A slamming good time

Southwest Life

Ann Butler

Current Columnist

Email: abutler@durangoherald.com

Phone Number: (970) 375-4584

A slamming good time

Connie Trautmann, standing, laughs with Tawlys Tonso at Trautmann’s home during a game of bridge while she was hosting a P.E.O. fundraiser for scholarships for young women. To Trautmann’s right are Jo Fusco, Karren Little and Mary Husemoller.

Neighbors activities tend to fall into one of two categories – either they’re a beloved annual tradition, or they’re a cool new idea.

On Wednesday, it was time for a beloved tradition kind of activity, the Chapter FX of P.E.O. bridge day. Co-hosted by Cindy Cortese and Connie Trautmann at Trautmann’s home, it was a day of cards good, bad and indifferent, great conversation and delicious food courtesy of the chapter’s P.E.O. sisterhood.

The party included six tables of bridge, 24 women, some of whom play together all the time and others who were meeting for the first time.

First, the cards. Unfortunately, no one bid and made a slam (taking 12 or all 13 tricks), so that prize went unclaimed. The card gods were kind to me, for a change, but not as kind as they were to Gwen Stites, who won with 4,030 points, or Tawlys Tonso, who was only 20 points off the lead to win second place. Jo Fusco just missed second place with a score of 3,980.

Tonso’s mother, Cheryl Jackson, who is frequently a winner in bridge days, should be pleased. Jackson is recovering from a series of catastrophic health episodes, so she was only able to be there in spirit.

Lunch was a veritable panoply of salads – quinoa, frog’s eye (it includes tapioca), a superb sauced shrimp, green salad with fruit, green salad Mexican-style, pasta, Asian noodle, to mention those I can remember. They were all yummy.

Those who didn’t bring salads, baked cookies, and there were about seven kinds of those, including chocolate-chip and white chocolate-chip, a cereal fruit drop cookie, an oatmeal cookie, a homemade version of a sandie and so on. (I managed to restrain myself to two cookies on that front, so this is from a cursory – and yearning – look at the platter of goodies.

Because all the talented cooks weren’t there to be thanked, here’s to Eileen Albrecht, Carol Lyman, Marcie Bray, Susan Brown, Claudia Patterson, Ann Norris, Wanda Greve, Margien Gram, Caroline Kinser, Kay Neal, Marty Sheppard, Diana Hassett, Judy Spolum, Betty Loffer, Judy Danielson, Connie Jacobs and Marianne Gilliam.

The women were raising money for P.E.O.’s raison d’être, supporting educational opportunities for women. From Cottey College, which the organization owns, to scholarships for everyone from recent high school graduates to nontraditional students, graduate students and international students, the 250,000 members of P.E.O. build friendships and better tomorrows.

Durango has four clubs, BR, CS, FX and IT, all of which raise money for women’s education. Some sell nuts, some sell poinsettias and FX holds a bridge party. Which, by the way, raised $650 this year. So if someone offers to sell you something to raise money for P.E.O., now you know where it goes. (The nuts, by the way, are excellent – best roasted cashews I’ve ever had – and the poinsettias are gorgeous and come in interesting colors.)

And if you’re wondering what P.E.O. stands for, the organization’s website says it’s Philanthropic Educational Organization, but the sisters tell me that’s not right, it’s a secret. It will continue to be a mystery unless I get a scoop.


Wishing for a respite from the heat for their birthdays are Ed Williams, Charlotte Wright, Linda Moore, Donna Suggs, Susan McKinney, Niles Bruno, Jeanine Puskas, Aaron Cash, Sarah Elizabeth Griffith, June Hahl, Hanora Cunnion, Suzanne Rodman, Frank Campana, Will Jernigan, KateMcElwain, Ormand Morford, Caleb Ontiveros, Ozlo Mills, Daniel McCoy, James Lopez, Jaden Page, Mack Otter, Logan Cole, Annette Fusco, R.L. Hawks, John Hess, Courtney Wolf, Wilma Cobb, Linda Buehler, Suzi Gottlieb, Lynda Wyrick, Jack Dignum, Dave Freeman, Neil Cheesewright, Laura Cartwright and Derrill Macho.

And happy 80th birthday wishes go to Walter Dear.


If you happen to be out at Sky Ute Casino and Resort over the weekend, you might run into a lot of Rodriguezes. They’re in town to celebrate a heritage that goes way back – in fact, they’ve traced it through 10 generations, to the 1740s and Ygnacio Rodriguez, who probably hailed from the Extremadura region of Spain before coming to the New World to make a better life.

(As is often the case when doing research that far back, the records are either sparse or nonexistent, so the family isn’t sure whether Ygnacio was born in Spain or New Spain, as Mexico, Central America and most of the Western U.S. was called at the time.)

The connection to Ygnacio has been confirmed genetically – and I’d love to know where they got that genetic material – by two members of the family, Mark Sr. and Mark Jr., who will be sharing with the family what they’ve learned at the reunion. The two researchers are counted as the first and second generations, respectively, out of the 10, with Ygnacio representing the 10th generation.

By 1789, the family had arrived in New Mexico, where generations five, six, seven and eight were born. The sixth generation is where it gets interesting for us locally.

Antonio José Rodriguez was born in New Mexico in 1846, but made his way to Ignacio after becoming a missionary. He founded the Ignacio Community Presbyterian Church, now the Ignacio Community Church.

When he died in 1931, Antonio José was eulogized by Southern Ute Tribal Chief Buckskin Charlie. The chief called him “The Apostle to the Ute.”

About 60 members of the multigenerational Rodriguez family will be in Ignacio over the weekend. They hold a reunion every few years, and attendees are coming from California, Texas, Florida, New Mexico and Colorado.

My thanks to the researchers and Antonio José’s great-granddaughter Maria Simi Padilla-Castro, for thinking the Herald might be interested.


Actually having a bowling alley wasn’t necessary for the La Plata County United States Bowling Congress Local Association to continue to gather as a group and participate in activities at the state and national level. But they sure were glad when the Rolling Thunder Lanes opened in Ignacio.

They recently gathered to honor members who have shown tremendous stick-to-itiveness. The woman who most deserves mention is Louise White, who is 83 and approaching her 50th sanctioned state tournament. White, who already has been inducted to the congress’ Colorado Hall of Fame for her service to bowling, was recognized as a “Golden Pioneer.”

The requirements for the honor were pretty steep. The honoree must have been a member of either the Durango Women’s Bowling Association or the San Juan Men’s Bowling Association from 1956 to 1982, been a sanctioned bowler at Basin Bowl on north Main (that’s where I learned to bowl), as well as its successors Durango Bowl, at the old skating rink in Bodo Park and later at the Durango Mall. They also had to be continuous bowlers for at least 30 years.

White, who is a member of the Wednesday Night Ladies League, was recognized for 56 years, Janey Silver for more than 50 years, and Joan Bassett, Shari Miller-Farris and Pat Vigus for more than 30 years. The Monday Daytimers League was represented by Ignacio resident Barbara Kasik, who made the drive to Durango for most of those years, for more than 40 years and Sharon Hamer, Lisa Lile and Janice Jungen all recognized for more than 30 years.

Jackie Rado represented the Thursday Night Mixed League with more than 30 years.

There were men with longevity as well. Tuesday Night American Bowling League members Dean Hudson (40-plus years), and Alan Herrera, Benny Gutierrez, Paul Rado and Jack Kiefer (30-plus years) are also Golden Pioneers.

The group created a second category for people who have contributed to bowling in La Plata County, the “Pioneer” category – because, let’s face it, there aren’t many Silvers and Whites – who bowled between 1983 and 2012, with at least 20 years of continuous sanctioned bowling-league membership.

The men so-honored were Richard Hudson (30-plus years) and James Akin, Vince Akin, Rob Goodtracks, Scott Bodine and Brandon Waddell (20-plus years), who are all Pioneers.

On the ladies’ side, the Pioneers included Daytimers member Sheila Moring for more than 20 years, and Wednesday Nighters Lillian Bodine, Denise Johnson and Jan Wesley, all with more than 20 years.

People don’t keep doing something for this long unless it’s a lot of fun. The Wednesday Night League bowls at 6:30 p.m. at Rolling Thunder Lanes and will kick-off again in the fall. Each team has four members, and you don’t have to recruit three friends – they’re happy to put a team together for you with other interested parties.

Contact Silver at jsilver@mydurango.net to learn more.

And congratulations to all for persevering despite the little matter of our not actually having a bowling alley for several years by driving to Bayfield, Cortez and Farmington for sanctioned play.


Enjoying barbecues and picnics for their June anniversaries this week are Al and Betty Calkins, Wesley and Pat May, Larry and Beverly Brown, Mark and Merrillee Fleming, Jeff and Don Wince, Robert and Jayne Griffith, Harold and Cathy Sparks, Roger and Marilyn Folk, Byard and Nancy Peake, Jim and Pat Garofalo, Richard and Eileen Kippen, and Derrill and Nancy Macho.

Happy 50th wedding anniversary to Bob and Nancy Dolphin. Happy 25th anniversary to Phil and Stephanie Huss.


Here’s how to reach me: neighbors@durangoherald.com; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk.

I am happy to consider photos for Neighbors, but they must be high quality, high resolution photos (at least 1 MB of memory), include no more than three to five people.

A slamming good time

Connie Trautmann, standing, laughs with Tawlys Tonso at Trautmann’s home during a game of bridge while she was hosting a P.E.O. fundraiser for scholarships for young women. To Trautmann’s right are Jo Fusco, Karren Little and Mary Husemoller.
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