SEPTEMBER 11, 1953
NEW YORK, Thursday—Over the weekend my daughter-in-law's mother, Mrs. Bell, dedicated an old schoolhouse which she had practically rebuilt for the community to use as a community center. It is going to be a great boon in the long winters for snow lies five feet deep in the Meeker, Colorado, area, sometimes for as long as six months and the ranchers need a place to meet together both for civic and recreational activities.
Mrs. Bell had short dedication ceremonies and then down by the stream where the trees grow they held a barbecue. People came from far and near with their children and their friends and somehow the food held out, though I think there were more guests than had originally been expected!
Neither the sheep nor the cattle men are particularly happy at present. Those that were lucky bought cattle last spring and paid 19 cents per pound. Today most of them told me they are lucky to get 12 cents. If your cattle have gained a great deal of weight over the summer, you may break even or even make a little profit but these are not good times for cattlemen apparently. Sheep men seem to be even worse hit for they told me that an animal you paid $35.00 for last spring, you would be lucky to get $5.00 for now. That, of course, does not tend to make anyone very happy but they have weathered other similar crises and I imagine they will weather this one.
One interesting thing about this particular part of the country is that there are no snakes and no poisonous spiders. In fact, there seems to be only one thing which is harmful, a certain kind of weed which for a month in spring will poison cattle, if they eat it. Horses will not touch it but cattle seem to be attracted.
There seems to be a goodly number of real characters in the area and I had many amusing conversations but the outstanding trait is one of pride if you were an early settler.
The valley was settled about 50 years ago and anyone who came in only 40 years ago is a newcomer. While they are kind to newcomers, they certainly have a great sense of superiority when they are the early settlers.
We stopped on the way to Greenwood Springs on Monday in Meeker to call on Mr. and Mrs. Thomas. Mr. Thomas was for years Minnewa's father's head man and now he is retired and lives in Meeker. He still advises my son, Elliott, in everything he does and, of course, has a great affection and interest in all the Bells.
Mr. Thomas came to this part of the country when he was 17 and he is now 70, so he is one of the really early settlers, but he remarked to me that there were many people at the barbecue that he didn't know and he knew all the old settlers in the valley!