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In Our Thoughts
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In Our Thoughts
Popular poet and ranch managerTrey Allen has been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and a special ranch rodeo benefit is planned for May 26, 2013. From the announcement.
Trey Allen, local cowboy poet and manager of Moyer Ranch of Junction City, has been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. This is a cancer of the plasma cells including chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants are available; however we all know that modern medicine of these types become costly very quickly.
Ranching and cowboy heritage are very important to Trey, therefore a ranch rodeo is being organized to help raise funds
for his medical costs. Since participants will be asked to "pay to play," we are asking for donations to offset the overhead
cost, particularly to help provide awards to the top four teams that compete. Prizes that we plan to award include:
. First place: Handmade trophy buckles, by Lady Luck Iron of Stockton, Ks.
. Second place: Breast collars, by Hunn Leather of Augusta, Ks.
. Third place: Saddle pads, made by R BAR B Tack and Trailers of Topeka, Ks., and Cal Noyons of Melvern, Ks.
. Fourth place: Handmade headstalls, by Dominic Stephens of Grinnell, Ks.
The Trey Allen Ranch Rodeo benefit will be held May 26th at the Junction City Saddle Club Arena. In addition to the rodeo that will begin at 6:30 p.m., there will be a calf fry at 2:00 p.m. and a silent/live auction with open bidding during the duration
of the events.
If your business would like to make a tax deductible donation to help with offset the costs of the event and prizes, please make your check payable and mail to: Kansas State Bank, 539 W 6th Junction City, KS 66441 c/o Trey Allen Benefit Ranch Rodeo. If you or your business is interested in donating an item for the silent/live auction, please contact Janice Hannagan at
785-565-1265 or Paula Ferguson 785-712-6150 (text only).
We hope that you will be able to join us at the Trey Allen Benefit Ranch Rodeo as this community and ranch family comes
together to support one of our own. We know that this will also be a night to enjoy the entertainment of a ranch rodeo and enjoy the good taste of calf fries and the fixings that will be provided with it. Your contributions, regardless of size, are
There is a Facebook group for the event: www.facebook.com/groups/309071409219644/
Find some of Trey Allen's poetry and more about him in our feature here.
A fire causedKen Overcast—Montana rancher, writer, musician, columnist, and host of radio's popular Cowboy Show—to lose his entire house, including all of his instruments and his whole library of recordings used for his show.
UPDATE 4/2/13: Lisa Lyster Hampton informed us that the Overcasts would not like to receive Western music and cowboy poetry CDs to help replace what they have lost, contrary to previous postings. Currently, they have no place to store things.
There is a community benefit on April 6, 2013 in Chinook. There are details here.
He shared this photo:
His March, 2013 newsletter tells about the fire:
I hope all is well on your end of the range. Things are a little challenging on ours, and we wanted to catch you up on what’s going on here. We were out of town on business a couple of weeks ago when we got a call at 4:30 AM from our son that our house was on fire.
“It’s a total loss, so there’s no reason to hurry home.”
To be perfectly honest, I was actually relieved when I found out it was only our house on fire, and not someone killed in a car accident or some other fatal tragedy. It’s never good news when the phone rings that time of day.
The fire department had called him because they were worried someone might still be in there, and it was a towering inferno by the time they arrived. An engineer on the railroad called in the fire. We’re about a mile from the railroad tracks, and the flames were already coming out of the roof by then. By the time the fire department arrived, there was nothing they could do
but watch it burn.
We were in Billings, which is about a four hour drive for us. Honestly, we didn’t hurry home, and arrived there about 10:30 AM. We knew what we were going to find, and really didn’t want to see it. What we came home to was a couple feet of ashes in the basement.
He was right … it was a total loss.
Our old two story house was exactly 100 years old, and was made out of hand formed concrete blocks. Of course the concrete blocks didn’t burn, so all of the heat was concentrated in. It must have gotten pretty intense, as some of the glassware from the china cupboards is all melted together and unrecognizable.
Needless to say, things are a little upside down around here. All of our musical instruments and the entire library for our radio program were in there, along with all of our recording equipment, business records, as well as our entire CD inventory.
We’ve contacted all of our radio affiliates to let them know our radio show is history … at least for now.
Thank God we had insurance, and although I’m sure it won’t be enough, it will sure help. Money can’t ever buy the really valuable things anyway. The pictures, my Dad’s fiddle, Grandpa’s bible … and the endless list goes on and on.
Life goes on. We’re living in town with our son TJ now, and son-in-law Lance has moved his fifth wheel trailer out home for us to live in temporarily. That should be ready to go by next week sometime.
Of course our ongoing musical gigs and calving and spring farm work are just around the corner, so we’ve got a little on our plate.
We’ll probably rebuild, but don’t have any firm plans as yet.
God is good, everyone is safe, and our little community has really gone overboard in helping. That’s truly humbling.
I guess I can’t offer a place to stay if you stop by … at least not right now. That is … unless you bring a tent.
… but don’t forget to check yer cinch.
Bear Valley Records
PO Box 1542
There is a bank account set up for cash donations at: First Bank of Montana, 337 Indiana St., Chinook, MT 59523; 406-357-2244.
Popular musicianSteve Taylor of STAMPEDE!, President of the Western Music Association, had prostate cancer surgery on February 25, 2013 and his wife and performing partner Terri Taylor reports that he is "recovering nicely at home."
You can write to Steve at:
PO Box 944
Roy, UT 84067
or email him at email@example.com.
Much-loved rancher, poet and writerDeanna Dickinson McCall had surgery for breast cancer on March 5, 2013. You can write to her at:
PO BOX 376
Timberon, NM 88350-0376
[photo by Kevin-Martini Fuller]
Popular Texas cowboy, poet, and storytellerRay Fitzgerald is recovering from a fall in February that required neck surgery, just before the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Linda Kirkpatrick asked Ray's son, Wade, if Ray would appreciate hearing from friends. Wade thanked everyone for "the thoughts, prayers and concern" and replied:
I know he does not want any "special treatment" but I'm sure he would enjoy the cards! His address is:
P.O Box 337
Van Horn, Texas, 79855
[image from a 2007 photo by Yvonne Hollenbeck]
Diana Raven sends news about much-loved singer, songwriter and Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering organizerLiz Masterson:
Dear Friends -
If you're reading this it's because you know, love and have probably enjoyed Liz Masterson, her friendship and her music. We are writing to ask your help for our good friend. Liz has been coordinator of the Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering for over 20 years, and she was instrumental in keeping the gathering alive when it was moved from the Arvada Center.
Liz has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and surgery is scheduled for Oct. 2. If they have a cancellation on Sept. 18 they will move her to that date.
She will be unable to perform and has to cancel gigs during this time, as well as the uncertainty of the future and when she might be able to perform again. Liz also substitute teaches in Jefferson County and is a waitress at the White Fence Farm in Lakewood, she will be unable to do either of these jobs for a while.
If you would like to donate to help Liz cover her medical expenses and monthly bills, you can contribute by using this link which takes Pay Pal or most credit cards. If you prefer to send a check, make payable to Suzie Solomon and send to POB 332, Idaho Springs, CO 80452. Put ‘for Liz’ in the memo line.
As you know Liz has been known to donate hour upon hour for worthy causes, including volunteering to play benefits for friends in need, she always pitches in and helps when others are going through hard times. Now it's time for us to consider helping her.
Thank you for your support in this time of need.
To stay in touch and see what is happening in her life, go to her CaringBridge page.
Thank you for your kindness to Liz.
Diana Raven, Co-coordinator
Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Liz prefers mail to phone calls at this time. You can write to her at P.O. Box 12699, Denver, CO 80212.
UPDATE 11/26: For Liz's reports post-surgery, visit her CaringBridge page.
UPDATE 1/2: Friends of Liz are holding a benefit concert on Sunday, January 6, 2013 in Denver featuring Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore, Chris Daniels, Mike Dowling, Jim and Salli Ratts, Ron Jones, and Ernie Martinez. Find more here.
From Virginia Bennett via Bennetts Custom Spurs on Facebook:WE HAVE A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT TO MAKE!!
WE ARE NOW STARTING OUR ONLINE, BENEFIT AUCTION HERE AT BENNETTS CUSTOM SPURS!
EVERY PENNY OF THE WINNER'S BID IS GOING TO GO TO THE BENEFIT FUND FOR LIZ MASTERSON, COWGIRL SINGER AND YODELER EXTRAORDINAIRE!!
Liz has been a topnotch performer on the cowboy poetry and western music circuit for many years, and she's also been the driving force behind the Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering for almost as long. Her harmonies are sought after ...for backup vocals on various artists' recordings; she represents the West at Folk Festivals back east; and she has taught innumerable people to yodel in the clinics she puts on.
Recently, Liz was diagnosed with cancer and she is presently undergoing chemotherapy. She needs her friends in the cowboy world to pull together and help in the midst of a rough patch. This is what we do: we gather together, hold up our cowboy-kin in prayer and do the most we can to help those are facing tough financial times. Liz truly needs our help!
These Bennett Spurs will fit a ladies' sized boot or a teenager's boot, or a man's smaller sized boot. They are valued at $350 and being offered here at no reserve!! This might be your chance to get a customized pair of Bennett Spurs while at the same time, helping out one of our favorite cowgirl singers!
I'll work with the winner of the spurs in order to get every detail down on how you want your spurs to be personalized. Your initials, your brand, a symbol that represents what is important to you, whatever you want!! Pete will add it all on, will get your bootheel tracing so the spurs will also be custom-fitted. Just look at all the spurs at www.bennettspurs.com and get some ideas on how you'd want to customize this great pair of working-cowboy spurs!
Pls post your bid here, on this post, if you can. If you want to bid anonymously, just send me a private message with your bid and I'll post it without your name. Let's get together on this folks, and really bless our dear Cowboy's Sweetheart!
Everyone can help by sharing this as much as possible, not only on your Facebook wall, but also on the timelines of your friends. If you can, you could make an email out of this post and then send it to all of your friends who perhaps are not on facebook. Maybe it would work best if you just email this announcement to every one of your contacts!! Can't hurt!
I hope you'll place your bids and watch the auction here, and start dreaming of how you want these spurs to be outfitted!!
Thanks, everyone, so much!
From Liz on Facebook:
Hi All, my friends in Ft. Collins are having a Benefit Concert for my ongoing medical/living expenses. SUN. Mar.3 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. It's a full-day of m...usic, cowboy poetry and FUN! Silent Auction, great food at Avogardo's 605 So. Mason www.avogadros.com 970-493-5555. Hope to see you there!
Liz has an ongoing need of funds. You can write to her at: P.O. Box 12699, Denver, CO 80212.
Find previous postings and links to earlier postings on the next page.
Trooper, 1998-2013Trooper, companion to Jerry Brooks, has gone to his reward. Seen here wearing his Don Edwards bandana, Trooper was a popular attendee at gatherings from Texas to California and will be missed by his friends, canine, equine, and human. Born in December 1998, he died April 26, 2013.
Photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski, obtain permission for reproduction rights
Will Stearns, died March 26, 2013Will Stearns. He died Tuesday, March 26, 2013, after a long hospital stay.
With much sadness, we learned of the death of third-generation Wyoming horseman, cowboy and storyteller
Will was the South Dakota State Champion All Around Cowboy, Saddle Bronc Rider, and Bulldogger in 1958; won the Saddle Bronc Riding Average at the Old Timer’s National Finals in Amarillo, Texas, in 1985; qualified for the Senior Pro National Finals in Reno, and won the Bronc Riding Average there again in 1994 at the age of 54; was the 50+ NSPRA World Champion Bronc Rider in 1995, and the Canadian Senior Pro Rodeo Association 50+ Bronc Riding Champion that same year; made the high-marked saddle bronc ride of the entire 1995 NSPRA Finals (all ages), in the last go-‘round; made the high-point ride of the entire NSPRA ’95 year at East Helena; and, repeated the Canadian championship in 1996, at the age of 56 and was runner-up to the NSPRA World Champion Bronc Rider that year. Find more about Will at www.doublespearranch.com/bill-stearns.html.
National Cowgirl Hall of Fame honoree, poet, writer, and rodeo historian Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns was married to Will. Their friend, columnist and cartoonist Jan Swan Wood wrote, via Rhonda, that "...Our cowboy has ridden home to be with his Lord and Savior. Will went home at 4:10 this morning, with his beloved wife, brother Joe and treasured children Shelly and Cody at his bedside. Also joining them at his bedside were Bob the dog and cats Alice and Bart. The peace and acceptance of this next phase of his journey was a balm to the spirit of those with him and an assurance that all is well." Bob has his own fame as a yodeling dog.
There will be a celebration of life for Will Stearns on Saturday, March 30, in Newcastle. It "...begins with food and fellowship at noon at Weston County Senior Services in Newcastle, at 627 Pine St (turn north at Decker’s Food Center). The service will begin at 1:30 pm in the same venue. Interment will follow at the old Fort Lee Cemetery near Black Thunder Creek, south of Highway 450 on Bruce Road (used to be the Clareton Road)."
You can write to Rhonda Sedgwick Stearns at: 1159 Hwy 450, Newcastle, WY 82701 or email her.
—just two weeks short of his 73rd birthday.
William A. “Bill” Stearns crossed the Great Divide from his home range in Northeastern Wyoming on Passover, March 26th 2013
Following the tradition of his parents Billy and Evelyn (Dailey) Stearns, the 3rd-generation Wyoming cowboy grew up on a horse, making pony tracks over a 75-100-mile circle where the Stearns family had holdings at the edge of the Black Hills near the Wyoming/South Dakota border.
Working as an outside cowboy across more than six decades in the livestock industry, Bill rode hundreds of horses thousands of miles in several states, earning a reputation as one of the best in handling cattle, horses and country.
He played polo in the US and Canada, trained polo ponies and trained race horses. In recent years he did a lot of day-work across Wyoming’s Thunder Basin Grasslands.
Bill was South Dakota State Champion All Around Cowboy, Saddle Bronc Rider, and Bulldogger in 1958, and competed at the National High School Rodeo in Sulphur, Louisiana; later doing some college rodeoing from SDSU in Brookings and Sheridan Junior College in WY.
A 60’s bronc riding champion in the Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association, Bill rode PRCA on a permit, won the Kansas State Rodeo Association Bronc Riding Finals in 1983 and competed in the NARC Finals in Texas.
At the Old Timer’s National Finals in Amarillo, Texas, in 1985 Bill won the Saddle Bronc Riding Average, repeating the feat in 1994. He was the 50+ NSPRA World Champion Bronc Rider in 1995 and the Canadian Senior Pro Rodeo Association 50+ Bronc Riding Champion that same year; repeating the Canadian championship in 1996 as well as Runner-Up to the NSPRA World Champion Bronc Rider that year.
Bill’s true passion was helping young men acquire prowess in saddle bronc riding, and he was always willing to teach, with the help of his souped-up bucking machine. A memorial in his name will provide Rodeo School Scholarships to deserving Wyoming and South Dakota High School Rodeo participants.
Bill’s wife Rhonda, daughter and son-in-law Shelly Stearns and Brian Anderson, son and daughter-in-law Cody and Rachel Stearns, grandchildren Mackenzie, Andrew, Liam and Ava Stearns, brother Joe (Kate) Stearns and sister Carol Mc Inerney are left to mourn his passing. His Celebration of Life starts at noon Saturday, March 30th at Weston County Senior Services in Newcastle, Wyoming.
Worden Funeral Directors of Newcastle are in charge of arrangements.
Howard Norskog, 1933-2013
We were saddened to receive news (via Smoke Wade) of the death of popular Idaho poet and songwriter
Howard Norskog, on January 18, 2013.
Howard Norskog'sLost River Tales book tells:
Howard Norskog was born in Gebo, Wyoming in 1933. He was raised in Cody, Wyoming. He served in the Korean War at age sixteen, made the rodeo circuits as a bull rider for eleven years, raced motorcycles for twelve years, and coached amateur boxing most of his life.
Howard started writing Cowboy Poetry in 1948, and Christian Cowboy Poetry in 1994.
Howard has ballads in these books as well as others. Cowboy Poetry, a Gathering, Cowboy Poets of Idaho, and New Cowboy Poets, A Gathering. He has been featured several times in Elko, Nevada, representing both Wyoming and Idaho. He has been on radio coast-to-coast and featured in newspapers, magazines, and TV both in the United States and Canada. He has published four books and made four recordings.
His research into frontier lore and legend is the basis for his unique blend of history and fiction.
He was the recipient of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho Silver Quill Award in 1997 and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 1999.
Find more in our feature here.
Howard Norskog's friend Dave Wahl shared this poem:
an Encomium for Howard Norskog
Many folks can tell a story.
Very few can make it rhyme.
And yet, my friend, You did it all,
You were with us, for a time.
You told of rugged ranch-life,
And the hardiness it takes,
How the canyon country beckons,
Out on the Salmon River Breaks.
Your words have painted pictures,
I recall them now as then,
I remember things that never happened,
I recall places I've not been.
Memories of hard, but good times
Still light my mind inside.
I'm so thankful that you passed my way:
It has been a wondrous ride.
January 20, 2013
George Gund III, 1937-3013
PhilanthropistGeorge Gund III died June 15, 2013. Hal Cannon, Founding Director of the Western Folklife Center, home of the National
Cowboy Poetry Gathering, has a blog entry that honors George Gund's memory, here.
The longest serving board member of the Western Folklife Center, George Gund bought the Pioneer Hotel, now the home of the Western
Folklife Center, on the organization's behalf. Hal Cannon writes, "In recognition of all he did to create a home for the organization, we named the G Three Bar Theater after his brand." He goes on the give a warm look at an exceptional man.
George Gund was also the chairman of the San Francisco Film Society and former co-owner of the San Jose Sharks. An article San Francisco Chronicle tells, "Mr. Gund was a board member of the Cleveland Film Festival, a founder of the Cleveland Cinematheque, a trustee of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and a trustee of the Sundance Institute. He served on other boards, including the National Museum of the American Indian, the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City, the Musical Arts Foundation (Cleveland Orchestra) and the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nev. He was also a member of the Sierra Club National Advisory Board.
Joseph H. Dobrowski, father of Rob Dobrowski and father-in-law of Jeri Dobrowski, died Jan. 7, 2013, at 106 years, 11 months, and 7 days. Joe was recognized by the Montana Council on Aging as the oldest living resident in the state, a distinction that delighted him.
Joe will be buried at St. Philips, Montana, laid to rest amongst his parents, brothers, wife, infant son, aunts, and uncles. The rural cemetery is in close proximity to the Custer Trail, the route General George Custer and his men rode on their way from Fort Lincoln to Little Bighorn.
Rob and Jeri make their home on the Wibaux County, Montana home place that Joe purchased as a bachelor in 1928. He and his wife, Teresa, were married for 76 years. She preceded him in death in 2010.
This photo is of three generations of Dobrowski's: Jennifer Dobrowski Rogers, her grandfather Joe Dobrowski, and her father Rob Dobrowski. The picture was taken in 2006 when Joe Dobrowski was 100, Rob Dobrowski was 50, and Jennifer Dobrowski Rogers was 25.
photo by Jeri Dobrowski
[photos courtesy of
Janice Coggin 1937-2013
With sadness, we learned of the death ofJanice Coggin, on January 9, 2013.
Janice and her husband Mason published some of the first collections of classic cowboy poetry through their Cowboy Miner Productions.
After her husband's death, Janice Coggin added contemporary writers to their list. Among the writers that Cowboy Miner published are classic poets Badger Clark, Bruce Kiskaddon, Henry Herbert Knibbs, and D.J. O'Malley; and contemporary poets Chris Isaacs, the late Larry McWhorter, the late Sunny Hancock, Linda Kirkpatrick, Dee Strickland Johnson, Jane Morton, DW Groethe, Michael Whitaker, and others. Janice Coggin was known for helping poets afford publication, often extending generous arrangements to them.
Chris Isaacs comments, "We lost a good friend of cowboy poetry with the passing of Janice Coggin of Cowboy Miner Publishing. She helped a lot of us get our work in front of the public and will be missed."
Jane Morton adds, "I would like to acknowledge Janice Coggin's contribution to cowboy and western poetry. She was a pioneer in her field. Through the books she published, she has preserved and promoted classic and contemporary poems. Without Janice those poems would probably be lying around stored in an old notebook or yellowing in stacks of old newspapers or magazines. Her books will help preserve the western lifestyle and culture for future generations."
Updated 1/11Paul and Shannan Harris family
With the deepest sadness, we learned of the tragic deaths of Paul Harris's father,David Harris, and the death of the youngest daughter of Paul and Shannan Harris, Maci Harris, age 10, in an automobile accident on January 1, 2013. A two-month-old boy in another car was also killed in the accident.
Paul, his mother, and son Caleb, 10, were hospitalized. All are expected to recover from their injuries. Caleb suffered a broken left femur, a broken right heel, and facial fractures. Paul had fractured ribs and a bruised lung.
Paul and Caleb were released from the hospital on January 4. Caleb was scheduled for additional facial surgery on January 7.
Find a Facebook page about Caleb and his recovery here.
David Harris was the much-loved Senior Pastor of the Oak Park Baptist Church of Little Rock Arkansas for over 35 years. The memorial service for David Harris and Maci Harris will be held at 1:00 PM Wednesday, January 9th, at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church located at 12400 Interstate 30, Little Rock, AR 72210. Arrangements will be handled by Dial & Dudley Funeral Home located in Bryant, Arkansas.
There is a "helping hands" site for the family here, which includes information about how you can hellp with the family's medical costs.
[Thank you to Linda Kirkpatrick for the first news.]
Rod McQueary, 1951-2012
The cowboy poetry world mourns the loss of poet, rancher, and Marine veteran
Rod McQueary, who died December 29, 2012.Known for his thoughtful and deeply moving poems that came from his Vietnam war experience as well as for his often humorous pieces, Rod McQueary was a part of the cowboy poetry community from its earliest days.He is the author of Blood Trails, with Bill Jones. His work is in many anthologies, including New Cowboy Poetry: A Contemporary Gathering, Cooling Down, Buckaroo, Visions and Voices of the American Cowboy, Cattle, Horses, Sky, and Grass, Cowboy Poetry of the Late Twentieth Century, Between Earth and Sky: Poets of the Cowboy West, and Maverick Western Verse. Some of his most interesting work appears in Dry Crik Review, a periodical edited by John Dofflemyer.He wrote the 1995 Whole Cowboy Catalog with his wife, Wyoming State Representative Sue Wallis.
From Sue Wallis, via Facebook:
Beloved husband of Sue Wallis; treasured father of Porter, Cecile, Ian, and Justine McQueary, stepfather of Isaac Wallis, Megan Kruse, and Rys Martin; Boppa of Ezra, Cora, and Maddox Kruse; son of Eloise, and brother of Lyle and Neil McQueary; who has touched the lives of so many, many family, friends, compadres, and like-minded souls who appreciated his articulate wit…has followed his father Howard over that Last Great Divide. He was the epitome of kind.
A memorial service will be held at the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada at 2 pm on Wednesday, January 2nd. Instead of flowers, please send generous contributions to the Western Folklife Center for the support of the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the center of the art and the culture that Rod defined his life by, and the gathering place of his far flung friends. 501 Railroad Street, Elko, Nevada, 89801.
If you can make it to Elko on Wednesday, please come ready to share stories, songs, poems, and especially jokes. After a short service in the G Bar Three, we will have a potluck dinner in the Pioneer Saloon, please bring something to share. Rod’s daughter Ceci is putting together pictures and videos…if you have images of Rod that we can include please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or share them with her on Facebook.
Family and friends will gather again on the full moon of July in Ruby Valley to scatter his ashes over the mountains and ranches that he rode for the majority of his life.
Please feel free to forward, share, and post, call each other and hold each other close…he loved you all so much.
Read rancher and poet John Dofflemyer's poem to Rod McQueary, "Laughing at the Sun,"
Dry Crik Journal.
Find more about Rod McQueary and some of his poetry in our feature here.
[photo courtesy of Sue Wallis via Facebook]
Posted and updated 12/30
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