Friday, April 23, 2010

Fight of the century perhaps not in the ring


It was billed as “the fight of the century.” But the same billing has been attached to numerous other boxing matches. In this case, maybe it lived up to some of the hype.
On the Fourth of July, 1910, bare-knuckle pugilists Jack Johnson and James Jeffries went toe-to-toe for 15 rounds and Johnson, emerged as the first black Heavyweight Champion of the World. Johnson had won the title two years earlier in fact against Tommy Burns in 1908 but many boxing fans and experts didn’t acknowledge the title until Jeffries was defeated.
“The buildup to the fight was rife with racial tension. Jeffries, a former undefeated heavyweight champion, came out of retirement, he said, solely to prove that a white man was superior to a Negro,” according to Michael Madigan in his recent book “Heroes, Villains, Dames & Disasters: 150 Years of Front Page Stories from the Rocky Mountain News.”
The fight took place in Reno, Nevada, but the Johnson lop-sided win in 15 rounds resulted in riots in Chicago, New York, Georgia, Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri, Louisiana, Texas and here in Colorado.
Johnson, himself, had ties to Colorado.
Though he learned much of the fight trade as a dockworker at a young age in Galveston, Texas, he eventually ended up as camp cook with a group of traveling black fighters from Denver.
Johnson’s marriage to Mary Austin, a black woman, fell apart in Colorado. Johnson became depressed and the couple briefly reconciled, but Johnson writes in his autobiography that the troubles he had with women “led me to forswear colored women and to determine that my lot henceforth would be cast only with white women.”
At that time in the United States, with Jim Crow laws making such relationships frowned upon in many states, that was a dangerous declaration.
Years later he was arrested for violating the Mann Act, the statute prohibiting the transportation of women across state lines for unlawful purposes.
“The woman in question was Belle Schreiber, an old acquaintance of Johnson's. The problem with the charge is that Johnson and Schreiber were an item before the Mann Act became law in June of 1910,” according to a Jack Johnson biography at Answers.com.
"It was a rank frame up," Johnson recalled in his own memoirs. "The charges were based upon a law that was not in effect at the time Belle and I had been together, and legally was not operative against me."
Johnson was convicted but left the country in order to avoid serving the one-year sentence.
By 1926, Johnson had returned from exile, served his sentence and even began fighting again, beating boxers half his age when he was 48. In later years he lectured, appeared in plays and in 1925, married Irene Pineal. Johnson called her his true love. He was killed in an auto accident in North Carolina in the summer of 1946.
In reporting the riots that resulted after Johnson’s beating of Jeffries in the July 4, 1910 match, the Rocky Mountain News had the following to say:
“As a result of a quarrel over the outcome of the Johnson-Jeffries fight between an unidentified negro and a white man in the Bessemer park tonight a fight started ended in a riot, participated in by five hundred persons, in which two white men were stabbed seriously in the back and twenty-five or thirty others received slight bruises from blows with sticks.”
The News, like many papers around the country, printed round-by-round accounts with special illustrations and reportage by popular novelist Rex Beach.
“Jack Johnson, the son of two ex-slaves, emerging from the battle royals (dehumanizing fights between blacks for the amusement of white patrons) of his youth, he defeated Tommy Burns in 1908 to become the world's first African-American heavyweight champion. After an interracial marriage and his defeat of several white hopefuls, Johnson was convicted in 1913 under contrived circumstances for violation of a federal law. He fled to Europe and remained a champion in exile until he lost in a 1915 bout in Cuba, knocked out in the 26th round by Jess Willard. Upon his return to the United States in 1920, he served a year in prison,” according to Columbia Encyclopedia.
Perhaps Jack Johnson’s “fight of the century” was not entirely in the boxing ring.
###

Friday, April 16, 2010

Time travel and no running water


How long a minute is, depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on.” __ Zall's Second Law


Raymond G. Colwell moved to Cripple Creek when he was nine years old in 1899. Living with his father and brothers, who worked as mining engineers, he experienced first hand the heyday of the roaring camp. In July of 1960, a paper he wrote for the Denver Westerners appeared in the “Roundup,” the monthly journal for the Westerners and recalls his first day in the district.

“It was a long walk from the Florence and Cripple Creek depot, which was clear down on the extreme lower, or southern, end of town, to the house which the boys had bought, which was clear on the north edge of town. If any of you remember the reservoir which is on the top of the hill beyond the end of Third or Fourth Street, our house was just a block towards downtown from it. The walk was, I presume, about seven or eight or more long blocks: I have two very vivid recollections of that walk, even aside form the fact that it was all up hill and board sidewalks or just plain gravel,” wrote Colwell.

“One of these was hearing my first burro, when one of them cut loose with a long bray just as I went by a vacant lot where he was foraging. I thought then, and still think, that it sounded exactly like priming the old well pump on the farm back in Wisconsin,” he noted.

“The other remembrance is of the long drawn out and, and to me at least, mournful call of the hot tamale vendors, as they made their rounds of the town, with their big basket on their arm containing a little pot of glowing charcoal, or perhaps a kerosene flame, to keep the hot tamales hot. You could hear the musical call of ‘Hot tom-ma-le-e-e-s’ all over the residential parts of town until late at night. Downtown, in the business section, they had little handcarts with a gasoline burner… But for the outlying, hilly parts of town, they stuck to their basket carried on their arm. Most of them seemed to me to be old men, but at a time when many men still wore beards, I may have been mistaken.”

Colwell said it was his responsibility to clean out ashes and keep the coal packed in, and the kerosene lamps filled.

“On the back porch we had two whiskey barrels for water, which the ‘water man’ kept filled at 5 cents for a 10 gallon bucket. He had tank wagon which he filled at a street hydrant, and came around two or three times a week. We really had what I thought was the finest water in the world, directly from the reservoirs above Gillette, on the western slope of Pikes Peak… I know it was clear, cold and wonderful tasting.”

Colwell said the town’s water system was put in by Michigan capital and the mains from the reservoir to town, a distance of four or five miles, was made up of wooden bored pipes, wrapped with steel bands and tar coated.

“It was pipe that was taken up about 1893 at Bay City, Michigan, where the water company was owned by the same people, at that time was reputedly fifty years old when it was replaced there by cast iron pipe. In the last few years a great deal, perhaps most, of it had been replaced but it gave a pretty satisfactory service for very close to a hundred years.”

He said blasting trenches deep enough to keep pipe from freezing in Cripple Creek was extremely expensive because the bedrock was so close to the surface.

“So, with the exception of the business district, and a few block from it in the residence section, all of the smaller homes and cabins had no plumbing.”

Thus, the need for the two whiskey barrels on the back porch.

###

Friday, April 9, 2010

The bear's lessons



"Most things break," says Wallace Stegner. "The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus." As a symbol for strength, courage, and introspection, bears often are depicted in animal folklore as teachers. Good, bad or indifferent, they help to show us the way. As I write this, my hope is that I have learned at least some of the bear's lessons.


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Part 1: As I wander about seeking.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bears forever marked by loss of the shepherds

Part 5
In early times, when pandas still lived in the mountains of Tibet, the bears were white as snow. They were friends with four shepherd girls that took care of their sheep in the mountains nearby. While the shepherd girls were playing with a panda cub one day, a leopard suddenly leapt out from behind a rock and attacked the cub. The young girls, ever protective, threw themselves in front of the small bear to save it and were killed by the leopard. All the pandas were devastated by the girl’s deaths and held a ceremony to honor them for their bravery. As was the custom in Tibet, the pandas blackened their arms with ashes as a form of respect. As they wept for the girls and their ultimate sacrifice, they wiped their eyes with their paws, they covered their ears to block out the sound of the crying and they clung to each other in grief. As they did these things, the ash spread and blackened their fur. In honor of the girls, the pandas did not wash off their blackened fur. To this day, pandas are covered with the black markings to always remember. — From Tibetan Legend

From: Rob Carrigan
To: Rusty Hector
Sent: Friday, March 5, 2004

I know what you mean by articulation. I’m just trying to get some stuff on paper. I don’t know what will come of it.
Refresh my memory on “Mel, two pockets on a shirt are not cool.” I agree with you about the pith helmet. That kind of thing was typical. Bomber hat and goggles on his motorcycle, Orange Crush bandana under his football helmet, having to go home and change his shirt in sixth grade because it sported a cat in a glass jar and appeared with the caption “happiness is a tight pussy.” He did like to stand out.
— Rob.

From: Rusty Hector
To: Rob Carrigan
Sent: Friday, March 5, 2004

I remember the “good ass is hard to find” shirt that he wore under his shoulder pads. The pocket comment came in Durango one day when I was looking at shirts. I was considering a purchase of one that had two pockets.

From: Rob Carrigan
To: Rusty Hector
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2004

Rusty:
Scott talks about Lynn as “a person that I cared about not disappointing, … I looked up to him more than he ever knew.”
You say “he will always be with me, experiences, conversations, moments.”
Are you a religious man? The reason I ask is because, at times in the past few years (since his death), I have felt his presence. Like he was my own personal saint or guardian angel or something. I know how weird that sounds and maybe it is just intense memory or emotion. Whatever it is, it has helped me make some decisions. But also makes me creepily uncomfortable.

From: Rusty Hector
To: Rob Carrigan
Sent: Sunday, April 18

I have been pondering this for quite a while.
Wouldn’t say I was a religious man. To me, the term denotes tradition and repetition. I am a Christian, just trying to live my life ‘Christ like” and have a relationship with The Big Chief. I understand that Lynn also came to the saving grace… I think that he is now in the presence of the Lord, maybe even offering prayers on our behalves.
Perhaps the angel who is assigned to you is using memories of Lynn to help convey things in your spirit, so it would be in a way you understand. I draw comfort from his memory with the different decisions I’m faced with. Sometimes wondering (or hearing) the way I think he would have handled a situation. We all have the utmost respect for him. He just had that way about him. I’d call it “Quiet Confidence.” For those of us who loved him, it was the assurance of him knowing who he was and where he was headed.
Were your decisions good ones?
I still think about several things in my life where Lynn gave me advice. Sometimes, I was seeking it, and other times I wasn’t. Each time it seemed appropriate and it was never sugar coated, but I knew it was because he was trying to help me.

From: Carl Rice
To: Rob Carrigan
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2004

I could see those qualities in Lynn when he dealt with peers. I think is was partly because he had mastered the art of parenting while raising most of his family. He was like an adult in a very young body. He was always the perpetrator of calm and sense of direction. I remember the time I called a time-out in a crucial situation at the end of a game with Mancos. He came to the sidelines and I was going over options that were available for getting a first down on a third and 7. I was carrying on as only I could do and he said, “calm down coach, we will get it.” I said go get it done! He went back in and ran a dive for nine yards and a first down and that let us run out the clock. That intuition or confidence was amazing and yet at times when we were together alone, he seemed like a very small and helpless child. It was almost as if he thirsted for recognition that was not attached to responsibility. I remember when he graduated and we were shaking and grabbing kids. I walked up to him and just stared for a bit then simply hugged him and said I loved him. He broke into tears. I always wondered why that happened. He was however, easy to love as he was to respect. He was to me, the most precocious of a group of wise young men. He was special because of his awareness of the human condition and his willingness to look beyond the obvious. He was to me, both a son and friend, with full provisions of both.

From: Scott Weinmaster
To: Rob Carrigan
Sent: Sunday, March 28, 2004

Rob,
Sorry to get back so late but been a busy guy. Am i religious? i guess in a way. i don’t go to church or anything but i do pray, guess i got my own relationship with the big guy. i really haven't felt a presence of lynn or any of the people that i have lost, i guess i rely on me…
Not to say i don’t think about what some of them might think about my actions. But as always i make my own decisions … good and bad and i have made both. lol i do really hope that i will see them all again someday … but i guess i am a realist … this is what u got so deal with it… the only way i know how to live at this point in life. Live each day!! don’t know what’s in store tomorrow…

###



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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Evil turned into pine nuts, yucca fruit and cacti


Part 4
The Navajo legend presents Changing Bear Maiden as a demonic she-bear. Originally a human maiden, she weds a coyote, which her twelve brothers kill. In retaliation, she takes on the form of a bear and slays eleven of her siblings. Her youngest brother manages to shoot her with an arrow; he divides her body and the various parts transform into pine nuts, yucca fruit, and cacti. Her evil is defeated, yielding positive results for the earth and providing nourishment for the Navajo people.
— From Amy Sillup, Suite101.com

From: Rob Carrigan
To: Carl Rice
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2004

Coach:
What did he like and dislike?
What did he love and value?
I would say he was a planner who usually had laser beam focus. He set his goals early and often. As a result, he usually had a pretty good success ratio, and the fa├žade of at least appearing calm. In retrospect, his public persona was one of a person way beyond his years. It was as if he knew his ticket was punched for the matinee only.
He respected you a great deal. That’s the reason for his search for approval from you specifically. You were a different animal than he had seen before. He recognized that early and saw you as one that he could respect. His folks are by no means bad people, but he seemed to recognize the limitations of such an existence — and want more.
You also provided an outlet for his talent and interest in development of strategy, particularly sport strategy.
What did accept less of?
In what way was he fragile?
And finally, though it is off the beam, but I’m curious, how do you see the rest of us?
__ Rob

Carl Rice wrote:
I would say you are very accurate. He was a loving son who was ashamed that he had to scrape. He hated the things that people thought and said about him and his family yet he saw the weakness. He loved his Grandmother and grandfather yet he was jealous of their attention for Scott. He was his own worst enemy because he acted like he needed nothing but he needed support so much that he felt guilty. You guys think he was different than you. I don’t see him that way. He just didn’t ask as much.

You ask what I think about you guys and I almost gasped because I have never articulated that to you. I have worried what you thought of me. I guess that is selfish. You guys were like characters in a Shakespearian epic. You each have allegorical presence to me. Each good and bad, comical and tragic, selfish and understanding etc…
I learned more from teaching and coaching you guys than I had even suspected in the first 24 years of my life. It is impossible to do what Lynn and I have done without adopting the personalities that you are responsible for. I think of all of you almost daily and pray that your lives are full and plentiful.

I think this writing is good but want to examine your motives first hand. You always represented the thinking general type, the overachiever. I talk about you to every team I coach and every clinic I speak at. The conversation is not about football, it is about courage and belief in yourself. It is about what you can do if you don’t consider failure as an option. You personally mean much more than that to me. Have you ever thought about the symbiotic balance that you guys had? Have you ever wondered how it happened? What it represented in your life? And if it would ever happen again? Coach

From: Rob Carrigan
To: Carl Rice
Sent: Monday, Jan. 19, 2004

Coach:
I always have been a persistent little troll. Everyone wants to know what others think…
The team we are talking about offered an unprecedented honesty that I saw neither before, nor after that particular time in my life. If I was an ass, I was usually told about then and there, and the same was true for others.
Balance was a good way to describe it. We kept one or the other of us from tipping the scales too far. The dynamic with you was a little different in that you were the adult-in-charge and beside that, could have easily stomped a mud hole in us — but not that different.
In many respects, you offered us an equality that most adults never offered us before. In my own wistful reminiscence of that time and space, I miss the honesty the most. Sometimes you need people to tell you when they think you are screwing up. But as I get older, I either quit listening or most folks just quit telling, or both.
I can’t believe I’ve completely quit making mistakes. (Neither can my wife and kids.) My own honest evaluation of you is very positive. You are a good guy that cared about us. You noted our successes, you told us when we screwed up. You even allowed us to see some of the chinks in your own armor. But you also challenged us to create our own legends. You asked us to ask more of ourselves and to consider the possibilities. Thank you.
Back to Lynn: I don’t see him as that different, except for what I call “the faraway eyes.” I can’t help thinking that some of the things he did, the way he did them, he did because he could hear a clock ticking. — Rob.

From: Carl Rice
To: Rob Carrigan
Sent: Monday, January 19, 2004

I agree about the eyes and the presence. You were not a persistent little troll. Your body was not as big as your heart. That is a good thing. I will take heart anytime. Carl.

In the midst of gathering information about Lynn's life, his younger brother Lane, died of similar causes.
From the obituary pages of the Dolores Star and the Cortez Journal:
Funeral services for lifelong Cortez resident Lane Leavell will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21 at the Lifeway Baptist Church. Pastor Jimmy Kennedy will officiate. Internment will follow at Cortez Cemetery. Lane was born the son of Kay Leavell and Darlene (Sparks) Leavell on Feb. 8, 1971, in Cortez. He died at Southwest memorial Hospital on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2004. He was 33. On July 10, 1993, Lane married Amy Sue Risenhoover in Dolores. A heavy equipment mechanic for Nielsons/Skanska, Lane loved his job. He was an active and devoted member of Lifeway Baptist Church, and he was a member of the Dolores Fire Department. In his free time, Lane enjoyed building model trucks. He was proud that he was the one trusted annually to haul the Galloping Goose train to Durango to put it on the tracks. Mostly, though, Lane loved his family and cherished those relationships. Surviving Lane are his beloved wife of 10 years, Amy Leavell of Dolores: his children, Garrett Leavell and Madelynn Leavell both of Dolores; his parents, Kay Leavell and Darlene Leavell of Dolores; his parents in law, Leon and Saralynn Risenhoover also of Dolores; and his grandmother, Jean Sparks of Hendersen, Nev., Three sisters, Penny Thompson and husband, Gene of Mancos, Lisa Balderrama and husband Rudy, of Cortez, and Lori Willbanks and husband, Keenan of Dolores also survive Lane. Preceding Lane in death was an infant daughter, Sarah Leavell; brother, Lynn Leavell; grandmother, Bernice Leavell; and grandfather, Paddy Leavell.
###


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Monday, April 5, 2010

Dolores, and other bears laid bare


Part 3
Spectacled bears, the only bear native to South America and its largest carnivore, are under threat from loss of habitat and from poachers. But Dolores, a spectacled bear who lives at Leipzig Zoo in Germany, had more immediate concerns. In November of 2009, her coat which normally should be thickening up at that time of year in preparation for winter's colder temperatures, began falling out in clumps. Bizarrely, Dolores and all the female Spectacled bears at the zoo have lost their fur completely. Despite the hair loss, some itching and perhaps a bit of self-consciousness, the bears are not showing any ill-effects. — From Metro of London, Nov., 2009

From: Rob Carrigan
To: Carl Rice
Sent: Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2004

Coach:
I consider myself a storyteller anyway. I am working on some stuff that might hit print somewhere. Given that, there is always the possibility that something said to me could see the light of day. I very much enjoy our recent email exchanges, but if you want something off limits, please tell me and I will respect that.
Lynn’s story is a great one on many planes. It is a bit of a painful exploration on my part, but nobody said anything in life has to be easy (note: previous discussion of Intensity drills.) I have no intention of exploiting anyone, but think it is a story worth telling. Hoping to explore some of the themes we have previously discussed as it relates to his life. Hoping to identify the lessons learned. Finally hoping to make some sense of it myself and find some peace in the process. ___Rob

Carl Rice wrote:
If I understand correctly, your purpose, it sounds like a passionate task. Did you read “Beachers”? Each of us has a story and it is a conglomeration of quotes and misquotes that have been dealt to us and by us to posterity. I loved Lynn and stand beside his life and memory with pride. I do however know a pile of weaknesses and inconsistencies that were demonstrated in his life. I choose to regard the great things that he was. I support anything that you do that is honorable and with in reason, factual. You, yourself are a chapter in my emotional book and a most valuable part of the lessons that life has provided me with on my way to becoming a better person. We have a responsibility to teach and honor within the confines our lives. Please share with me more of your intentions.
Carl

From: Rob Carrigan
To: Carl Rice
Sent: Thursday, Jan. 15, 2004

I have not read “Beachers,” but will try to locate it and take a look. That is the John Grisham novella about a star player’s struggle to forgive himself and his coach, right? His buddies meet in the bleachers and discuss the “Old Days” and past glory. Just goes to show you, there are no new ideas. From reviews, Coach Eddie Rake is central in that story. Any relationship to Carl Rice?
Lynn was a good man. Like all good people, he was not perfect. He was not really a hero figure, (although to some, maybe?) but an above-average cat. But in his relatively short life, he touched people in profound ways (as noted, we all do). When we showed up in November, mostly it was out of respect for Lynn’s memory and the circular coincidence surrounding a Dolores/Akron playoff match-up. Some of the connections were uncanny and it felt like some strange “juju.” My current leading idea is to try to capture a bit of that energy on paper with the different perspectives. I envision a treatment where a story is told through different characters eyes… It shapes up as a circle of life sketch. Is that too similar to “Bleachers”? Is there a better way?
Can I tell “evil black-hearted coach” stories in order to create a decent villain?
As Mark Thompson would say, “Just funnin’ ya.”
We all know you were trying to teach us honor and that your heart is not really black. The “evil” designation, I suppose, is still open for debate.
— Rob.

Carl Rice wrote:

Rob,
I had a player come up to me and with tears in eyes tell me he was being encouraged to press assault and battery charges on me because of my coaching. He said he didn’t know what to do. I told him to do whatever he needed to do. My conscience is indeed mine and is of no concern to anyone else. I now tell you, do what you need to do. You guys are dear to me but I am not in charge of what you think or your memories and perceptions. You have my blessings to do what you want.

From: Rob Carrigan
To: Carl Rice
Sent; Friday, Jan. 16, 2004

Coach:
Yes, and I have been sued in Federal District court for turning in someone who wrote me a bad check. At times, right and wrong gets a little cock-eyed in the short term.
Earlier you said, “I do however know of a pile of weaknesses and inconsistencies that were demonstrated in his life. I choose to regard the great things that he was.”
In my own experience, the Lynn image is mostly positive. Perhaps I didn’t see something I should have. Your acknowledged general perception is good but it has an edge on it. Maybe that is just your way.
My choice of Lynn as central is admittedly mechanical. He has been dead for years. To most of us, he wasn’t particularly controversial, but for me provides a common thread, glue to hold events together, wins and losses and noble fights. The truth be known, this writing, though I hope to dig out and present different perspectives, is mine. It is my view of what happened. You all can write something for your selves.
So where were the holes in his armor? I won’t dwell on it, but I need to know what put the edge in your voice. What were the great things he was? __ Rob.

Carl Rice wrote:
Rob, I knew Lynn from the time I first went to your town. He was the first student I met the first day I arrived in Dolores. He hung around me like a bee hangs around sugar water. He would do anything I asked of him, it was like he was thirsty for someone to approve of him and recognize his value. Lynn was a fragile person who put on a marvelous show, his talent was he was cool under pressure and that he was the most stoic youngster I have ever met. Few knew what he disliked and even fewer knew what he loved and valued. The edge that I have is not for the personality I loved. I don’t want anything to cheapen his memory. I don’t know what the perception of Lynn and my relationship was but I know what it was to me. We talked more than his parents did. Through college, we sent letters to each other and following college he came to live with me in Akron. He became closer than an old player. He was like a son. I was proud of him. His flaws, like all of ours are best left to the wind.

###


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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bear begins the eternal hunt once more

Part 2
The Micmac Indians of Nova Scotia and the Iroquois along the St. Lawrence Seaway share one story about the Big Bear. The quadrangle of the dipper represents a bear that is pursued by seven hunters; the three closest are the handle of the dipper. As autumn approaches, the four farthest hunters dip below the horizon and abandon the hunt, leaving the closest three hunters to chase the bear. The hunters are all named after birds. The closest hunter to the bear is named Robin, the second closest is Chickadee, and the third is Moose Bird. Chickadee is carrying a pot in which the bear will be cooked. As the bear attempts to stand up on two legs, Robin wounds the bear with an arrow. The wounded bear sprays blood on Robin, who shakes himself and in the process colors the leaves of the forest red; some blood stains Robin and he is henceforth called Robin Redbreast. The bear is eaten, and the skeleton remains traveling through the sky on its back in the winter. During the following spring a new bear leaves the den and the eternal hunt begins once more. __ From the Myths of Ursa Major


On Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Carl Rice wrote:
Rob, It was so good to see all you guys at the Dolores game. You all hold such a dear spot in my heart. I talked Scott the other night at about 1 in the morning and he said he had talked to you. He always calls at about that time. I want to keep in touch with you so please write.
Coach

From: Rob Carrigan
To: Carl Rice
Date: Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Coach:
It was great to see you! We ran into many that weekend that I had not seen in nearly 25 years. Don’t get back there as often as we should. It was an interesting time warp.
I must be lucky. Usually it is only midnight when Scott calls me. Wanted to touch bases with you as well. Was hoping to ask philosophical and psychological questions about small-town group dynamics. Seriously, I have been trying to figure out why sometimes there is more “connection” with a place you visit for a few hours in November, than there is in a corporation in which you have slaved for eight years.
Maybe it is the slavery issue?
It is a pleasure to hear from you. Keep in touch.
___Rob

Carl Rice wrote:
Those are indeed interesting dynamics. If it is any consolation, it is the same for everyone. That time and That place are often marked by not only faces, but passion and change. Corporations are quite boring!

From: Rob Carrigan
To: Carl Rice
Date: Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Coach:
You are preaching to the choir on corporations. Generally, I have great passion for my family, community and what I do at work, but the corporation is one of the nagging details that we all imagine we could do without.
As a coach and teacher, you wield a lot of influence in that time and place. I think it was very positive my case specifically, and for the group in general. However, I still cuss you sometimes.
In that role, do you consciously construct strategy to get us (and others over the years) to do the right things? Or is it something, like maybe riding a bull or diving off a cliff, that is hard — but after doing enough times, you know it by feel? Whatever the case, I for one, appreciate the effort. Keep up the good work. Talk to you later. __Rob


From Carl Rice
To: Rob Carrigan
Date: Tuesday, January 13, 2004
I, at times cuss myself, as we all miscalculate or misfunction. Generally, I have no plan and have found that one would be ineffective. Too many variables! I wonder though, if we are all strung together by a universal ethic or model, I think one can recognize right and wrong, especially in each other. I have been blessed to do what I do. I realize I have touched a lot of people. Think how many you touch with your decisions. I realize that much of the time we concentrate on the monster, which is to me the far-removed machine. The truth is the struggle rages in the individual. Ethics doesn’t just happen. It is a practice.
See you, Carl

On 2/28/04 7:30 pm Rusty Hector wrote:
So I shouldn’t tell you the goat story:) You really wouldn’t write about that would you?

From: Rob Carrigan
To: Rusty Hector
Sent: Monday, March 1, 2004

What goat story? Sounds like a breakout chapter. ___ Rob

From: Rusty Hector
To: Rob Carrigan
Sent: Thursday, March 4, 2004

Really hard to articulate.

Lynn was always his own man. He knew where he was going in life and had been living the dream for some time before he passed on. He enjoyed the ride with passion. Saw humor in the simple things but did not miss the opportunity to impart “wisdom” when he felt it was appropriate.
He will always be with me. Experiences, conversations, moments. An important piece of the puzzle of our youth.
Are you thinking of an Animal House type format? Something you can make into a movie ;) Soliciting quotes? “Mel, two pockets on a shirt are not cool.”
Don’t forget the “pith/jungle” hat on his casket. That WAS Leavell! Pith-strength, as that of a leader.
###



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Saturday, April 3, 2010

As I wander about, seeking ...

Part 1
“In Scandinavia, there was a firm belief in the ability of some people to change into or assume the characteristics of bears. Our English word "berserk" comes from this legend. It was thought that if a warrior was to don a bear-skin shirt (called a bear-sark) which had been treated with oils and herbs, that the warrior would gain the strength, stamina, and power of the animal. These people would be driven into a frenzy in battle and were said to be capable of biting through the enemy's shields or walking through fire without injury.” — Gary Coulbourne

Sometimes, stories should be allowed to tell themselves.
In November of 2003, I began exploring the idea of writing something about how my friend, Lynn Leavell’s life and death had an impact on my own, and the lives of some of my friends. Pieces of that exploration have appeared here and there, but the definitive account, the be-all-to-end-all version that puts the matter to rest, never seems to emerge.
After wrestling with this mystery off and on all these years, the truth may be that I will never understand. Life may simply be just one damn thing after another, or not.
But following are few of the conversations and exchanges I’ve shared as I wander about, seeking.

From: Rob Carrigan
To: Scott Weinmaster
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2004

Scott:
I am working on a writing project that involves Lynn and our trip to Dolores in November but ran into some roadblocks. I have asked Rusty and Carl Rice similar questions. What I am thinking of writing may take many forms. The idea that appeals to me now is an examination of value systems, environment, culture, etc… as it relates to one man’s life, Lynn Leavell. By talking about Lynn and his life, we try to take a good honest look in the mirror. Some of us will have different takes on what was, is, and might have been. A starting place for you and I on this, as I see it, is for you to tell me how you viewed Lynn? How you viewed yourself as it related to him? Your perceptions of the group as a whole? And any other observations you care to comment on?
An important disclaimer: in the course of this and future conversations, you want to tell me something but it is off limits as far as writing about it, you must make that clear to me. Because, otherwise, it might find its way into print. Thanks for your consideration. Let me know what you think. ¬—Rob

From: Scott Weinmaster
To: Rob Carrigan
Sent: Febrary 27, 2004

rob,
lots of things to think about… as far lynn and i, we kinda grew together as young kids, but as i went out of town, i lost track of all the family, until my mom sent me back to dolores my 9th grade summer, lynn made me feel at home as soon as i got back… he introduces me to everyone, u know the group… lynn was closer to me than my own brothers… we just seemed to click from the beginning … for a guy that wasn’t all that talented at sports physically, he was a wonder when it came to knowing the game … never knew anyone that had such a brain for the game … all games, he used his head more than body … that’s why he needed a special helmet to cover that rock of a head... lol… he was gentle and caring … but a hell of a competitor!! i remember that he was upset with me at 1 point thinking i was taking away from him being the head of the boys with granny … we both cried and of course had a few drinks back then but realized that it didn’t matter, we were bros and what mattered was how we felt and dealt with 1 another… as far as how i related to lynn, i guess i have to say that i was the alpha dog … but knew i couldn’t do much without him and the others … i feel that lynn respected me for that … he was the buffer and the smart 1 … i still regret that didn’t go to mesa, life would have been different, he wouldn’t have let me screw up … so i guess he was a person that i cared about not disappointing, … i looked up to him more that he ever knew … i always thought he was the star and not me … we had a lot of great times together … i miss him! so i guess the easiest way to do this is to send me specific questions … and listen to me ramble … 1 ? at a time, u know I can get overwhelmed lol… but to me, Dolores and all of u were the best thing that ever happened to a city boy.
scott
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