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New memoir includes stories of Cortez in the 1970s

Author Steve Carothers' new book chronicles his humorous family stories living in the Southwest, including tales from Cortez in the 1970s.
Steve Carothers tells whimsical family-friendly stories of life in Southwest Colorado and beyond

A good storyteller sometimes needs to be reminded to write all that down.

That’s what the family of 1970s Cortez resident Steve Carothers told him. And the result is his debut novel “A Montage of Melodies from My Unfinished Symphony.”

“My sons said, you got some cool stories Dad. Put them on paper so they don’t get lost,” he said in a phone interview. “Quite a few of them are from your area.”

The book’s 26 stories chronicle his humorous, hometown experiences stretching from Colorado Springs to Cortez, Delta to Lake Powell and beyond.

Many of the stories are based in Southwest Colorado.

In Cortez, he met his wife Julie Kimble while drag racing down Main Street, and their first date was playing Frisbee at Veterans Park.

The couple had two sons, delivered by local doctors Dr. Pyle and Dr. Heyl, both documented in the book.

He managed the Molly Gibson restaurant next door to the Sands Motel on Main Street, one of the nicest eateries in town.

“The restaurant and bar overlooked the indoor pool,” Carothers recalled.

One of his stories, “The Sundance,” was first published on the menu for customers to read while they waited for their meal.

In another story, “A Journey Back in Time,” Carothers takes the reader to Rainbow Bridge on Lake Powell with guide Harvey Leake the great-great-grandson of John Wetherill, an early explorer of Mesa Verde.

Using photos, the trip recreates the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt and Western writer author Zane Grey of Mancos.

Readers also will relate to entertaining fishing and hunting stories, silly family mishaps, and the misadventures of picking up the wrong hitchhiker in Delta near a prison.

In Page, Arizona, Carothers settled into a job renting out houseboats on Lake Powell, often to celebrities. He tells his brushes with fame, meeting Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Barbara Streisand, Mike Shanahan and Martina Navratilova, who traveled with her beloved toy fox terrier KD, aka Killer Dog.

Author Steve Carothers' new book includes stories of 1970s Cortez.

Spinning tales is a family tradition, Carothers said of his book, which he said took two years to write.

“My dad told a lot of funny stories too, and I always regretted not recording them or writing them down,” Carothers said. “My boys, Cody and Brady, love to listen to my zany stories, so they encouraged me to write them down as a legacy to my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.”

From what could be a Guinness record-setting prank in “The Wedgie” to the mystery of “The Giant Slushy,” these hilarious stories are set in the American Southwest and have a familiar feel locals will appreciate. Carothers writes in a style of rural Americana, likely triggering your favorite memories of growing up on the rivers, mountains and deserts of the Four Corners.

“This is just one collection of stories I felt had nice meaning. It’s a metaphor for my life, but as the title suggests, the best is yet to come,” said Carothers, 67.

“Montage of Melodies from My Unfinished Symphony” is published by Covenant books, a Christian-owned and -operated publishing house that specializes in all genres of work which appeal to the Christian market.

The book is available in book stores everywhere, or online at the Apple iTunes store, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.