When Rebecca Thurs-ton went to Golden to visit family over the holidays, she put her acting skills to use for a good cause.
Her uncle Bill Perin has early onset Alzheimer's disease, so supporting research and care is a family affair. Rebeccca volunteered to wear the "Al the Polar Bear" costume to promote the Young Professional Alzheimer's Association's Polar Bear Plunge on New Year's Day. She appeared on CW2-TV's morning news in Denver just before the event to make it seem both fun and important.
The event was organized by another relative, Rebecca's aunt Sara Spaulding.
The plunge takes place at Boulder Reservoir and is one of those things you have to be brave - or slightly nuts - to do. Spaulding was out at the reservoir for a grueling day starting at about 4 a.m. and continuing until about 2 p.m. as everyone took their dip in the freezing water.
Rebecca has some serious acting credentials, although normally she shows her face for those. As a member of Durango's Encore! performance group, the young Durangoan has appeared in many productions around town. Last fall, she was one of the leads in Durango High School's production of "Anything Goes."
Rebecca is the daughter of Doug and Mimi Thurston, the sister of Max Thurston, and the granddaughter of Bill and Mickie Thurston.
To donate to the Alzheimer's Association of Colorado, which has an office serving locals in La Plata County, visit www.alz.org/co. You can click on YPAAC Polar Plunge to learn more about the cause Rebecca was publicizing.
Desperately digging out of the last snowstorm for their birthdays before the next one comes are Nancy Eberspacher, Chris Lyon, George Spicer, Sofia Sieger, Karen Marsicano, Anne Rudolph, Alfred Rudolph, Carol Warren, Melissa Cooksey, Isabelle Washburn, Jim Ruetschle, Blake Irwin, Mason Stetler, Grant Balzer, Linda Hoban, Ben Root, Robb Bourdon, Zane Bourdon, Sue Mooney, Wallace Kleindienst, Todd Youngblood, Al Spungen and Lou Falkenstein.
My apologies to Laurie Barker, who celebrated her birthday Dec. 27. Her mother, June Hahl, has been under a bit of stress with the death of her daughter-in-law, Pam Hahl, in December, and sort of spaced her daughter's 25 or so years of marriage to Rod Barker. June Hahl told me it was Laurie Hahl's birthday instead. Seeing as I was writing fast to get out of the newsroom for Christmas, I didn't pay enough attention either.
So, in the "a rose is as sweet by any name" category, the spirit of wishing her a happy birthday still wins the day.
In mid-December, I wrote about Ginger Jenks and her champion dog, Rory. Rory, one of the top Samoyeds in the nation, was invited to compete in the American Kennel Club's Agility Invitational in Long Beach, Calif., where he was the defending champion.
As usual, Jenks and Rory were great ambassadors for Durango and the Samoyed breed, coming in second this year. They had a fault in the first run that cost them some expensive points, but clawed their way back from that with beautiful follow-up runs.
In his off time, Rory showed off his therapeutic-dog side, cuddling up to and doing tricks for many spectators, including kids and people with disabilities.
Rory's companion and Jenks' other dog, Imp, stayed home, with the hope that she would conceive her first litter of purebred Samoyed puppies with AKC Breed Champion Yogi, who is Rory's son. Yogi, whose co-owners are Tom Ann Casey and Walter Walker, also lives in Durango.
Imp, herself a champion, also comes from good lines. On the conformation side of the AKC competition, her brother Tug won Best of Breed. Conformation is how the dog's body and personality compare to the breed's standards.
The AKC Agility Invitational will air on Animal Planet at 8 p.m. Feb. 7 and 4 p.m. Feb. 14.
For more information, visit www.akc.org/events/tvschedule.cfm.
MaryLouise Walton has enjoyed a landmark couple of weeks with babies. Walton, a partner in Southwest Midwives, recently won the "delivery sweepstakes" at Mercy Regional Medical Center.
She kicked it off by delivering the 1,000th baby born in 2008 on Christmas Eve, then followed that up by delivering the only baby born on Christmas Day. Then she delivered the first New Year's baby on Thursday afternoon.
As an added bonus, she caught a baby Dec. 27, her own daughter Lauren's birthday. When a nurse midwife's own baby is far away, it's a nice touch to be able to help another young mother welcome a child into the world.
Lauren Taylor, that Dec. 27th Walton baby, got married in St. Monan's, Scotland, earlier in 2008. Taylor also is the daughter of Guy Walton, who gets the credit for serving as the source on this story.
My piece about etiquette in Saturday's Neighbors column seems to have struck a chord.
My response of considering it enough to bring my own delightful personality to the party instead of it being de rigeur to bring a gift got some emphatic "amens." (I have promised to keep the identities of my e-mail correspondents secret.)One said that the piece really "got under her skin." While a bottle of wine is a standard gift here, it's tough to receive a lot of bottles of cheap wine. Then one runs the risk of regifting the cheap bottle back to the folks who brought it to the hostess in the first place.
A gift of wine also carries some cultural weight. In France and Italy, it's considered bad form to take the hostess a bottle, as it says you don't trust what the hosts are going to serve or don't think there will enough wine to go around.
But if not a bottle of wine, then what? Flowers, maybe? In Mexico, when taking flowers, care must be taken as to the color. White is for funerals (as it is in China) and there's a cultural problem with red as well. And with cut flowers, the hostess has to take time away from her guests to find the right vase and arrange the flowers. If it's a potted plant, that puts the onus on the hosts to care for it.
If the gift is food, it may not go with the rest of the menu, plus we go back to the wine conundrum on the insult to the hosts that there may not be enough to go around.
On the subject of guests showing up with dogs and/or children who were not invited, people came in on both sides of the subject. If it's a casual potluck or barbecue, "the more the merrier" said a couple of people, with the understanding that whoever brings the dogs or children is responsible for their behavior.
But mess with my seating chart, one woman said, and you may end up at a card table. (And you will be summarily stricken from the guest list for all subsequent social affairs.) She also said - "Bring your dogs, and my cat will escort them to the end of the driveway."
The suggestion has been made that I begin writing a "Miss Manners" column. While I already struggle with hostesses thinking I come to judge the adequacy of their parties instead of just to enjoy them, the consensus seems to be that we Durangoans are manners-challenged.
So my solution will be to address etiquette questions as they come up, with the understanding that I'm allergic to "shoulds" and "have tos." I do, however, believe that consideration to each other is a basic building block of civilization and community.
And somewhere, my mother, Kathy Butler, who worked unsuccessfully to make me a lady, is roaring. I am, after all, "the social columnist with no social graces."
Watching the icicles grow and grow and grow for their anniversaries are Winston and Mary Marugg and Warren and Marilyn Holland.
For information about upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
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