Story a reminder of time with ‘great woman’

The Durango Herald was blessed to have Morley Ballantine and her husband buy this newspaper in 1952. What a nice read (Herald, March 21) about their generous and positive impacts, more than a half century long.

Morley Ballantine and I had lunch together for the first time during my stint as a volunteer secretary and fundraiser for the Colorado Chapter of The National Mustang Association in the late 1990s. My mission during lunch was to request grazing rights support for a wild herd of horses between Dolores and Telluride, and had pictures that looked like concentration camp victims.

I had hoped to meet Morley in town, but she wanted to get out of dodge for the afternoon and asked me to drive. In horror, I thought about this sophisticated pillar of society traveling in my only vehicle, a 1971 beat-up-high-off-the-ground Chevy Blazer that did not have a handle by the passenger door. How undignified for an elderly woman to need assistance. Thankfully, I brought a sturdy two-step stool.

On U.S. Highway 160, Morley noticed the back seat of the Chevy was missing. I told her I took the back seat out so I could put longer lengths of lumber between our two seats for a project at my house. Naturally, she became curious, as any newspaper person would, and asked more questions. In all honesty, I said since my days were numbered from wearing high heels, first shift was in 1981, at The Diamond Bell Saloon, and aging fast with other jobs, etc., I was building illegal rental units to support me, my daughter and hoped to have enough cash to stash away for my son’s college.

We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company with a lot more lunches together, and I considered this great woman a friend to me and for many years she supported the wild horses in Disappointment Valley.

Sally Florence


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