Defending a friend, decrying what stinks, all part of column writing

When I accepted The Daily Sentinel’s offer to write a column each Friday, I knew my first column needed to be exemplary — intelligent, incisive, fun.

You’ll be glad to know that I changed my mind and wrote this column instead.

I’m excited about the opportunity, especially with the Sentinel. It’s the paper I grew up reading — first sports, then the opinion page, then the rest of the paper.

Indeed, with the exception of a short stint when I engaged in a one-man boycott of the Sentinel after iconic former publisher George Orbanek dropped his proverbial barrel of ink on my proverbial forehead in the midst of a heated political campaign, scarcely a day has gone by when I didn’t read the Sentinel first.

It’s especially a treat because I join some other really fine columnists. Jim Spehar is a friend who raised his family right across the street from the casa of my rearing. Rick Wagner, whose War on Wrong is deliciously irritating to the liberal complainers in our midst, has been a political sounding board for many years. Bill Grant is very smart and shrewd, even though it’s sometimes tough to tell in his weekly recitation of Pelosi talking points.

Not to forget the most important Sentinel columnist of all time, my man, Dick Maynard, who, like Brett Favre minus the text messages, retired and un-retired from his columnist seat a time or two.  Dick was wicked funny. I guess he still is. Dick has a way of cutting through the trash and noise in life with insight and humor and sarcasm that never offends.

And that’s important. Fun is good.

Because there’s enough bad going on in the world right now.

The economy stinks. I was reminded of that when I sold my house recently. With all the cash I handed over to the bank at closing, I could’ve saved enough for my son’s future schooling at Colorado’s flagship institution of higher education, Mesa State College.

The Broncos stink. Anyone else wish Josh McDaniels had traded that ridiculous sweatshirt to Cleveland instead of the human wrecking ball, Peyton Hillis?

The Obama administration stinks big time. There will be more than a lot on this topic in this column in coming months, but suffice it to say the president earned every ounce of the shellacking he received from America last month.

And speaking of floggings, my pal Craig Meis has been getting one of those in this paper over the last couple weeks.

Whatever you think of Craig’s personal tea party, elective jury trial and two-week political media circus, most folks respect and like Craig Meis precisely because he is who he says is.

Craig drives a big truck with a white-trash lift kit. He is well-known for his excessive bluntness at public hearings. He wears mesh shorts and cheap tennis shoes to campaign events. And someone is surprised that the Creedence Clearwater Revival booms a little loud during his backyard BBQs?

Say what you want, but Craig Meis is “as-advertised.” He is a limited-government libertarian who doesn’t give two rips about political correctness or the nattering nabobs of negativism.

Craig is gruff, but he’s more principled, He’s rough around the edges, but he’s smarter than all of his detractors combined, times Pi.

And Craig and his wife, Carrie, do more for real people than most know. They are foster parents, adoptive parents and biological parents. They are the first to open their homes or wallet to a neighbor in need.

Imagine if the Regular Ol’ Dude down the street, with the beer cans in his garage, was in charge of a government. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Craig Meis. Mesa County is fortunate to have his service.

And I’m fortunate to have the chance to pen my thoughts next Friday and the one after that. I’m not presumptuous enough to think too many people will care, but I’ll give it my best each time for the readers in Grand Junction, Colorado, USA, and surrounding areas.

Josh Penry is a West Slope native, the former state Senate Republican Leader, and a West Middle School graduate.


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