Welcome back to Uncle Tom’s Corner.

At my last writing I told you that I had been notified of four (or eight) serious allegations against me and how I had notified the Thornton Police of my whereabouts, so they wouldn’t have to conduct a massive manhunt to find me…thus saving the taxpayers gobs of hard-earned tax dollars. I’ve scoured my conscience to, hopefully, uncover what those serious allegations might be. Political, sexual, ethnic or religious jokes are off the table. Speaking ill of my fellow commuters…maybe. Being over-zealous in supporting my beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers-not recently. Refilling my soft drink cup at a fast food restaurant-probably. Exceeding the posted speed limit-absolutely. None of these, however, strike me as being sufficiently egregious as to require incarceration. I’ll keep you posted…or maybe my absence will speak louder than words (written or otherwise).

I’m happy to report (as are my dietitian and cardiologist) that BBQ season is winding down. Maybe four more to go until Stock Show. I’ve been telling you about the intoxicating aromas that go with these contests and we have a local one coming up if you’re interested. Leah Krumpholz, Marketing Director of Special Events for City of Westminster was kind enough to send over the following official announcement. This event is going to be held on the grounds of the former Westminster Mall at 92nd and Sheridan.

Halloween Harvest Festival

Oct. 20           noon to 8 p.m.                 Downtown Westminster
Mark your calendars for Westminster’s new and improved Halloween Harvest Festival! This family-friendly event is bigger and better than ever this year, as it will now be combined with another one of Westminster’s signature events—the annual Westy Fest that is usually held each August. Bring the whole family to kick off the fall season with free carnival games, trick-or-treating, a hot-air balloon glow*, live musical performances by local bands (Gasoline Lollipops & Rapid Grass), a beer garden, food trucks, arts and crafts, jumping castles, local vendors, a bonfire and a barbeque competition. You can even pick out the perfect pumpkin at the pumpkin patch! *Please note that balloons are weather dependent. Sponsored by RE/MAX Alliance, Milender White, NMAA/SCFD, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Sherman Associates.

Another benefit of attending these contests is exposure to bands one might not otherwise encounter. Last year I learned of a group…David Wilkie & Cowboy Celtic…that really does a great job with bluegrass. The other one was The Long Run…an Eagles cover band from the Ft. Collins/Lyons area. A bit of trivia: unbeknownst to me…the One True Source of all things Nebraska…Randy Meissner, former lead singer of the Eagles, is from Scottsbluff, NE. That puts him right up there with Willa Cather, Warren Buffet, Johnny Carson and Larry, the Cable Guy. If they ever come up with a Nebraska version of Mt. Rushmore, there he’ll be.

Back to the topic of new (to me) groups. This year I learned of another bluegrass group…Jim Ratts and Runaway Express. They are a local group and have performed, among other places, on America’s Soul at the Olde Town Pickin’ Parlor with Jon Chandler. They made a record (CD) entitled Small Towns due out this month. If you like bluegrass there’s some pretty good music on there.

And finally, this past weekend I went to Grand Junction for the Pork ‘N Hops Barbecue Challenge. All the years I spent travelling the Western Slope selling vet supplies I never once went downtown in Grand Junction. Methinks I may have spent a bit too much time doing unimportant things and overlooked the opportunity to smell the roses…or the sage. The drive over and back was spectacular as usual although I was kinda surprised that the aspens were in full color in a number of places. Seems kinda early but maybe not. The bands were rock bands…not quite as mellow as bluegrass…but quite good nonetheless.

As I said before, it’s about the people. It’s always about the people. In Grand Junction I shared the judging table with a retired engineer from Longmont…Charles. Charles is married to a woman my age who is originally from Julesburg…a small town a mere 13 miles from my home town in Nebraska (maybe that has something to do with my appreciation for the CD “Small Towns”). I’ve known Charles and his wife pretty much since I got in the judging gig and pretty much considered Charles to be one of the most cynical, sarcastic, unfriendly people I’d ever run across. As it turns out that’s Charles’ sense of humor. His is so dry he makes Steven Wright come across as madcap. I’ll never be able to view Charles in the same light again.

On the way back, I visited Palisade and found a store that sells all kinds of oils, locally produce honey, etc. I got some jalapeno-infused olive oil that I think has spices and grilled chicken breast written all over it. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Until then, see you at The Corner.