EDITOR’S DESK: Can you do the ‘Varsouvianna’?
News is a funny sort of business. Humbling too. Just when you think you're starting to become a know-it-some (many
leagues short of a know-it-all), new knowledge pops up to make you feel like a know-it-none.
Well, not quite that bad. Still, it never ceases to amaze me, despite being hip-deep in the information world, how many things I don't know. Take this past Saturday. Local square dance caller Ron Counts came by with an advertisement that simply read as follows:
"You can participate in a bit of Colorado History in February. All are invited to enjoy the dances of the early 1900s that Lloyd 'Pappy' Shaw, late superintendent of a local school district, recorded in his book, 'Cowboy Dances' (1939). The first dance of a monthly series will be: Saturday Feb. 5, 7-9:30 p.m."
Pappy who? The temptation at first was just to let it go. A square dance get-together couldn't possibly have a news angle, could it? But next thing I knew, I was asking Ron questions, and then he referred me to one person, who referred me to another person until before I knew it I was writing an article about this Renaissance gentleman who bent the Cheyenne Mountain School District to his uniquely benevolent will in the early-middle 1900s. (In case you're wondering why the Westside Pioneer is doing a Cheyenne story, the tie-in is that the Pappy dances will be at the Carriage Stop in the Midland neighborhood.)
But the long and short of all this is that Shaw's story was the most enjoyable article I wrote this issue. I've even learned how to spell "Varsouvianna" (no, I haven't; I had to look it up again .) I might as well accept it: Knowledge is a bottomless mine. And, especially in the news biz, the gems don't always look shiny at first.