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William J. Dagendesh

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Some of you might remember CBS newsman Charles Kuralt who years ago traveled the back roads of rural America to uncover extraordinary stories involving ordinary folks.

Titled “On The Road,” the program focused on people and their unusual hobbies, interests and lifestyles. The veteran correspondent ensured everything, be it the world’s biggest ball of string or saw-playing musician, got some press. Kuralt even visited three men who risked their lives for $11 a day to help build the Golden Gate Bridge.

The program became a highly-viewed news staple for people who thrilled in learning the exploits of everyday John and Jane Doe. It received two Peabody Awards that honor the most powerful, enlightening and invigorating TV, radio and online media stories.

Recalling similar stories I had read over the years, I asked myself, “Why can’t Pikes Peak Newspapers offer readers a similar format?”

I remember stories about a gentleman who covered the ceilings of his home with pencils, and a guy who owned 20 gray, pinstriped suits. Another story focused on a woman who wrapped newspapers around her furniture and electrical appliances to give the appearance of a newspaper-built home. And I thought newsprint was used only for wrapping fish or swatting your dog.

Other stories included a man who boasted 70 blank-paged scrapbooks, and a middle-aged grandmother who each morning provided her neighborhood with a free cup of coffee and a song. One woman collected empty plastic prescription medicine containers. When asked why, she replied, “Because no one else does.” Good point, there.

One gentleman rented two storage lockers containing scores of Star Trek and Star Wars memorabilia-filled boxes and containers. The irony of this story is that the lockers were located a stone’s throw from my home and not in a galaxy far, far away.

I myself wrote a piece about a gentleman who played the trumpet ... without the trumpet. His performance and sound reproduction were so spot on that he was hired to perform in local nightclubs. A pretty cool and profitable hobby, yes?

I personally know a couple whose home reflects a variety of themes. For example, they stocked their orange-colored living room with Japanese books, furniture and knickknacks to reflect their three years in Japan. A sea green-painted bathroom holds beach scene paintings and lighthouse figurines, while their turquoise-colored Christmas/Winter room reflects … well, you get the idea.

As members of the fourth estate, we have an obligation to report even the most unusual news happenings, and this is where you, the reader, can make a difference. So, don’t be afraid to approach me as your idea might make an interesting news story. Indeed, everyone has a story to tell and we want to know yours. Perhaps you could come up with a title for this feature.

Please email your name, story idea(s) and contact information to me at lifehappens@pikespeaknewspapers.com. I will visit your home, office or wherever the story takes me. I assure you I don’t bite, am quite friendly and am housebroken. All it costs is about an hour of your time. I look forward to sharing your story to readers, so let me hear from you soon.

William J. Dagendesh is an author, writer and retired U.S. Navy photojournalist and editor. He has lived in southern Colorado 20 years. Contact William with comments or ideas for his column at lifehappens@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

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