Here’s to Tuesday Lit and its 75th birthday

Its beginnings were low key – the daughters and daughters-in-law of Reading Club of Durango members got tired of waiting for a spot to open in Durango’s oldest club, so they founded the Junior Reading Club of Durango in 1938. It wasn’t long before it began morphing into its own creature, and now it is the very distinctive, and very fun, Tuesday Literary Club.

On Sept. 3, the club kicked off its 75th program year with its Fall Picnic at the beautiful Animas Valley home of member Suzanne Zerbe. Apparently God loves readers, because the rainy weather broke with a window of sunny skies just long enough to set up, enjoy the festivities and clean up just before the deluge started again.

Zerbe had decorated all the tables with floral tablecloths, so the garden feeling was unmistakable.

Some old friends had traveled in for the fun, including longtime member Muriel Mulder, who moved to Grand Junction in April, Bee Atwood’s sister Gabrielle Hill, who came from Washington, D.C., for several weeks, not just for the party, but still ... and Susan Pascetti, who came from Albuquerque with floral napkins and plenty of bubbly. Yours truly and Llori McCullough were the local guests.

I’ve discovered something on this job. A group that reads also tends to cook well. For this picnic, the plethora of salads and fruit included Atwood’s delicious dolmas. Elvira England made a beautiful birthday cake, and Nikki Massieon, the president for this banner year, made a delicious flourless chocolate cake for the gluten-free in the crowd.

Tuesday Lit has a historian who tracks each year and creates a scrapbook to document the club’s activities.

Not one but two scrapbooks were unveiled at the picnic, covering the last two program years, which run September through May.

Let’s just say Barb Colbert and Elvira England have set the bar high. Colbert created an elegant book with all the bells and whistles, while England actually drew small portraits of each of the program presenters during the year. Amazing!

It is always an honor and a lot of laughs to be included in Tuesday Lit’s activities, because it is a great and interesting group of women.

The 2013-2014 program year promises to be full of even more laughs as they tackle the theme “Humor: From Aristophanes to Ephron.” I am going to make a real effort to make it to some of those meetings.

Happy birthday, Tuesday Lit!

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Their birthdays may be a bit soggy, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be lots of fun for Westly Moore, Robert Moore, Patricia Anderson, Elaine Honold, Kermit Knudsen, Art Meyer, Norma Jean Engman, Steve Sproul, David Shipps, Renee Knight, Jim Sutherland, Cathy Duggan, Carrie Thurman, Lance Townsend, Diane Trembly, Linda Gramera, Kassi Kuss, Carson Leavitt, Marie Johnson, Micah Strietzel, Ann Wiley, Greer Bohan, Valerie Beaudette, Wardine Lee, Carol House and Katherine Siegele.

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It’s a tradition for Wardine Lee to hit the Telluride Film Festival for an early birthday – you’ll notice she’s in today’s birthday list – and this year was extra special because it was the festival’s 40th birthday.

Let’s see – close encounters with Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Bruce Dern plus a chance to catch up with old friend Frank Ruggerri, former director of sales at Tamarron Resort.

Redford was the honored at the festival, answering questions for more than an hour. When he was asked what film was the most fun to make, he said “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

That’s the right answer for Durangoans, since much of the film was shot here.

I personally remember lounging by the pool at the then new Holiday Inn with Katharine Ross, Paul Newman and Redford when my mom was working as night auditor there as well as watching them film the jump into the Animas River at Bakers Bridge. (Highly disappointing for a 12-year-old, because they jumped down to a ledge and threw dummies into the river.)

There were occasional sightings of Newman and Redford in town for many years, so he continued to visit.

Redford also had a film premiere at the festival. For the first time, one of the students at Sundance asked him to star in a film, “All is Lost,” which Lee highly recommended (as did all the reviews I’ve read).

Lee’s got some more recommendations for the film lovers among us. The premiere of “12 Years of a Slave” as brutal, hard to watch and had outstanding acting, including Pitt in a small role.

Dern stars in “Nebraska,” which was a must-see, Lee said. Joining her in the audience were documentarian Michael Moore and the Coen brothers. The Coens’ new film, “Inside Llyeen Davis,” was introduced by T. Boone Burnett.

If you’re in a foreign film mood, “The Lunchbox” from India had everyone abuzz.

Another fabulous weekend of moviegoing, and right in our backyard.

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“Singin’ in the Rain” for their anniversaries are Clyde and Dianna Hassett, Rick and Nancy Phillips and Mike and Kerry Tichi.

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