If you've been to Kroeger's Ace Hardware or south City Market in the last month, you've seen it - the charming
playhouse that can be won this afternoon during the Homes with Heart fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of
Featuring beautiful iron and tile work, the playhouse was built by Durango High School teacher
ShaunSmith and his students.
On Thursday, the builders met many of those grateful for their hard work at a thank-you reception at Alpine Bank.
Smith was presented the Golden Hammer Award for leading his students in the project for the last three years.
As a believer in the It takes a village to raise a child," proverb, I think the work BBBS does is invaluable in the
lives of our children and young people. I have heard many success stories about children who gained confidence in
having another adult (or couple) care about them and broaden their horizons. The Bigs have their own stories to tell, of the fun they've had with their Littles and how they've seen them blossom.
And in a year when money is tight, tight, tight for nonprofits, it's important to raise as much money as possible
with this darling playhouse.
For $10, purchasers get a red-heart magnet and four chances to put the playhouse in their very own backyard. Magnets
can be purchased at Kroeger's, south City Market and Alpine Bank until 2:30 p.m. today and then at the playhouse
until just before 3 p.m.
The jolly old guy himself, Santa Claus, will draw from the chances at the playhouse. Stop by to cheer him on and find
out if you (and your child or grandchild) will be wearing an extra big smile on Christmas Day.
A Ho, Ho, Ho" could lead to some major fun.
My thanks to BBBS Executive Director Christy Schaerer for reminding me that today is the big day, and there is still time to throw your name in the hat.
Celebrating birthdays that sometimes get lost during the holidays are Eric Speck, Reg
Graham, Bob Kunkel, Patrick Armijo, Ginna Harbison, Myrle Cornelius, Jane McLaughlin, Diane Skinner, ColemanBaird, Jan Newlinand Bob Patterson.
More than 200 people crowded the Red Snapper on Dec. 15 to wish Dick Pearson, also known as Mr.
Whipple, happy trails as he transitions his way into being a man of leisure after his retirement from City Market.
(The Mr. Whipple title was bestowed on him by Pat Murphy.)
After 34 years with the company, with many of those years spent managing north City Market and then south City
Market, he probably has the largest acquaintanceship in town. (Yes, even more than yours truly, because, let's face
it, everyone has to eat.)
At the party, which was planned by his wife, Jane, friends from High Noon Rotary Club (where he has
been a member for a couple of decades), his City Market family and others from throughout the community gathered to
cheer him on and thank him for being one of Durango's go-to guys for every good cause in town. As he modestly said at
the party, it's because of the great company where he spent his working life.
I always thought that was just Pearson being self-deprecating, but I may have to change my tune. For the party, City
Market President Phyllis Norris, Vice President Tom Bell and human-resources executive Rhonda Toland made the trip
down from Grand Junction to honor the man of the hour. Norris and Bell got into the spirit of the Red Snapper's guest
bartender program, getting behind the bar and mixing a cosmopolitan or two - or 20.
To the delight of the Mercy Health Foundation, Dick and Jane Pearson had designated the proceeds from the bartender
tip jar to the new Mercy Regional Breast Care Center, which just opened at the beginning of November. And to their
further delight, when it came time to count up the tips, they found that those nice folks from City Market and the
Kroger Foundation had slipped a check for $10,000 into the tip jar.
Dick Pearson is a recent addition to the Mercy Health Foundation board of directors, and he puts his energy and his
heart into his commitments.
Luckily, he put his stomach into the hands of Red Snapper owners John Sheehan and Nancy
Rowley, who prepared a spread and a half for the party.
The menu included homemade ravioli with spinach and butternut squash served with a heavenly cream sauce, seafood
ravioli with red sauce, rock shrimp with aioli sauce, shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell, crab legs, goat-cheese wontons, beef satays, poached salmon, cheese and fruit platters and an antipasto tray loaded with
marinated and grilled veggies, meatballs and bruschetta. The repast scores five Yums on the Butler scale.
My thanks go to Karen Midkiff, the senior development officer of the foundation, and development
officer Joy Hess, for doing the reporting and photo shooting on this story.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Pearson enjoys his retirement - and thank him for being such a force for good in
this community we love.
Somehow, I have that song from Fiddler on the Roof," Tradition," running through my head. That might be because
during this season, traditions play a bit part in determining how we enjoy the holidays.
In my family, Christmas Eve worshipping with my Grandmother Emma Butler's handwritten service is a
central part of the night. And since I began writing the Neighbors column, a new tradition has become a favorite part
of the holidays.
Carroll Pete" and Maxine Peterson have held an annual singing (and eating) party
in their home for more than 35 years. And because he (and a number of the guests) is involved in barbershop singing, the group sounds pretty darn good. It's also been fun watching the couple's grandchildren grow up and getting to know
their neighbors and friends.
I've come to expect the wonderful breads Maxine Peterson bakes, including some from Dr." Pete's mother in the
Swedish tradition. Because they've lived in the Southwest for decades, she has added chile con queso to the menu -
and for those with a sweet tooth, the dessert spread is a favorite.
But mostly it's all about the singing. Secular songs - with children, Jingle Bells" and Frosty the Snowman" are
required - and sacred, too. This group is good enough to sing Silent Night" a cappella and get it right.
(Although, as I'm looking out the window, I'm wondering if it was wise to sing Let It Snow.")
Another traditional highlight is the mini-concert performed by Pete Peterson's barbershop quartet, First Class
Delivery. This year, bad little girls and boys should be worried about getting diddly squat" from the man in red.
My thanks again for the warm hospitality, delicious goodies and a chance to carol my heart out.
As snow falls, and falls and falls, I wish all of my readers shelter from the weather, safe travels and a wonderful
Sleigh bells are ringing for the anniversaries of Martinand Charlotte Pirnat, Dormanand Dottie McShanand Donand Nita Anderson.
For information about upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
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