American Place Guest Writers

From the Journals of Judy Sutherlin

1979 – Tues. July 17 – Awake at 6:55 AM – We took sponge baths & had breakfast cereal – Stephen fell out of bed last night or was sleep walking.—He doesn’t remember – Broke the chain on vent so had to repair it — Jim didn’t smash himself this morn. He says it feels better — boys played ball away by 9:50 — Red Rock area pretty — then Gallup – gas – 10.5mpg – Bah! Straight up to Ship Rock – Lunch at Table Mesa rest stop — getting warm now. (Missing the trailer toilet facilities) – at Ship Rock finally had potty stop & got ice – 15.5 mpg – better! No air conditioning made the difference. So drove from Cortez on into Canyonlands before Moab before  turning the air on – Dad took nap while mom drove — hilly — bad roads into Utah – Pretty tho – Monticello pretty town with nice park – didn’t stop tho til Wilson’s Arch – 3:50 got our candy bars – Mom tired! Dad took over – boy did air cond. feel good. Moab was unique looking – nestled in amongst the Canyons & the Colorado River running by. Got to Arches in good time – about 5:30 – 18 mi. back in – we were so proud we got there & set up. Realized Randy had locked trailer door – No key – Mom went looking for boys who were climbing & got stuck in a pit – all were sick about trailer. Everyone tried to pick lock – Had given up & decided to stay w/o the door in – when Stephen Miraculously announced he opened it. Couldn’t believe it. Wind really picked up – but cooled things down – Mom fixed grilled sirloin steak – mashed Pot., salad – Dad took boys on MC Ride before dinner & after dinner Mom got a ride to watch the sunset while  boys did the dishes – 1st time – Mom was surprised to learn there are many Arches – not just one. Beau is sure being a good dog this trip – Not always on chain & staying close in. He’s doing better than the boys who run off every chance – They do love Canyons – All went to Ranger talk – Delicate Arch is really Landscape Arch & Visa Versa – Many comical errors in the formation of park – Became Nat’l Monument 1929 – Nat’l Park 1971. To bed by 10:00 – we’re all exhausted!

A Horse Named “Unlucky”

Guest Writers

“Christmas Tears” by Jim Sutherlin

This cannot be understood unless the degree

of sibling rivalry between Louise and Jimmy

is also understood.

But that is another item discussed elsewhere.

Christmas morning.

Presents opened.

Floor littered.

Santa had arrived and just the right presents were

now being enjoyed.

Louise had a perfectly pretty doll she adored.

Jimmy had a six-shooter pistol with holster and belt.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Running through the house shooting everything in sight.

Cap smoke and smell filled the air.

“Jimmy! Get on your coat and take that outside,”

Mom yelled from the kitchen.

“Get out of here,” Louise echoed from the living room.

That sounded like a good idea to Jimmy.

Outside meant more targets imagined or real.

After Christmas dinner and because of the early awakening,

Jimmy fell asleep.

But no sooner had his eyes popped open again

than he was up looking for his pistol, holster and belt.

Search as his might they were nowhere in sight.


He must have left them outside.

The search continued and they were outside for sure.

Belt and holster were tossed aside.

The pistol was smashed to smithereens

between two bricks!

Weeping and wailing, he ran to the house and

told Dad what had happened.

Louise went into hiding in the darkest corner

she could find.

But Dad found her.

And with her doll in hand and her hand

reluctantly in Dad’s hand the scene of the crime was revisited.

Justice would be done.

The pretty doll was then laid on one brick

and Louise was made to bash it to pieces with the other one.

Pieces of broken pistol littered the ground

joined by pieces of broken doll.

Tears kept on streaming to the ground from Jimmy’s cheeks

soon to be mixed with even more tears

as Louise joined the chorus of weeping and wailing.

The two kids were too young to think

of anything or anyone else.

But if someone else had been there to notice,

the bitterest Christmas tears that day

were in Dad’s eyes.