Monday, August 09, 2010

Great Events

I thought I would share a couple of big events from this weekend. First, one of my art students, Dalton, made Eagle Scout. Dalton is an exceptional young man - not only is he a big guy, but he has a big heart. He was one of my art students for about three years. Dalton was not a great art talent, but we always had interesting discussions - often political. He has big dreams - like being the second President of the USA to have been an Eagle Scout. A few years ago, he shared with me his Eagle Scout project, which was to have a Middle Eastern War Memorial (I hope I said that right) placed with the other war memorials in Duncan. He described his plan, and we drew it up and painted it nicely in watercolor. He made it all happen. I'm very proud of Dalton for his focus and follow through on this project. I took this photo and told him I would post his accomplishment.

Second, a long time friend in Red River, celebrated her 90th birthday. Ilse and her husband Tony came to the US in the early 50's from Germany. They were instrumental in starting the ski area in Red River and ran the Alpine Lodge, restaurant, movie theater, and Red Onion Bar for years. Her son, George, lives in RR and runs Sitzmark Sports. Her other son, Rudi, is a lawyer in Midland, TX. I have known Ilse and her family forever. She and her husband skied and hiked the mountains of Northern NM together until Tony died years ago. Ilse is still hiking and skiing and is just amazing. She is always a lady.

A couple of memories: I remember the first time I entered Ilse's restaurant in RR. It was probably October - off season - and the RR Jr. Racers had been hiking the mountain, cleaning up the slopes to get ready for ski season. In the usual horseplay that goes on, I fell in a small patch of early snow without any gloves and my hands were freezing. Mr. Stewart (the coach and father of the handsome Charles) cupped my small hands in his big hands and blew on them to warm them up. I didn't know Mr. Stewart very well, and was very shy at the time, but I remember being awed by his care for me. Then he took the team to Ilse's restaurant where Ilse served us hot chocolate. That is how things were back then. All parents were busy making a living, but it was like a large family that just pitched in and looked out for each other.

Ilse's restaurant became one of my favorite places to eat. With their great, German work ethic, the Alpine was kept pristine. The grounds around the lodge and restaurant were beautiful. They had tables with umbrellas set out during the summer and served a wonderful lunch. It was a great gathering place for locals - lots of good memories there.

The second summer Toby and I were married, he tended bar at the Red Onion. I worked in the movie theater, but would often help out at the bar when things were busy. It was easy working for Ilse and her family, although I was scared of Tony who was rather gruff and had a strong German accent. But one time while working at the movie theater, I sat down to watch "A Bridge Too Far" when Tony came in and sat beside me. We watched in silence as the Germans put it too the Allies. Eventually, Tony stood up, shook his head in disgust, and said, "War is hell!" and stomped out. You see, Tony was in WWII, and he was German. It gave me a whole new perspective on men and war. He and Ilse came to America, made their life here, raise two terrific sons and have two terrific grandsons. They contributed much to life in RR, and Ilse is still someone I find quite inspiring. Happy 90th Birthday, Ilse!
Ilse and her son, George and DIL, Carol. This is another photo stolen from Carol's facebook page of Ilse and her sons and her DILs - all of whom I am good friends with. This photo was taken at the Riverside Lodge in RR where I used to play on that very merry-go-round and rode those horse swings in many a race.


Buck said...

Tell Dalton I said "congrats!" I know what making Eagle means to a Scout; SN2 is an Eagle, SN1 is a Life Scout... having failed to meet all his Eagle requirements before he turned 18.

Happy Birthday to Ilse!

Here are words not often seen together these days: "their great, European work ethic." Now if'n you'd have said GERMAN work ethic I'd have bought right in... ;-)

Bag Blog said...

Buck, maybe I should change European to German.

Jo Castillo said...

Thanks again for your stories. Nice post.

(my word verification was "fater" I will take it as German for father and not what I saw first!)

Jo Castillo said...

We went to lunch in RR today at Texas Reds, good steaks. I picked up a Red River Miner. Ilse's birthday photo is on the front. I'll send it to you. :)