If you’ve never written a weekly column you have no idea how tough it can be.I’m not talking picking-cotton tough, or rocket-science tough. But it can be difficult sitting down once a week (or in Stewart Oksenhorn’s case, four times a day) with a blank slate and just a vague idea of how to fill it.Then there is the nagging feeling, shared universally by columnists, that no one cares what they fill the slate with. Or worse, much worse, that no one actually reads the slate. The slate, by the way, is metaphorical, as all (well just about all) columnists toil these days on a computer keyboard with spellcheck and a built-in thesaurus. I said it wasn’t that tough.But for the last five years, this columnist has been lucky enough to know that he has at least one faithful reader. One person who, week in, week out, wades word by word through High Points no matter how poetic the prose, or how garrulous the grammar.And what a reader I have. He is a bear of a man from Minnesota who made Aspen his home long ago. He has a dome of blond hair with a beard to match. While I’d say his passions are split among the Avs and the Broncos, it would be more accurate to say that the Denver sports teams are an intense source of interest, for his real passion comes in creating music.My reader is a founding member of the Flying Dog Bluegrass Band and the Crowlin Ferlies, and has been picking his banjo and squeezing his Irish button accordion at gigs in this valley for years. I don’t know him well, but I do know him well enough to know that the time when he is making music is the time he is most at home.They say my reader has a temper, but I have yet to see it. He is a quiet man who is extremely efficient, direct and fair. In short, my reader is the kind of guy who I am proud to say reads my work.Of course, he has to. You see, my reader is my editor. It is his job to go over my column, make sure I haven’t libeled anyone, written obscenities, or otherwise tarnished the good name of The Aspen Times. He also corrects my spelling, punctuation and syntax, and occasionally clarifies for readers what I really meant to say. I can’t express how much I appreciate my reader’s efforts. So much so that I won’t embarrass him by using his name in this column. After all, how would you like to be the guy who is Paul E. Anna’s reader?Rather, I just want to say thanks, thanks for being my reader.(Editor’s note: Thanks, Paulyboy. It’s been a real pressure … I mean pleasure.)
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