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Ironclad performance

Director Mike Brumbaugh says a "steel magnolia" is "something all proper Southern women aspire to be - strong and persevering on the inside, with good accessories and beautiful big hair on the outside."

The play "Steel Magnolias," which took place last weekend at Steamboat Mountain Theater, was well-performed, well set and gave our little mountain town insight into another little town in the deep South in the 1980s. All the women in the play impressively pulled off a Southern accent and some Southern flair.

These women (Chrissie Hodges, Eileen Jones, Leslee Gooch, Lynda Allen, Michelle Hess, Patty Zimmer and D.J. Ron Thom) rehearsed a ridiculous amount of time during the past few months, and that dedication paid off.

As Brumbaugh pointed out, there are at least 30 local styling establishments in Steamboat Springs. Women go there not only for beauty modification, but also for a sanctuary, a sounding board and a place that is safe to talk openly.

The play's dialogue centered around the universal themes of friendship in the face of adversity, love, relationships and living in a small town.

The audience learned "that under our skins and coiffed hair, we are all basically wanting the same things," Brumbaugh said.

So, the next time I go to get my hair done, I hope I can feel even a smidgen of the amity I witnessed on stage. I just better not get one of those '80s dos!

- Allison Plean

Brave enough to float away

For some, Saturday's balloon rodeo at Bald Eagle Lake elicited a sense of wonder. For me, the event rekindled a sense of terror.

When I was 4 years old, my grandfather allowed a hot air balloon pilot to use one of his meadows to sell rides. I was offered a ride, and I was terrified.

Grandpa Fanelly picked me up and tried to put me in the basket. Like a cat avoiding a bath, I gripped onto the side of the basket with a kung fu grip. I never made it up in the balloon.

As I sat on the ski jump Saturday morning, I saw hundreds of young kids pointing to the sky and screeching with joy as the dozens of balloons lifted off and floated away. Many were the same age as me when I turned down my chance to float in the clouds.

I wish one of them could have taken my spot 23 years ago. I was content to watch the balloons float away, but it gave me pleasure to know that some of those kids were adventurous enough to float away with them.

- Mike McCollum

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