-2, the 1-3-1 and the box-and-one, running laps for missed free-throws, and most importantly, the proper execution of the pick-and-roll.  We succeeded because we had superior talent, skills and coaching.  The New Paris Cubs mascot, a wooden cut-out of an overweight bear cub, may not have struck too much fear in any opponent, but I am fairly sure that none of our neighboring schools believed that we would play like our dough-boy mascot!

Sadly, three members shown in the picture in Part 1 have passed away.  Lonnie Clem and Stan Myers both succumbed to lung cancer after years of smoking, and I was recently told that Steve Hoffman also passed away.  If any of you readers have information on the whereabouts and doings of the others, please add a comment.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


On the afternoon of Thursday, January 27, about 50 members of the CU-Colorado Springs campus came together in the third floor apse of the Kraemer Family Library to share memories and reflections on the life and career of Jim Mattoon.  The gathering was sponsored by Chancellor Pam Shockley and hosted by Provost Peg Bacon.  After the Chancellor's opening remarks, I, along with numerous other folks, shared.

Jim was a colleague and friend.  In 1982, the biology department consisted of the late Bob Catlett as Chairman, Professor Don Van Horn, Professor Jim Eley, Jim and me.  Jim had joined the department three years earlier, and, as a Colorado native,  it was a coming-home for Jim, back to the state and to the mountains that he loved so much.  However, I don't think that was the main reason Jim came to UCCS.  Jim left a successful career at research intensive institutions, but like most of us who work here, Jim was a firm believer in the liberal arts undergraduate education in which students are introduced to the breadth of the academy as well as to the depths of the various disciplines.  Jim also believed in the three core activities of the professoriate - teaching, research and service.  Jim did not view these as non-overlapping magesteria, or even as complementary activities, but rather as integrated functions that strengthened one another.  Jim believed that research is integral to teaching, and was among the first to emphasize the importance of research at UCCS, including undergraduates as active participants.

As news of Jim's passing spread through the UCCS community, I heard from several of our former biology students, each of whom interestingly had continued their education to receive either an MD or PhD.  They appreciated Jim's teaching, commenting that he was a difficult but fair professor who would offer as much assistance as necessary to help them in the classroom; they appreciated his fervor for research that included them as a part of his research team; and they very much appreciated Jim as a mentor - someone who was interested not only in their scholarly development but also in their growth and maturity as individuals.

Among the many things that I appreciated about Jim, there are three that I will briefly mention:  commitment, passion, and vision.

Commitment - When one spoke of Jim, it often became Jim and Martha.  They were truly a team, with a shared commitment to UCCS [I believe that Martha helped found Curiosity Unlimited]; to their family, son Tom and daughter Jean, and grandson Travis who was surely the apple of their eye; to their church community; and to the greater Colorado Springs community.

Passion - When Jim was committed to something, he was also enthusiastic and passionate about his commitment.   In addition to the commitments mentioned, Jim was also committed to honesty, fairness and justice, and if he believed that there was dishonesty, unfairness or injustice, his passion would become visible.  Slowly his neck would begin to turn pink, and then the coloring would move to his face to become a crimson red, and the only way I can describe this would be "volcanic."  As the red intensified, there would soon be an eruption of words, sometimes accompanied by a fist-slam on the desk or a stomping of the foot.  But soon afterward, the color would disappear, his point would be well-taken, and Jim would return to a calmer state. 

Vision - When Jim arrived at UCCS in 1979, this campus was a dinghy tenuously and loosely tethered to the Flagship Campus in Boulder; it was Cragmoor, the Sanitarium, the extension campus.  But Jim saw much potential, not to grow into a mini-CU-Boulder, but to establish its own identity.  Part of that identity was a strong research program.  Jim had the audacity to propose and ultimately establish a Biotechnology Center outside of the Boulder city limits.  Jim was a leader and champion of research and scholarly work and for including undergraduates in these activities.  I believe Jim was very proud of the UCCS of 2010 compared to the UCCS of 1979.  We should always remember the many contributions that Jim and Martha made to this campus, and to the students, faculty and staff.  Nos vemos amigo, and godspeed.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


One of my favorite classical pieces with incredible sand animations.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


No, these are not squirrel moguls but rather are typical moguls one would encounter on many blue or black ski runs in Colorado.  For any non-skiers out there, moguls are formed on steeper slopes when numerous skiers follow the same route down and push snow to the side on each turn.  The snow begins to stack up and as more skiers follow the same line, the moguls grow, sometimes reaching heights of over 6 feet.  I have never been a fan of skiing moguls [not enough talent], but if you want to be impressed with mogul skiing, watch these incredible folks ski the bumps.

Now on to the squirrels - we get some pretty big snowfalls in Boulder and it is interesting to watch how the wildlife in our backyard react.  We have a nice diversity of critters out back including at least a dozen species of birds, and a few snakes, raccoons, fox, deer and bear.  And of course the 'tree rat' squirrels.  When they are not eating, they can be quite playful, chasing each other while being ever mindful of the possibility of the fox coming by.  When the snow gets really deep, they tend to leap because then cannot make a straight, flat run, and when they do this on the split rail fence, they create their own version of moguls - hence Squirrel Moguls.

Click on Picture to Enlarge

Sunday, January 23, 2011


A Sabbath Wish For Everyone

Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a firm foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your songs always be sung
May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


June 1965

Many, if not most, younger folks have never had the experience of traveling cross-country by thumbing. For that matter, most have probably never thumbed a ride anywhere. But “back in the day” when hitchhiking was common, more accepted and definitely safer than today, my good friend [and unbeknownst future brother-in-law] Ken Willems and I decided to hitch west, with Aspen, Colorado as the target. I had spent the previous summer in Aspen as a tag-along with my sister Kay who attended the Aspen Music Festival and School. Another Goshen fellow, Dan Lind, had also been accepted to the music camp, and I was able to live in the Lamplighter motel along with Dan. I got a job working in the kitchen of the Skillet at the Glory Hole Lodge. The Skillet was known for its steak – you could walk up to the raw side of beef and gesture with your fingers as to how thick you wanted your steak, and then it would be grilled over an open flame. The good news for me is that many fine steaks were not consumed and sent to the kitchen to be scavenged. Since I had become acquainted with the Alderfer family, a Mennonite connection, Ken and I decided that we could probably stay with them if we actually made it to Aspen. Ken had some relatives along the way, and we figured they would be good for some meals and a place to sleep.

Ken was a founding member of the original Backdoormen, [not these folks or these guys or these guys but documented here], a Chicago Blues band made up of Steve Kreider, lead singer and harmonica; Fred Hostetler, lead guitar; Geoff Hartzler, bass; Dean Taggert, drums; and Ken, rhythm guitar. Ken played a Backdoormen session at the United Methodist Church in Goshen where Dean’s dad was the pastor. Ken’s portion of the evening’s proceeds was 17 dollars. I had saved up about 22 dollars for the trip, and we felt that we could go quite far on such a large stash of cash.  The trip almost did not happen - after the Backdoormen gig and the divvying up of the proceeds [which induced Taggert to grumble that he thought Steve and Fred pocketed more than $17], Ken was sitting on the hood of my car.  Someone suggested a drive around the block with Ken as the hood ornament, so we headed out.  Immediately Ken started to slip off of the hood, and I sped up a bit to try to slide him back on.  But he kept on slipping.  So, I decided the only way that I would not run over him was to slam on the brakes really hard, which I did - Ken flew, unhurt, but also not squished.

So the day after the gig, we hit the road.  We packed a small hard-cover tan suitcase with clothes, toiletries and a hatchet for “protection.” We also took Ken’s acoustic guitar, two sleeping bags, and a bag of sandwiches and food for our initial days on the road.

Memorable Rides and Visits

Since it is 45 years after our travels, we cannot reconstruct all of the details of our trip, but we certainly have some vivid memories of portions of the journey. So here we recount some of the memorable rides, interesting characters and odd happenings on our way to Aspen and back.

Ken’s dad Abe took us to US 6 south of New Paris, Indiana and our first ride took us only to Nappanee where the fellow was going to work. The rest of the day, the rides were fairly short and not memorable. Our first night was at Joliet, IL, near the junction of US 30 and I 80, and in the dark, we walked off the road a bit, rolled out the bags and hit the hay. In the morning we found that we were in a ditch, there was some water at our feet and we were near a big excavation, probably for a shopping center. We then realized that we should have packed a flashlight for our trip. Also, after one day we knew that we had to work on our hitchhiking “style” with variations on the thumb theme – synchronous moves, over under, swings, smiles vs. scowls, standing backwards – so that if we didn’t get a ride, we at least would get a laugh.

In Iowa, a middle aged man picked us up. He was driving a typical businessman’s car, and insisted that we both ride in the front seat with him so that he could “keep an eye” on us –did not want a deranged college student in the back seat behind him we guessed. We don’t recollect his business, but at one time, he was a basketball coach, and knew a lot about Indiana high school basketball including the details of the North Side gym at Elkhart high school. At the time, North Side was the largest high school gym in the country, seating 8200, and it was the home court of the Elkhart Blue Blazers, a perennial powerhouse because the school had over 3000 students in three grades. New Paris high school had less than 200 in four grades.

Our first overnight that wasn’t along the road in a cornfield was in Milford, Nebraska with Johnny and Dora Willems, Ken’s uncle and aunt. We had not contacted anyone beforehand to say that we were on our way, and not remembering exactly where they lived, we walked into town, asked around a bit, found their house and knocked on their door. They were a bit shocked, but welcomed us in to their home for the night, and for some good home-cooked meals.

Somewhere west of Milford, we got picked up by three twenty-something guys. They were a jovial crew, and were headed “west.” They all sat in the front seat, and we squeezed into the back seat that contained a lot of boxes. In western Iowa and Nebraska, the interstate was complete between all of the towns along the way, but the interchanges were not finished. So, at each place an interchange was being built, traffic had to exit the interstate, pass through the town, and then return to the interstate. Pretty soon, we began to figure out that our ride was not simply with three dudes heading west. As we approached each town, one of the fellows would get on their CB radio and call to see if there were any pawn shops in town. We also noted that the trunk was loaded with boxes that looked to be electronics and other miscellaneous stuff. We surmised that they were thieves and were financing their trip with stolen goods. At a gas stop, one fellow filled up, another distracted the attendant, and the third stole a bunch of tools. They laughed as they roared west, and we decided that we had some friends that we needed to stop and see in the next town.

It turned out that we did have a friend in a nearby town – Steve Oswald in Chappell, Nebraska. Not having a clue where Steve lived, we stuck out our thumbs to see if we could get some local information. We got picked up by two girls who knew Steve and where he lived. We went to his house, and no one was home. We cruised around town for a while and went back to Oswald’s place. He still was not home, but we noted that their garage was not locked, so we stayed there overnight.

If you head south out of Chappell, you are soon in Colorado. We got a ride to the interstate that heads southwest into Denver – it is now I-76 but then it was I-80 South. It was there that a Colorado State Patrol officer said we couldn’t hitchhike in CO, and directed us to walk back to Nebraska. As we stood by the road, contemplating our next move, two college-age boys stopped to see if we wanted a ride. It quickly became apparent that these were two wild-and-crazy frat boys heading to California. They drove their Corvair about as fast and furious as it could possibly go. Since Colorado was a 3.2 beer state, they boys were also loaded up with Coors. As we headed into the mountains west of Denver, the hairpin turns became a challenge to see how fast the boys could make the turns by sliding and drifting – fortunately Corvairs have a very low center of gravity. The fellows also thought it was great sport to chuck their empty beer bottles at road signs and at any fisherman that they could spot – again fortunately, they had poor aim. At one of their numerous potty stops, they noted a stack of telephone poles along the edge of the road, close to the steep bank of the river. Well, that called for rolling the poles down the bank. We survived the ride to Glenwood Springs where they headed on west and we headed to Aspen. We thought we should get cleaned up a bit, so as we often did, we used a gas station restroom as our personal space for shaving and cleaning up. About half way through our routine, the station attendant kicked us out. Doug was done shaving and Ken was about half way through – not sure how he finished up.

When we arrived in Aspen, Doug had a vague recollection of where the Alderfers lived –mobile home park, across the Roaring Fork, and not much else. So again, we asked around and located their place. Like several other hospitals in Colorado, the Aspen hospital was staffed by administrators from the Mennonite Church, and David Alderfer, a Souderton, Pennsylvania Menno, was the chaplain and manager of the Hospitality Center. We spent most of our days in Aspen wandering around the places that Doug knew about from the previous summer. Our favorite was Pinocchio’s, a pizza joint that was a favorite of college-age kids; pizza and 3.2 Coors – what more could one want?? One evening, as we prepared to head out from the Alderfers, their high school age son [Dan we think, presumably the youngest and only one living at home], quickly moved through the living room, asked if we wanted to hang out with him and his friends, opened up his jacket to reveal to us a bottle of wine, and headed out the door to his awaiting scooter. We declined.

After we left Aspen, we spent one night in the high country. It was quite cold, and Doug was certain that there were timber rattlers in the area and that we would find them in our sleeping bags. After a restless night, we awoke to find no rattlesnakes. As we headed back toward Denver, one of our rides was in a pickup with a cowboy of few words. He did not say anything for miles, but as we passed Gypsum, Colorado, he simply stated “Gypsum - Center of the goddamned universe.” We didn’t press for an explanation.

When we got to Denver, our plan was to look up Bob Roth, a good friend that we knew from our high school days in Indiana. Since we had not contacted anyone beforehand, we should not have been surprised that he was not home. So, we scouted out his apartment building and noted that it had a very nice mailroom, with a door that locked. So we camped out there overnight, and every once in a while, an irate tenant would pound on the door and demand entrance. We ignored all requests for entry, and sneaked out the next morning.

When we headed east out of Denver, we decided that we should head south and then east in to Kansas because Ken had relatives in Kansas that would be good for a meal and a place to sleep. In southeast Colorado, we were stuck for quite a while at the junction of US 385 and US 50, near Granada. There’s not too much traffic there, so each time a car went by, we gave our most enthusiastic and inventive hitching routines. After at least two hours, a huge white car pulled up. It was a Hispanic couple, and with the beer cases stacked in the back seat and open bottles in the front, it quickly became apparent that the male driver was three sheets to the wind. As he sped east at maybe 85 mph, his wife would constantly badger him in Spanish. After quite a few miles, he slammed on the brakes and pulled to the side of the road. We were a bit relieved that they switched places, but not for long – she had been drinking as well and drove quite a bit faster – up to 100 mph as we recollect. However, she maintained control without as much weaving as her husband. But, this was not the most memorable part – after they switched places, he offered us another beer and said “You guys are the Beatles, aren’t ya?” When we assured him that we were not the Beatles, he didn’t buy it. He must have made his claim a half a dozen times – “I know you guys are the Beatles, aren’t ya?” Young white dudes with a bit of hair and carrying a guitar – we supposed it made sense!

We’re not sure how far into Kansas the couple took us, but it wasn’t too long until we arrived in Greensburg where Ken’s Grandpa Abe and Grandma Lydia Willems lived. Again, we got a nice bath, good beds, and some great meals made by Lydia, particularly the soups and pflaume mousse, German for plum mousse. One distinct memory was Lydia not saying much, but just listening and giggling as Ken, Doug and Abe talked and told stories. Lydia also had a “wandering eye” so we never knew exactly where she was looking. Probably because Abe thought we were a bit crazy, he drove us up to Hesston where Ken had some more relatives.

In Hesston, we stayed with Milf & Rosie Willems Roupp. We thought we were pretty clever because we showed up at the restaurant that they ran at about meal time. Well, we did get to eat at The Wagon Wheel, but when it came time to settle up the bill, they comped Ken’s meal but not Doug’s. Ken felt bad enough that afterwards, he paid for half of Doug’s dinner. Ken also had a college “friend” in Hesston, Sue Yost, and one evening we went to the Yost’s for dinner - shrimp.

Our last memorable ride came in Saint Louis. It was getting dark and we were on the east edge of the city. We very much wanted to make it out of the city and set up our camp in the countryside. At dusk, a single guy, about 40, picked up us up and said he was heading out east. Ken sat up front and Doug sat in the back with the suitcase and sleeping bags. However, the driver soon told us that the cops were looking for two hitchhikers and that we should spend the night at his place. Clueless, we declined and said we just wanted to get east of town. He kept repeating how the cops were looking for two hitchhikers heading east, and we kept declining his suggestion. Then, out of the blue, he reached over and reached for Ken’s groin and asked him “how’s your old dick?” Ken caught his hand and called him a son of a bitch, and called for him to let us out. Ken was furious and yelling, and Doug still didn’t catch on to what was going on in the front seat. However, Ken yelled “Get the axe” and Doug clicked the suitcase open and got it out, and the dude stopped and let us out. He made an immediate u-turn back into town, and we walked far into a cornfield to spend the night.

We bypassed the last of Ken’s relatives in Illinois and were happy to get back to our own beds and homes. However, we had no regrets, and even had a couple of bucks left over.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I am probably too much of a purist and perfectionist when it comes to basketball, but watching the University of Colorado-Boulder team can be very frustrating.  We attended the home game versus Oklahoma State University and watched their latest game played at Nebraska.  My bleacher-analysis is quite simple:  when they play team-ball, they win; when the play me-ball, they lose.  They were very fortunate to pull out the win over OSU; they fell behind by 12, but managed a comeback that was aided by the officials calling lots of fouls when CU would take it to the basket.  I don't remember the numbers, but know that CU shot a whole lot more free-throws that OSU.  Such was not the case in Nebraska - the officiating was much more reserved, and whenever CU would force the ball toward the basket, they almost invariably turned it over.  CU has two or three players that might get drafted by an NBA team, and unfortunately they sometimes get carried away with their own game rather than the team's game.  Against OSU and particularly against Nebraska, Higgins and Burks would try to drive and be met by two or three or four defenders, and rather than looking for the obvious open teammate, would continue and either put up a wild shot or lose the ball.  Another thing that drives me crazy is when a me-ball player leading a three-on-one fast break, which should be an automatic layup, pulls up at about 12 feet for a jumper.  Such play would earn some bench time on my team!!

And for now, I am afraid this is true:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

JIM MATTOON- 1930-2010

On Christmas Eve, Dr. James Mattoon, friend and colleague passed away due to complications of cancer.  I will long remember Jim for his easy smile, his bright-red face when he got upset, his scholarly excellence, and his commitment to family, friends, church, and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.  His obituary reads:

Dr. James R. (Jim) Mattoon, 80, of Loveland and formerly Colorado Springs, passed away early Friday morning, December 24, 2010 at the Loveland Good Samaritan Village Health Care in Loveland, Colorado. Jim was born December 9, 1930 in Loveland, Colorado, the fourth child of Maxwell Mattoon and Margaret Scilley Mattoon. He grew up in Loveland and attended schools there. He attended Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University) and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1953, and married Martha Jean McKissick on June 16, l953. He received his Masters of Science and PhD degrees from the University of Wisconsin in biochemistry and taught at the University of Nebraska, the Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore, Maryland, and moved to Colorado Springs in 1979 to teach at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, from where he retired. Jim lived in both Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro where he did further research and taught. He lectured in many places in the world, often in the local language, and supervised many foreign graduated students and post doctoral students. He was a noted researcher using yeast as the basis of his research. At the time of his retirement, he was teaching in the Microbiology and Genetics department of CU, Colorado Springs. He was an accomplished pianist and tenor soloist in his younger years. He is survived by a son, Thomas Mattoon of Tustin, California, a daughter Jean Mattoon Fassler and husband Joe of Colorado Springs, one grandson, Travis Mattoon of Colorado Springs, a sister, Patricia Waltermire and husband Kent of Longmont, Colorado, and many nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his wife, Martha, his parents, two brothers, a sister, and two nephews. Memorial gifts may be sent to University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Biotechnology Center, 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy, Colorado Springs, CO 80918 which he and Martha established.


Today's tune is I'll Rise by Ben Harper. The lyrics are based on a poem by Maya Angelou.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter twisted lies
You may trod me down in the very dirt
And still like the dust I'll rise
Does my happiness upset you
Why are you best with gloom
Cause I laugh like I've got an oil well
Pumpin' in my living room

So you may shoot me with your words
You may cut me with your eyes
And I'll rise
I'll rise
I'll rise

Out of the shacks of history's shame
Up from a past rooted in pain
I'll rise
I'll rise
I'll rise

Now did you want to see me broken
Bowed head and lowered eyes
Shoulders fallen down like tear drops
Weakened by my soulful cries
Does my confidence upset you
Don't you take it awful hard
Cause I walk like I've got a diamond mine
Breakin up in my front yard

So you may shoot me with your words
You may cut me with your eyes
And I'll rise
I'll rise
I'll rise

Out of the shacks of history's shame
Up from a past rooted in pain
I'll rise
I'll rise
I'll rise

So you may write me down in history
With your bitter twisted lies
You may trod me down in the very dirt
And still like the dust I'll rise
Does my happiness upset you
Why are you best with gloom
Cause I laugh like I've got a goldmine
Diggin' up in my living room

Now you may shoot me with your words
You may cut me with your eyes
And I'll rise
I'll rise
I'll rise

Out of the shacks of history's shame
Up from a past rooted in pain
I'll rise
I'll rise
I'll rise

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My taste in music is eclectic - I don't have a most favorite song, band, or style of music, although I do have some dislikes!  Several previous posts have been music of different types, including Song for a Dead Princess, Nada te Turbe, O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Hallelujah, and Be Thou My Vision.  Now I am going to try to regularly add a song that I find particularly special.  They won't be in any particular order of preference, and thus there is no "ranking" involved.

I don't think that the Sanford Townsend Band had too many hits, but this is a fine tune - and something that I also find impressive is a live performance that equals the recorded version.  Hope you enjoy.

You left me here on your way to paradise
You pulled the rug right out from under my life
I know where you goin' to I knew when you came home last night
'Cause your eyes had a mist from the smoke of a distant fire

Lord, I was stung shoulda seen it come a long time ago
When I realized the reality gave me a roll
If things are the same then explain why your kiss is so cold
And that mist in your eyes feels like rain on the fire in my soul

This lying, and cryin's upsettin' and getting no where
It don't stack up, so slack up and pack up, I just don't care
Don't let the screen door hit you, on your way out
Don't you drown when your dream boat runs onto the ground

I'd just like to know do you love him or just making time
By filling his glass with your fast flowing bitter-sweet lies
He'll face the after taste when you come home late some night
With your eyes all a mist from the smoke of a distant fire

Girl your eyes have a mist from the smoke of a distant fire
Well your eyes have a mist from the smoke of a distant fire
Your eyes have the mist from the smoke of a distant fire
Well your eyes have a mist from the smoke of a distant fire
Oh girl your eyes have a mist from the smoke of a distant fire
Mist in your eyes from a distant fire
Girl your eyes have a mist from the smoke of a distant
A distant fire

Friday, January 14, 2011


We recently returned from a one-week trip to Indiana and Michigan.  We stayed with Ed and Mary whilst in Goshen and then traveled to Evart, MI to visit with Rhonda's brother and sister-in-law.  We flew to Midway and had a rental car for the rest of the trip.  There was significant lake-effect snow during the week, but we managed to get out and about without getting stuck.  South Bend received over 25 inches in one 24 hour period, but Goshen only got 10 inches - enough to keep me busy shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. 

Goshen tends not to be a prime vacation destination, but if you do venture that way, there are several places that you might want to visit.  The historic downtown area has retained a vibrancy that many small towns have lost, and hosts a monthly First Friday event that draws thousands.  There are numerous nice restaurants, a variety of shops, and a stately courthouse.

Just north of the courthouse and across main street is one place that you should not miss - the Olympia Candy Kitchen.  Be sure to order a pork and olive sandwich on toast, and finish up with a soda, shake, sundae or phosphate.

Another place that you should hit is about a mile south of downtown on south Main Street - The South Side Soda Shop - check out the video.

If you go a bit further south on Main Street, you will come to the campus of Goshen College, and you might enjoy wandering around, visiting the bookstore and checking out the facilities, especially Sauder Music Hall [yes, that Sauder].  If you are there on a Sunday, visit College Mennonite Church to hear some fine a capella singing.

Then, be sure to head west from the College campus on Westwood Road - at the end of the street you will find the Goshen Dam and Millrace park and trails.

If you happen to be there July 22-30, 2011, be sure to visit the Elkhart County Fair at the fairgrounds on the edge of town.  It's one of the largest county fairs in the country, and activities range from 4-H to top entertainment, and of course lots of food and rides.  Also, only in the summertime, you can enjoy some great ice cream at The Chief.  Goshen also has many antique stores, a year-round Farmer's Market and one of the few Wal-Mart stores with places for the Amish to hitch their horses and buggies.

If you are downtown and feel the need for caffeine, stop in at the Electric Brew for a mocha and a pastry.  And if you need to wet your whistle, across the street from the Electic Brew you will find Constant Spring, Goshen's only non-smoking bar.  There you will find a dozen brews on tap, including some local craft beers, and often there will be live entertainment in the evening.  If you don't mind having a cold one in a smoke-filled bar, head west of downtown to the Oasis.  The O doesn't have a website, but they do have a YouTube video :-)  Stick with the video past the mixed drink to see the marvelous back-bar.

Monday, January 03, 2011


While Goshen College continues to wrestle with the issue of the National Anthem, Pepperdine has a long-standing issue with the Phillips Theme Tower, a tall slender obelisk with a cross that can be back-lit:

The tower was completed in 1973, but because of concerns expressed by the locals, it does not shine nightly as was the origninal intention.  Every few years, the debate resurfaces, and here is a clip from the LA Times in 2006:

Support for Lighted Cross Rekindles an Old Debate - A tower at Pepperdine was supposed to be illuminated 33 years ago but critics blocked it.

Thick streams of light in the shape of a cross burst from the tower at the front of Pepperdine University -- at least they do on the college's seal splashed across sweaters, mugs and T-shirts.

In reality, nobody has dared to flip the switch that lights a 25-foot-tall cross set into the tower's walls. And whether to finally give it light after 33 years of darkness has become the center of a philosophical debate on the Christian campus just west of Malibu.

Students relate the 125-foot, stucco-and-steel tower to a passage from Matthew 5:14: "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden."The Phillips Theme Tower isn't a city. But it is planted on a hill 345 feet above sea level, visible for miles along Pacific Coast Highway and to ships at sea. More important, students say, it is a symbol of Pepperdine's "commitment to the restoration of New Testament Christianity" -- a commitment set in stone at the base of the tower.

"For us not to light the tower seems to say that we are either ashamed of our heritage or willing to compromise our beliefs and our message," said Austin Maness, a junior at Pepperdine.  Maness created an online group dedicated to lifting the tower from its darkness at, a college-oriented social networking website. The group has grown to nearly 100 members, including a former Pepperdine professor who posted probing questions:

"Is that truly what we have become? Is that our enduring legacy to the world? A place that used to be light unto the world, but has now burned out? Or more accurately, one that has been disconnected and boarded up?"

The Facebook group is just one of many student-led tower efforts that Pepperdine President Andrew K. Benton has watched take off in the last five years. He has observed the growing interest in the tower with curiosity -- and some admiration.

"It's sweet, and it's thoughtful, and it reflects the joy of my work: the students' enthusiasm," Benton said. "But should we light the tower? I still don't know. Is our message conveyed clearer? I don't think it takes a neon-lit cross to strengthen our outreach."

In 1973, when the tower was completed, then-Pepperdine President William S. Banowsky promised Malibu residents that the cross would never shine as originally planned. It now stands not as a beacon, but as a landmark with only the sound of electric bells chiming every half-hour.

Another article from 2005 can be found in Currents, a publication of Seaver College.  Having spent a fair amount of time at Goshen College and at Pepperdine, what I find most intriguing about the cross at Pepperdine and Benton's comment about outreach is that the major symbol found on campus is not the cross but rather the American flag.  Only two crosses come to mind - the Theme Tower and on top of the Stauffer Chapel, while US flags can be found in abundance.  Interestingly, several of the flags are lit at night, and while the crosses disappear into the darkness, the flags emerge.  There's the huge flag at the President's house that is lighted and can be seen from PCH, high above the theme tower; flags can be found at the Hero's Garden, in front of the Thorton Administration Building, in front of the Chapel, inside Firestone Fieldhouse [no cross there, but lots of Anthem-singing], and numerous other places on campus.  And of course there is the regular display of over 3000 flags to commemorate 9-11, but not three crosses on any Easter, as far as I know.  I would not characterize the students' concern as sweet, but rather a question regarding the institution's primary allegiance.

Sunday, January 02, 2011


In the 2006-2007 academic year, we were the Pepperdine Faculty members in the Buenos Aires International Program.  You can read all about our time there on this blog, 2006 and 2007 entries.  Here is a student produced video of the year in BA.

BA Video from Douglas Swartzendruber on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


Well this is a big day for those of us who were born in 1946 and are on the leading edge of the boomers turning 65 - as the NY Times commented - the age once linked to retirement, early bird specials and gray Velcro shoes that go with everything. Since senility/dementia may set in at any moment, it would probably be good to summarize this past year's events before they are lost from the memory bank :-)

January -  Doug & Rhonda travel to Indiana to visit family and friends; celebrate Mary's 92nd birthday on January 1; Doug makes return trip to Indiana to attend Ed's retirement party and open house on the 16th; at 93, Ed decided that it was time to retire from full-time work at EDDS Supplies; Doug & Rhonda travel to Virgina for a BioLogos Focus Group and exploring Richmond.

Mary & Ed

February - Doug travels to California; Pepperdine for flow cytometry and John Paul Lederach lecture; Point Loma for BioLogos with Darrel Falk and Joe McInerney; dinner with Mike & Evie Hostetler; Doug travels to Atlanta for Council for Christian Colleges and University convention/BioLogos functions.

March - Rhonda travels to Houston to visit Hattice; Rhonda has knee surgery; Nick & Jaime travel to Las Vegas; Charles of Colorado Springs remakes Doug's gold wedding band.

April - Doug begins Social Security; Carmen & Lindsey visit Boulder; Jonathan & Elias travel to Pennsylvania; surprise retirement party for UCCS colleague and friend Jim Mattoon at La Margarita at Pine Creek in Colorado Springs.

May - Doug teaches Biology of Cancer at Pepperdine, Summer Session I; Ron Wisner, a friend-like-a-brother, dies in trail biking accident; Doug & Rhonda attend Ron's memorial service in Colorado Springs.

June  - Doug and Rhonda travel to Boston; BioLogos workshop at Gordon College; drive to Maine to visit Doug M; drive to Vermont to visit Emily and William; benefit golf with Nick in Colorado Springs.

Fresh Maine Lobster

July - Kids and families in Boulder for the Fourth of July; Ken & Ann and the Gruells visit Boulder; Willems Family Reunion in Fort Robinson, Nebraska; Kilimanjaro fund raiser at Avery Brewing for neighbor Brian; Nick travels to Banff; travel to Indiana to help celebrate Ed's 94th birthday.

August - Doug travels to San Diego for BioLogos teacher workshop; Rhonda and Silas join Doug in San Diego to have fun; Luis & Sandy visit Boulder; Jonathan travels to South Africa.

September - Doug to Colorado Springs for Wiz's Carbo Loading Dinner and the American Discovery Trail Marathon; Doug and Douglas travel to Indiana, Michiana MCC Relief Sale; U-Haul back to Colorado; Jonathan travels to Europe.

ADTM Finishes In America The Beautiful Park

October - Doug travels to Washington DC for BioLogos President's Circle; Doug & Rhonda travel to New Mexico/Taos/Santa Fe/Los Alamos; visit Mark & Pauline.

November - Rachel travels to Illinois for conference; Jonathan & Elias travel to Pennsylvania and Rachel joins them for Thanksgiving.

December - Jonathan travels to South Africa; our family Christmastime in Dillon; Jim Mattoon passes away on Christmas eve.

And today is Mary's 93rd birthday, and she pointed out it is her 39th if one is dyslexic!