David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Going Riding [August, 1985]


The pictures stare out of the old album; a fat little kid sitting on a burro, squinting into the sun. I can clearly remember when my father took those pictures, crouched over the box brownie, shading the ground glass lens and pulling the long lever, hearing the loud click of the shutter.

Now I am a fat old kid, but every time I pass the old Parks place I am reminded of Miz Parks and the burros I badgered my parents about riding.

The saddles didn't fit a little kid. They were old army saddles with the split in the middle. I was too small to actually ride anywhere by myself, so I had to wait for a group of children to form so we could be led for an hour through and around Allenspark.

Miz Parks sold worms, too. They were kept in the shade in a big washtub, and my father would buy them--I think they were a penny each--for his fishing forays on Roaring Fork, which isn't a fork and only roars about two weeks a year.

I didn't care much for worms, being a city kid. The closest I usually got to worms was seeing them in the beak of a robin. Now Miz Parks dredged her large hands through the dark, moist dirt, plucking the long, squirming worms out and counted them aloud. I counted along with her. We took our time.

Miz Parks, it seemed to me, always seemed to have plenty of time. More than we did. She was, to put it kindly, a very large woman. Her size and her disposition seemed to combine to create a sense of going through life in slow motion. Surrounded by jumping, squealing kids, excited about a burro ride, she was a huge island of calm.

After World War II I was too big to ride the burros and I rented horses at the Meeker Park stable in the days when it was down at the junction of Cabin Creek Road and Highway 7. For several years I always tried to rent the biggest horse they had, named Star, because he had a white star on his forehead. I almost always rented him for a whole day and around 3:00 PM Star knew it was time to go home, and I was generally no match for him. One time I left him tied up too loosely and at 3:00 he just went back to the stable by himself. I'd like to find a rental car I could do that with.

These days I sit on the porch and watch the Cheley Campers ride along Big Owl Road and I think back to those days, but I don't miss the riding very much. Like a great many things, it's mostly a young person's activity. I often thought, when I was their age, that I'd like to have a horse of my own here, but in many ways I'm glad I have instead the memories of Miz Parks and the burros and Star.

The black pages of the photo album are stained and faded, like the pictures themselves, and many of the little black corners are gone, but the memories are as fresh as the air on Big Owl after a summer rain.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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