The LoCo Experience

EXPERIENCE 98 | Annie & Mike Griffith on Travel, Law, Rotary Club, and Twenty-year 3rd Marriages!

January 16, 2023 Alma Ferrer Season 3
The LoCo Experience
EXPERIENCE 98 | Annie & Mike Griffith on Travel, Law, Rotary Club, and Twenty-year 3rd Marriages!
Show Notes Transcript

Annie and Mike Griffith are fellow members of the Rotary Club of Fort Collins Breakfast - or, more commonly known - Breakfast Rotary.  We meet at 6:45 am at Ginger & Baker in Fort Collins, every Thursday morning - come and check it out sometime!

Annie grew up in the travel industry, with her grandfather delivering sightseeing tours and her dad developing a healthy freight and people-moving bus service along the Front Range, later moving into airline travel and hotel bookings.  After college at CSU, Annie operated Aggie Travel in Fort Collins - much of the time as a single mom.  She has a wonderful and adventurous spirit!  She later sold Aggie Travel to Frosch, where she still works today as an Independent Contractor.  

Mike had a long career in the practice of law, having moved to Fort Collins to partner with a college classmate almost right after law school - the firm developed into a long-running and successful practice.  Mike’s specialty was courtroom litigation, particularly on the defense side in criminal law.  He also served as Adjunct Faculty for both CSU and Front Range Community College in the College of Business.  

Mike and Annie are each on their third marriages, and both suffered significant trauma on the way to finding durable love.  Beyond the business journeys, we dig into their journey of finding trust and love in this episode, as well as their shared love of Rotary.  It’s a charming episode with two of my favorite people, and I hope you find them as fun and charming as I do.  

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Music By: A Brother's Fountain

Andy and Mike Griffith are fellow members of the Rotary Club of Fort Collins Breakfast, or more commonly known Breakfast Rotary in Fort Collins. We meet at 6:45 AM at Ginger and Baker in Fort Collins every Thursday morning. Come and check it out sometime. So Annie grew up in the travel industry with her grandfather delivering sightseeing tours and her dad developing a healthy freight and people moving bus service along the front range later, moving into airline travel and hotel bookings after college at csu. Annie operated the Aggie Travel Agency in Fort Collins much of the time as a single mom. She's been to many dozens of countries, is an amazing skier, and has a wonderful and adventurous spirit. She later sold Aggie Travel Toro, where she still works today as an independent contractor. Mike had a long career in the practice of law, having moved to Fort Collins to partner with a college classmate almost right after law school. The firm developed into a long running and successful practice. Mike's specialty was courtroom litigation, particularly on the defense side in criminal. He also served as an adjunct faculty for both CSU and Front Range Community. In the College of Business, Mike and Annie are each on their third marriages, and both suffered significant trauma on the way to finding durable love. Mike's first wife was killed in a tragic car crash that left him hospitalized for months, and his second marriage was to what they call a black widow and Annie's second husband of children beyond the business journeys. We dig into their journey of finding trust and hope and love in this episode, as well as their shared love of Rotary. It's a charming episode with two of my favorite people, and I hope that you find them as fun and charming as I do. So please enjoy Mike and Annie Griffith.

curt:

Welcome back to the Local Experience Podcast. I'm honored today to be joined by Annie and Mike Griffith. And Mike is a retired attorney as well as adjunct fan faculty with CSU and Front Range Community College. And Annie is retired or independent contractor now with Frosh Travel, but previously with Aggie Travel here in Fort Collins, which is a longtime family travel agency. So, um, Annie, you're, one of the reasons I was drawn to have you guys on is just. Your extensive travel experience, um, how many countries have you been to?

annie:

Well, I've been, I've been rethinking. I would, I think I was exaggerating a bit when I said a hundred, but I think it's probably close to over 60 or 70. So I'm very well traveled. I've traveled my whole life. Um, my dad was in the travel business, so I grew up taking groups and tours and, um, have evolved where we've been taking groups and tours for the past 23 years. Remain to this day selling travel. Yeah.

curt:

I, I think it's amazing that you could come from a family background of the travel business and just find the calling for yourself, uh, within that.

annie:

Um, and you know, when I think about it, I'm actually a three generation of travel. Oh. My grandfather was in, um, the rails and then he had bus, a bus company, which my dad did. Did as well. Hmm. And then my dad had a bus company in Boulder and ran, had the buses go between Fort Collins, Boulder and Fort Collins, actually up to Laramie in open travel agencies. Oh, wow. And so we've had travel agencies in Boulder, Denver, Greeley, and Fort

curt:

Collins. Oh, wow. I had no idea. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, I want to hear all about kind of your travel journey, but, um, Mike, uh, before we do that, what kind of law did you practice and, and why The draw into teaching.

mike:

You know, I practiced mostly if I'd say probably 80% of my practice was in the courtroom. Okay. Wow. I just enjoyed

curt:

So you were like a litigator

mike:

almost. Yeah, litigator. I enjoyed, you know, the judges, I enjoyed the district attorneys. Um, I did a lot of, Uh, criminal work. I did a lot of DUI work. Mm-hmm. I did a lot of civil litigation work, contract litigation, real estate litigation. Interesting.

curt:

Were you defense

mike:

side mostly then? I was a defense attorney. Okay. Yeah. On the criminal side and the DUI side. Yeah. Uh, but I got along really well with the das and so it wasn't hard to, you know, form some kind of a bond with them and with the judges. And as a matter of fact, even though the judges now many of them are retired, I still see 'em on a regular basis and, and it's fun just to chat with them on the side. Yeah. Yeah. But you know, from that I got into, Business because through my real estate practice and real estate litigation, I knew a lot about numbers and, and business operations and partnerships. Oh. And corporations. Okay. And so I had an opportunity to go to the business department of csu. Hmm. And teach, um, a business course, which basically was a course, a general review of all the different types of law Okay. For the C P A seniors that were getting ready to take the c p A exam. Oh. And so I had to brush them up on all the different areas of law. Um, and I, I was doing that while I had a full-time practice and it just was too much to, to keep up with. So I, I retired from that, kept my practice going when I could see retirement on Horizon for my law practice, I decided I'd really enjoy the teaching. I wanted to get back to it. So I went, uh, CSU had no openings, uh, front Range Community College actually had an opening in the business department, ironically, teaching almost the same course I taught at csu. Well, that was easy. Yeah. So it was really easy to make the transition and, uh, you know, teach over there for a while,

curt:

I think. if I remem Are you guys second marriage for you guys? When did you, how long have you been together? Because you've been together as long as I've known you. Maybe much longer even, I don't know,

annie:

going on 20, 23 years. Married 20.

curt:

Oh, cool. Yeah. Jill and I are gonna be 20 years in May. Yeah. Yeah. Congrats. So Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Same.

annie:

We've had a, we've had a few bumps, but here we are. Yeah. I'm happiest. Happiest clams.

curt:

Awesome. Well, um, this is, Kind of a split braid coming into one kind of a conversation. So I'm gonna kind of bounce back and forth a little bit, but I wanna maybe start with you, Annie, if you don't mind, and jump into the travel industry. You're already kind of introduced, um, that background. Were you, you were local here, your family was

annie:

in Boulder? Yeah, my family. Yeah. Born and raised in Boulder. Um, my dad had Denver Boulder bus company. Mm-hmm. And then he had a travel agency at the, um, where we was selling the bus tickets and then the travel agency grew. He had,

curt:

so the bus agency was there, bus company was there first,

annie:

right. Went between Boulder and Denver. He had the bus

curt:

company. Yeah. And he was like, as long as I know how to find and sell tickets and do logistics and planning and find hotels and whatever, Let's add

annie:

some services. And then my grandfather had, um, gray line, sight scene went, went, went from from Denver to Estess to, um, grand Lake and did these circle trips. So he was in transportation. So, um, it just evolved that my grandfather, my dad, and then myself and my brothers, um, have all been in the industry.

curt:

Mm-hmm. And, uh, Two brothers more, more than,

annie:

well, I have two brothers in an industry. My sister's in Fort Collins as well, but she's not in the traveling industry right now. I see,

curt:

I see. Yeah. And so talk to me about like young Annie, you're you're, are you the younger of the or split him on the

brothers?

annie:

Oh, no, I'm the oldest. You're the oldest, okay. Yeah, but I'm not the bosses

curt:

the oldest. Oh, well that doesn't surprise me too much. You're like the nicest person I know. No, Mike's like, alright, so, but tell me about, like, what was your personality or, uh, like I, I imagine, was it your family kind of well, to do with all these businesses or was it pretty scrappy entrepreneurial times and, and whatever?

annie:

Um, I'd say entrepreneurial. My dad was a really big thinker. Yeah. Um, he liked computers when computers, because when I started in the industry, you had to hand write airline tickets. You hand wrote bus tickets. Um, you had great big tariffs that you had to go into the tariffs and look at all the fairs, so, right. That's, I've been into this industry seeing all these different changes. Every evolution. Yeah. So, um, we were on the more entrepreneurial side, um, but hardworking. Yeah. Um, nobody got away. We all worked. I think I was selling bus tickets at probably, um, 13, 14 years old.

curt:

Yeah. And what was your school experience? Were you also involved with other things? Uh, um, activities, athletics?

annie:

Yeah. I've alwa I've skied my whole life. I used to ac actually be a ski instructor. Oh yeah. And, um, climbed mountains, hiking Colorado, swam dove. Um, just an active Colorado lifestyle. I think we

curt:

went skiing at snowy rains. Oh, we did go ski. And your form makes me look like a bumbling buffoon out there. You look so good.

annie:

I'm a old school skier is what I am.

mike:

Poetry in motion.

curt:

Right. No old school skier. My friend Andrea Grant, uh, is a water skier, Uhhuh And she does the same. It's just like, Everything's perfectly parallel. Like all the things happen just where they're supposed to. Wow. It's old school. I make it down the mountain. Yeah,

annie:

you do. You make it down the mountain fast.

curt:

and Mike, uh, let's contrast, uh, where did you come from? Where did your family grow up

mike:

and where? I grew up back east. Okay. Um, Pennsylvania basically is where I went through elementary through. last year of high school. Okay. Pennsylvania and Ohio. And what part of Pennsylvania? Um, the Wilkinsburg area. Pittsburgh.

curt:

Okay. Um, Monroeville, so not like the heart of the Super East. It's kind of like, uh, more the, the western, the edge of the rust belt. Yeah.

mike:

The western part of Pennsylvania. Yeah. But, um, went to school, um, after high school at a very small college in Ohio, the College of Worcester. Okay. I've heard of that for a couple of years. And when I realized that my biochemistry career was up in smoke because I couldn't get along with chemistry, uh, I transferred to Ohio State and finished with zoology major. Oh.

curt:

Um, as all good attorneys should start their Well, that's true education. A

mike:

good, a good logical thinking process. Yeah. Uh, and then went, uh, straight to law school out of, uh, Ohio State, at Ohio State. Uh, did that for a year and a half and then Uncle Sam decided that it was time for me to serve. Yeah. Uh, at, during the Vietnam conflict. Okay. Um, and

curt:

when is this? What, let's bounce back a tiny bit cause I don't want to miss too much of you. What was your family dynamic? You have, uh, brothers, sisters, what was your like family up to? I had one

mike:

older sister. Okay. Still have one older sister. She lives in, uh, um, Rocky Mountain, North Carolina. Okay. But there were the two of us and we were very close as kids. Um, we teased each other all the time. Perfect. Grew up together. Mom and dad. My dad was a, a physicist for Westinghouse. Interesting. Nuclear physicist. Oh, he has his PhD, three mile Allen stuff back then. Yeah. Not quite. He was working on fusion for Westinghouse.

curt:

Oh, interesting. Um, I didn't get very far. Yeah. My sorry. Still has him 50 years

mike:

later. You know, my mom was a stay-at-home mom took care of the kids and dad and, um, but. Yeah. So kind of a traditional Yeah, traditional family, background, family. Um, you know, we didn't do anything unusual. Um, my sister was looking for colleges and she ended up at a small college in Ohio. Yeah. Um, my dad was, not happy with the pressure of Westinghouse and working on fusion. And when he nosed around the physics department of the small college that my sister ended up at, oh, the president of the school called him up the

curt:

next day we could actually use somebody like you. He said,

mike:

you know what? Did you ever think about leaving industry And he, he did. So he was Oh, that's cool. Hired on as

curt:

the, so your sister moves over to this college and then the whole family kind of gets dragged

mike:

with her? Yeah. So we got moved my senior year of high school. Oh, okay. I moved from a senior class of 500 to a senior class of 85. Wow. Um, which was quite a change, but, you know, it was fun. Um, we had a good time there. As I say, I went to the small school of Worcester, which was like 60 miles away from where we lived. Yeah. And then ended up at Ohio State.

curt:

And what was the attraction toward law and, and what, like how do you go from zoology to law?

mike:

I was always interested in law and history, and I took a, a summer school class from a, an attorney. It was a history class, and I ended up spending more time talking to him about the law than I did about history. Hmm. Um, and so when I could see my biochemistry career going up in flames, I decided that, um, law school was where I wanted to be. Very cool.

curt:

Um, Annie, what was your path like into the working world?

annie:

Um, my path was a little bit different. Um, I went to csu, I, I love Colorado. Um, and I was a native of Boulder and I didn't wanna stay in Boulder. Right. So came to csu. It

curt:

wasn't, you didn't go to state cuz you couldn't get into college. You just

annie:

Yeah, I just, yeah. I still loved, I loved Colorado. I thought about going outta state, but I ended up staying in Colorado and, um, I went up from a lot of different degrees. I thought I wanted business, I wanted economics. And then I did this strange thing. I went to French and, um, a teaching teacher. I wanted to be a French teacher. Oh. And I spent a junior year in, in France in Gr Noble. Okay. And, and loved that experience. Came home and, um, got married and went into the travel industry. Okay. So that was, we were in Fort Collins and, um, had Aggie Travel and I started working at Aggie Travel.

curt:

Yeah. So, and it was like, okay, here I am. Yeah. Here I am. Im part of the family. But yeah, I'm the Fort Collins branch of the family business and Exactly, yes. And what was the business? Like at that time was, did you have like travel agents and stuff? An office?

annie:

Uh, yeah, it was the office that's uh, the same on three seven South College. Tap and handle was the tap and handle That was the, it was actually a bus depot there. So it was a bus steam, oh. Slash travel agency. And another part of the big bus part was the freight. A lot of freight. Oh wow. Instead of on trucks, they did a lot of on buses between like Fort Collins and Denver, is that

curt:

right? Yeah. So there was like extra space in the buses or They actually had parts of the bus

annie:

that were under, underneath the bus. Where the baggage changed is because it was going up and down

curt:

between Fort Collins. Right. Cuz nobody's got a bunch of big baggage. A lot of times it's just commuters. So there's always space, huh? Yeah.

annie:

So anyways, so yeah. So that's where learn

curt:

something new today already. Yeah. It's only five o'clock. Yeah.

annie:

50 years ago it was a, there was a big freight department and, and the travel agency.

curt:

So isn't that an interesting. I guess observation on how business changes over time. Just in thinking about your family heritage, you know, you've got the sightseeing tours and, and the freight and the Right, yeah. Bus rides and then hey, we can sell tickets and travel and groups and, yeah. So talk to me about what Aggie travel looked like when you joined the business and, and like what the dynamics were. Finding customers serving them. Was it computer age already by that

annie:

time? Nope. It was still, it was still a phone. You had great big, huge books of tariffs. You'd call the airlines, you'd book a reservation, you'd hand write an airline ticket, you'd validate the ticket. You had all these different validation. Did you have

curt:

somebody's money? Did they make a deposit or something up front?

annie:

Yeah. Then they'd give you your cash. Okay. And then you'd go to the bank and deposit your, the cash. So it was a totally different, there were, you know, there weren't very many credit cards at all. Right. And the majority of initially were the bus tickets and the freight, and then you did the, the airline tickets. And slowly that emerged into the tours. But yeah, it was a point, more point to point. And at that point you got commission on every single airline ticket where Wow. Is now, then that is what evolved with time, where

curt:

that was the main financial driver of the business was you got. 20% or 12% or

annie:

whatever, like 10% on every single airline ticket. If you sold a ticket for a hundred bucks, you got 10 bucks on that ticket. Oh, interesting. So, um, but the airlines got wise to that. They couldn't make money. Right. And so that's where they went to. Well, and online

curt:

bookings and stuff eventually came, capitalize that as well. So, yeah. Yeah. Uh, we'll get into that journey a little bit more also, but Mike, I'm wanna learn about your getting into practice. Like Right. You kind of graduated with a law degree and then you're like now, oh no, you went to the military, you didn't graduate yet. That's right. I jumped off the train at the wrong spot and went, went to the military for, in Vietnam. Oh yeah. And I started asking, so what part of Vietnam was this like, Early. Was this late? Was it like you were going in a meat grinder or what was the It

mike:

was the buildup period. 67, 68. Okay. Um, so

curt:

they, and you were in college, you could have gotten a deferment, could

mike:

you not? Well, I was in grad school. I was in law school. Okay. And yes, at that point when I started law school, there was a graduate deferment. But because of the need for people of the vil, you felt called to go to Vietnam. Uh, general Westmoreland eliminated all the graduate deferments except for medical sciences and medical allied sciences. Oh, interesting. So I lost my deferment during my first year. Wow. And, uh, was immediately drafted because I came from a pretty rural draft board and they were looking for everybody. Yeah. So I, uh, put that off until I finished one semester my second year. Okay. Went in in January. Um, and

curt:

what was your heart like at that time? Like, were you disappointed? Were you excited? Were you nervous?

mike:

I was very nervous. I mean, pretty much everybody was going to Vietnam. Yeah. Um, in one form or another. I was very nervous. I had, as a matter of fact, I had a lot of my friends, uh, from high school as well as from law school who left the country, went to Canada or whatever, went to Canada, um, rather than take the chance. Yeah. Um, I tried to get into reserve units, but they were rapidly filling up. Right. So, um, I went in as a draftee. Yeah. Took my chances. Uh, fortunately during basic training, I had a little spec four come around, which is pretty, tell what that means. Well, specialist fourth class is pretty small. Okay. You're not higher up. Yeah. And he came around and asked for any science or engineering graduates. And so I put my hand up, which I shouldn't have done, but I did. I put my hand up and he took me into a room. He said, fill out this paperwork and you'll, you'll like your assignment. So I filled out the paperwork. Um, Seventh week of basic training, all the orders were coming in for everybody to go infantry, artillery, all that kind of stuff. Mm. My orders hadn't come in. Uh, finally my drill sergeant, who didn't like me because I was older than he was. Mm. And he had been to Vietnam, took me to the company commander and the company commander said, do you know where you're going? I said, I have no idea. He said, you're going to West Point. Oh. And I ended up going to West Point to work in the hospital as a medical technologist because of my biology background. Wow. So I worked there for almost two years for my term of duty in the service. Came back and started and finished up law school. You were

curt:

holding your breath, I imagine. I was. I assume it was active conflict by then.

mike:

Yes. Oh yeah. Very active conflict and actually, When the hospital pathologist found out I knew nothing about working in a laboratory, he said his best friend was the captain in charge of the judge ACA general's core at West Point. So he took me up and I introduced me to that, um, person. My first question was, how frequently do you lose somebody to an overseas levy, which takes people from a stateside duty and takes 'em overseas, right at that point to Korea or Vietnam, And he said, I lose somebody, two or three people every month. So I asked the captain in the lab, I said, how many people do you lose on overseas levy? He said, I haven't lost anybody yet, So I went back to the captain and I said, you know what? I don't know a lot about lab work, but I'm a fast learner. If you'll keep me,

curt:

man. You are a forward thinking person. Are you not? Like you put that pieces together pretty

mike:

quick. Yeah. So I, and and they did the, the JAG office lost a lot of people. Yeah. During my two years there and the lab lost nobody. So here

curt:

you are. Here I am. Yeah. But yeah, I we're fortunate for that. Yeah, we are fortunate. Well, thank you. Yeah. So, um, yeah, talk to me about what happens

mike:

after Army then? Well, I go back to law school, finish law school, um, take the bar exam for Ohio and pass it, uh, go into a small practice in a smaller town in Ohio.

curt:

It's like a staff attorney kind of thing or whatever. Not even yet. Berlin, just the beginning. Attorney. Like rookie? Yeah, just a rookie

mike:

attorney, coffee, whatever. There were two partners and uh, you know, they, they put cases on me right away. So, uh, I ended up handling cases in the fry pan. You know, I was there for, uh, about three years and out of the blue, my law school. Called me. Hmm. And he was here in Fort Collins. Okay. And he asked me if I'd ever thought about leaving Ohio, which I had. Right. Who

curt:

hadn't. And he said,

mike:

uh, sorry, Ohio. Yeah. He said, well, I need help out here in Fort Collins. Okay. So I flew out, took a look at the practice, took a look at the situation and said, you got me and ci me a little

curt:

bit. When, when is this in Fort Collins, uh, development history. This

mike:

would've been back in 1976.

curt:

Oh, two years after years truly was born. Yeah. So, so you would beat the, like, had started becoming popular kind of in the seventies and then kind of cooled down a little in the eighties, right? Is that what I remember about con the front range of Colorado? Yeah,

mike:

yeah, yeah. When I moved here in January 77, Fort Collins was 50,000 people. Okay.

curt:

And um, Annie, what, what do you remember about those days in Fort Collins? Was it like changing fast already?

annie:

Well, I came right after high school, so I came in basically 68. Okay. So I saw Fort Collins being a little 30,000 population town, and I've just seen it just explode since then, but Right.

curt:

So, um, oh yeah. So from 68 to 77, it grew from 30 to 50 almost. Right, right, right. And then, and then just, that was the first really big

annie:

wave. Yeah. And it's just been since then.

curt:

So, and I'm gonna tr transition back to you, Annie, if you, you don't mind. Um mm-hmm. you mentioned you got married, I think. Mm-hmm. And did you have some children? Yes. What was the situation there? You were a working mom. Were you stay at home for a while then?

annie:

No, I was, I was working at Aggie Travel. Okay. And three kids. Okay. And, um, there were, there's a, well my husband ran for state representative Oh wow. And had Okay. Some situations. Um, was a campaign director, so, um, that that didn't end up so well, so fair. How's

curt:

that? You know, I was just on Tom Lu. I had Tom Lucero on the podcast, Uhhuh a few, maybe two months ago now, and he's talking to me and he is kind of encouraging me to, to like try to become a local leader, politician kind of guy or whatever. Mm-hmm. And he was like, you know, there's an old saying in politics that you know, either your family or your business or, or your political career, one of those three things is gonna have to give mm-hmm. and. To which my response was, well, I'm really not willing to sacrifice my family or my business, but I don't mind being a half-assed politician if that's what it takes. And he's like, well, no, we're not really looking for that And I was like, well, that's too bad then, because, well, I'm sorry that that happened. Um, well, but you wouldn't be here with Mike otherwise.

annie:

Exactly. That was like 40 some years ago, so

that

curt:

happened. So. Right. And when, where were you? Like how old were your littles and were, did you, then you became a single mom, I guess? Yeah. Yeah.

annie:

They, they were little. They were two, four, and six. Wow. So they, they were little and, um, it was some rough times. Yeah. I was a single mom. And did you

curt:

split custody? Did, was he supportive? He was

annie:

supportive. I had, basically, I had them all the time. So he did, yeah. He, he did do support. He paid a little bit. He paid, yeah. And then I, I worked full-time.

curt:

Wow. Yeah. Did you have help then raising these. I did not. Wow. Yep. So, uh, yeah, old school. Old school. You know, you guys are home for two and a half hours after school by yourselves?

annie:

No, I, I was, I was, you know, actually I was really good about that. I absolutely knew that I did not want kids homeschooled by themselves. So, but you were probably flexible enough with your work? A little bit. I, that was just, I drew some lines in the sand on what, when time I need to be home. So,

curt:

because it's not like you work from home in those days, really. Right. Yeah. Right. And what, right, what was the business like at this time? Like, was there It was, it was a growing a bunch of agents in the office. It was growing, it was flourishing. How many people and what's it look like to manage. A travel agency?

annie:

Well, you know, actually at that point with those little kids, there was another manager that came in. So I was more of an agent, which was perfect for, and that's, that's your sweet spot. Yeah. For my, for my situation at that time. Um, and it was a booming, booming, um, agency. There was probably 15 to 20 agents in that, that office at that time, so. Wow.

curt:

Yeah. And so that, that's nice. So you were Yeah. An owner, right? A partner. You Right. But you kind of ate what you killed, right. As an agent. And if the business made money, you gotta share of those profits as a part of the family and whatever, but Right. But I'm sure at that time with that much growth, you were dumping a lot into technology and all this stuff and Right. I'm sure there wasn't extra money for raising those littles. No.

annie:

There wasn't. There wa there was some lean years, but you know, there's are growing years. You learn a lot.

curt:

Yeah. And well, you wouldn't be the woman you are now without that. Yeah. Well, thanks. Yeah. What was the first, tell me about the first international trip, uh, that you remember as a child. um, as a child. Oh, I assume you took some trips to

annie:

the even. Oh, I did. I, I did. As, as a child. Um, our family, we did travel. We went to Hawaii. I guess that would be kind of what I would call maybe one of my first International, international and on. It's part of the

curt:

US though, so it doesn't really count.

annie:

Yeah. Well, but take, we took the, we flew over that then took the lower line ship back. Oh wow. In ca taking a tr a ship all the way from Hawaii back to the US is

curt:

quite a Yeah, that's quite a, that qualifies

annie:

you. Yeah, it does. Um, and then actually my dad was really creative. He took golfers on trips and he took some golfers to Spain and Wow.

curt:

So, um, like he's like, here I've put a flyer out, we're gonna take 12 golfers, two Barcelona

annie:

such and such days, 20, 20, 30 golfers to, to, um, yeah, Maga and went to Malaga and went over to Morocco and yeah.

curt:

What an interesting thing of just. there's a lot of imagining what people might want and then taking the chance and making it come together. In those days, especially before technology and prior arrangements, you almost gotta buy the. Tickets and figure it all out and then hope you sell it all

annie:

right. Yeah. Yeah. My dad was, was good at that. He was really good about, he was a good pied piper. Yeah. He w he could get a group together easily.

curt:

So he wasn't anticipating the demand necessarily as much as he was creating it. Mm-hmm. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Fair enough. Yeah. Yeah. Um, Mike, I'm gonna shift back to you. You joined, did you join as a partner of this small firm or a staff with your college

mike:

roommate then? Yes. When I came out, I became a partner. Okay. So there were two of us. Yep. Um, it was a, a busy partnership. Uh, basically Ken, Ken Wolf was my partner. Okay. And he, uh, he dumped all the, the court cases on me.

curt:

Oh, I see. That's how you became kind of the, he didn't enjoy that experience.

mike:

He didn't much, didn't like that experience, and, and so I ended up inheriting

curt:

all those cases. frankly, that job sounds way more, when I think of a lawyer's job, I'm thinking like a lot of research and reading and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and all the stuff that is fine, but I'd way rather be in the excitement of an argument or kind of figuring out what the strategy of a case would be. Still a lot of

mike:

reading and still a lot of research even for court cases. But you know, you talk about the advent of things, um, in those days. You read books, right? You had to go to the libraries to do your research. Yep. There wasn't an internet. There wasn't, uh, a way to access those things. Mm-hmm. matter of fact, at first, my first, uh, secretaries just used manual typewriters and, and mimeograph sheets in order to make copies. Right. And then it, you know, then it progressed to the IBM mag cards where you could type it in and then it would type it all out for you. Oh. Do a duplicate

curt:

just like that.

mike:

Duplicates just like that. And, and then it was the fax machines and, you know, pretty soon it was internet. And you, you don't file papers with the court anymore. You, you do it via vis-a-vis the internet. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, and research. I mean, I can, I could go online in Fort Collins and. The US Supreme Court Library, right, and pull up cases out of the US Supreme Court Library rather than having to, having to go to DC and do

curt:

it. Right. I know there's like in the past, and maybe it's still the same, but I suspect not. Like when you see those lawyers offices full of books of da da da duh and stuff, it's like, because it actually, in the past you needed that kind of

mike:

stuff. That's true. That you had to have those and you paid for 'em. Now, if you go into a law office, I guarantee you, you will not see, but 10% of that because everything

curt:

is online anymore, right? Yeah. Why would you want that Now? It's more of like a. I had these bookshelves, I needed to put something on 'em. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, tell me about that early practice. It was the two of you as partners. Did you have any help, any staff to help do with billing or different things, make mimeograph copies?

mike:

We basically had one secretary who was the jack of all trades. Yeah. She was the receptionist, she was the typist. She was the, um, kept track of the books. Scheduler. Yeah. Scheduler, all of that. But, you know, over a period of time we grew from the two of us to four partners and, and two associates. Okay. Uh, so the practice grew and then we had to pick maybe four

curt:

or five support people, then her Yeah.

mike:

Paralegals and, and a receptionist rather than a jack of all proper Yeah. Proper receptionists. So, and it's interesting, when I first came here, my first office was in the first National Bank tower. Okay. Yep. And over the course of my 28 years of practice, I was in different buildings around town. I stayed downtown because of my practice. I needed to be, yeah. Walkable to the courthouse. Yep. Um, But stay downtown. And then my last five years of practice, I ended back up in the first national tower. Oh,

curt:

cool. So tell me about like how do law firms like make it equitable among partners and stuff? How do they share, or how did your firm choose to do it? Because there's like a lot of different ways to skin that cat from a business model standpoint. Right. And, and especially when you're specializing in litigation, your partner is specializing in contracts sometimes for the same client. Like is it all about how many hours you can claim that you worked on stuff or is there Yeah. How do

mike:

you There's a number of different ways that, that, that firms do it. Our firm, we decided that what we would do is at the end of the month, your income versus the total income was the percentage of what you would pay towards the expenses for the month. So if I brought in 30% of the income, Then I would pay 30% of the expenses. Yeah. If I brought in 10% of the income, I'd pay 10% of the expenses. Interesting. And it was a, you know, it balanced it out between everybody, cuz sometimes you'd have a really good month and sometimes you wouldn't have a good month. Yeah,

curt:

yeah. And so you needed to level the

mike:

expenses too. The, the expenses were pretty level across the board from month to month. Okay.

curt:

I was thinking like, uh, insurance renewal month, you're like sandbagging, so your partner can take on most of that expense,

mike:

Yeah. Well, I, you know, nobody gave us lawyers. Lawyers, lawyers are devious, but, you know, that

curt:

didn't happen in our firm. Well, that is devious me, obviously.

mike:

Uh, but yeah, so it, it was a, I thought it was an equitable way to do it. Yeah. Um, the associates were paid a salary, um, rather than

curt:

Right. That was a kind of steady overhead for the business. Yeah.

mike:

Steady overhead. So, um, it, it worked well. Yeah. Very interesting. Daniel, there are law firms that, that do a totally different than that.

curt:

Yeah. There's every way out there. Just about in some ways, right? Yeah. Like, not every way, but there's a lot of different ways and there's pluses and minuses, but that sounds about as good as anything. And how did you decide who should be a partner and who needed to stay an associate, and how do you manage those relationships and conversations around that?

mike:

that was based you really on the partner's assessment of how well the associate was doing in terms of knowledge of the practice of law Yep. Relationship with the clients. Yep. And um, and ability to get new

curt:

clients.

mike:

Right. Income protection. Yeah. Yeah. Um, so it was a combination of a lot of things. And, and it, it was interesting because, and I'm sure a lot of law firms experience the same thing when you bring an associate in Yeah. You obviously have to feed him cases. Right. Because a young associate new to town has no contacts, so you feed 'em cases for two or three years. Yep. Builds up client rapport and at some. You look at that and say, okay, would you like to be a partner? And when the details of how that happens. Yeah. Especially the dollars and cents of it come out. In many cases they say, you know what? I think I'll just see you. Bye. Really? I have my own clients. I'll just go out and hang my shingle up and do my own thing. Cause I don't want any

curt:

part of that overhead. No And so what does it make for a, somebody that actually wants to be a partner in then? Like why? What is it that's different about those that say yes?

mike:

Because then you're able to share in right, the income production of everybody. Right. Rather than just

curt:

yourself. Yeah, that makes sense. And like kind of tidying those highs and lows. If you're a solopreneur and it's just. Frankly to add value to your clients, when is you're a one man band.

mike:

Mm-hmm. it's hard. Mm-hmm. Yeah. If you're, you know, you have to do your own casework, you have to do your own research, you have to do your own client rapport. Right.

curt:

Uh, you can barely afford a front desk person.

mike:

Yeah. There's a lot to do. Well, I mean, you can, I mean, the last years that I practiced, uh, I really thought that maybe I wanted to cut my workload down. Mm. And so it was really easy to cut my client load down 50. Sure. But which means my income load was down 50%. Yep. But I still had to maintain an office and everything else. Right. And so my expense load was still a hundred percent Right. And it didn't take long to figure out that percentage, 50% of income and a hundred percent of expenses wasn't working.

curt:

Yeah, no, it makes sense. That makes sense. Annie, let's do the same kind of talk about like travel agency stuff. You know, I know it changed a lot over time, like from fully like airfare commission reliant to like how do travel agencies make money now? How do you make money as an independent contractor and how does Frosh make money?

annie:

Um, you know, there's a, it's been an evolution and I think because Fresh bought Eggy, right? Yeah. Fresh. We, yeah, we've like, in 2000, whatever, 2010 they bought us. Okay. So it's been going on. Um, wow. 13 years. Yeah. I didn't realize this so long ago. Yeah, it was a long time ago. But, so what's happened is, um, Yeah. When the airlines to cut the commissions and then you had to charge service fees, which a lot of people really resented. Yeah. They're like, I'll just buy it myself. Yeah. I'll just buy it myself, Um, but they found out then that there were a lot of errors that were made. Um, and then everybody thought once online, they thought travel agencies were gonna be dinosaurs. Right. You're just gonna die away and go away. But what happened, I think people have found that when you go someplace and your hotel isn't what you thought, or they don't have your reservation or you're there on the wrong. who do you call? And so this is what I think, one

curt:

800. I don't give a shit. Yeah,

annie:

exactly. That's call. That's exactly I don't give a shit. That's exactly, I sorry, That's right. But so many people look at me and go, you know, how are you, you still sell travel? It's like, I'm busier than I've ever been. Right. That's still a thing. It, it's still a thing. I mean,

curt:

it is. So it's service fees driven now. Basically.

annie:

Service fee. Yeah. Service fees. And then being with Fraud Hotels kick you back or things like that. Yeah. Hotels give you commissions. And then what Frash has done is they've really aligned themselves where they'll go to different hotels, they'll go to vendors, they'll go to United Airlines, they'll go to tour operators and they'll say, you know, we can give you this much business and you can, we want this kind of commission. So, yeah. So, so that's a,

curt:

you'll be our favorite partner, right? Like it sounds like United is the favorite airline partner, right? Yep. And, and like we want some recognition for that. Yeah. Right. So,

annie:

but it does benefit because you get great, you know, there's great service you can give your clients, um, the fairs, you know, people always say, I could get it less expensive online. I go, okay, go ahead and try it. Come back and compare item with me. Yeah, I bet I can, can match it. So, yeah. So we're not a dinosaur. We're alive and well, I like it. Um, the corporate,

curt:

I have to confess, I've never actually really used a travel agent. I know

annie:

a lot of, a lot of, no, no, no. That's, a lot of people haven't. And um, that's okay. But there's, it feels

curt:

adventurous, like, like doing it myself and figuring out where we wanna go and all those things. But honestly, if I can pay the same money or not, you know, 20% more even. And. Have knowledge behind all my decisions. That sounds better. Yeah.

annie:

Yeah. Well, and a lot of people, that's okay. You know, a lot of people wanna be adventurous and a lot of people really get a lot of satisfaction on doing their, the research themselves. But sometimes if you don't have the time Yeah, you don't really have the desire. You don't, you can call a travel agent and they, they've got the, the passion, they've got the knowledge. Well, the knowledge more than they the knowledge. Yeah. Yeah, the knowledge. Yeah.

mike:

Like Annie, I mean, she's been places so she knows them. Yeah. She works with vendors who have been to these places that they recommend. Right. And so you're not, uh, taking a pig into Pope, you know, what you're getting. Yeah, for

curt:

sure. Um, how long do you wanna keep. helping people travel

annie:

Well, well, I've, I've thought about that and people have asked me that over and over again, and I thought with Covid, I thought, okay, I think I'm gonna, you were done. I'm gonna, I'm gonna retire. But I had a lot of people's, um, vacations under my umbrella and there was money on them, and I could not in my conscience to say, too bad, so sad. Somebody will help you when you Yeah. Maybe somebody will help you. I hope somebody will help you. I hope somebody will honor your money. Yeah. And so I've stuck through with all of those. We've gotten all the money back, put people on new, um, trips. And then what's happened is they've, again, people are still booking. So I'm hoping in the next year or two, maybe Okay, I will, won't retire.

curt:

So like to get to the kind of same kind of conversation we had with Mike about how law firms work. Like in Ros's case, it sounds like they get some chunks from the specific, like this airline, this hotel chain or whatever. And then like the, the travel agents, if you will, they kind of. Eat what they kill and then pay up small commission of what they sell Tora for being under that house kind of thing. Are they employees or contractors

annie:

or they're both, they're there, there are employees that get a, a salary. Okay. So,

curt:

and that, and they're especially administratively or marketing or things. Right. But also sales

annie:

too. Right. On sales too, because there's corporate agents that really do a lot of, and I mean like a lot of bookings in a day. A lot. Mm-hmm. So they can get a commission off the, the bookings. Um, so, and service fees, so Right. They're, they they are, they're

curt:

kind of the hands and feet for those corporate clients that don't wanna mess

annie:

with it. Exactly. And yeah. So, and,

curt:

and it's a little different thing than you being the, what kind of trip are you imagining? Right. When me

annie:

help you make it out, there's the COR corporate and then there's the leisure. So I've always been more leisure fair. Um, and so I do more of the, yeah, the trips, the custom trips. That's really what I like. So when I do a custom trip, the vendor will pay you a commission. So Very good. Very good. So it's,

curt:

it's pretty simple. So, um, tell me about like, you guys meeting and how many years were you a single mom wrestling the, this business in these littles and stuff like that? Well,

annie:

there, there was some blips in there too, so yeah. You got a chapter or two in there? Yeah, I've got, well, yeah, I have another chapter in there, which was a, um, you know, a, a third. Yeah. Oh, it was, it was a, it was a sad chapter. A very sad chapter. Well, you know, life happens. Yeah, it does. But

curt:

you grow well and you're amazing. So what, whatever happened to make you that way? I guess I'm okay with it.

annie:

Yeah. Yeah. And I've got three beautiful kids. I'm in a beautiful marriage. We're going on 20 years, so, um, there, yeah, there was, there was a hard part. So,

curt:

um, do you wanna share it? Is there any like, flags warning or you want trash talk? Anybody? No, I

annie:

don't really wanna trash talk. I just wanna say that, um, there has been abuse in, in, under, under my umbrella. And so, so you're sensitive to that? I'm very sensitive in the world today. I'm very sensitive to that and I'm, I'm very sensitive to people lying and not being honest, and I'm very sensitive to that. So

curt:

see something, say something, be there for,

annie:

see something, something. Speak up and believe the kids because mm-hmm. They're not lying. Wow. And there are some, oh wow. There are some bad. People in the

curt:

world. I'm so sorry to hear that. Yeah, yeah. I'm, I'm So, they're, they're okay. You know, they, yeah. Yeah. They'll be stronger for it too. I, I hope, I mean, yeah. So, well, thank you for sharing, and I wanna ask you to share more, because Yeah. It doesn't seem

appropriate.

annie:

No, that's, yeah, that's okay. No, I, I don't mind. It's just, yeah. It's every, yeah.

curt:

So, Mike, were you also in a

mike:

previous relationship? I was this, um, this is number three for me also. Oh, wow. Um, my first marriage went 25 years. Okay. Uh, we had just celebrated our 25th with a trip to Hawaii. Okay. And when we moved to Fort Collins, we have two, had two kids. Um, my kids were a freshman and a sophomore down at Fort Lewis. Okay. And they came home for c. and we were headed north to Grant's Tree Farm to cut a Christmas tree. Okay. And the fellow t-boned us at the intersection of Al Canyon Road. Oh wow. And killed my wife outright. Oh. And put me in the hospital for a number of months. Wow. Um, the kids survived. I survived, but that was pretty traumatic and I was really crushed. Wow. And it was a terrible situation. Pretty quickly after that I got bit by a black widow. What? Who saw the stuff in the paper and suddenly started showing up everywhere around. Oh geez. Where I

curt:

was Money chaser

mike:

girl. Yes. Oh my gosh. And ended up marrying her when I shouldn't have. Yep. Um, Fairly soon that that wasn't probably what I needed to be in. Yeah. But kept thinking I could change it. I've heard so

curt:

many stories, unfortunately, about like, vulnerable people being approached in, in, in that fashion. Mm-hmm. you know, I didn't even really know that word. Yeah. But I've heard a lot of those stories.

mike:

Yeah. So I struggled with that for five years. Wow. And finally pulled the plug on

curt:

that. Did you have like, friends speaking truth into your life and things like that? Or like, what was it that Uh, I think ultimately cuz when we choose wrong in a relationship, like one of the hard things is, you know, you have to break it off. But the other thing is like, you have to confess to the fact, to yourself that you've been a dumb ass. Mm-hmm. And you need to change it. Like, yeah. And it's not always easy to make that confession. It's

mike:

not. It's not. And you know, it's not me. I'm, I'm stubborn you know, I, I, I'm gonna fix this. I thought I could fix it. I thought I could fix it. I wasn't ready to throw the towel in, even though. As it progressed, my parents were not very supportive of it. Mm. And my kids were being pushed out. Right. Um, and I could see that. Wow. Which really bothered me. So in any event that that was over, um, I had some regathering to do and, and then I ran into Annie one time. I saw one of her travel things and, and she held a little thing at her office, And I went to the office and, and, uh, I had known Annie before through some scout activities Okay. And through church activities, so we weren't strangers. And, you know, at church one day I saw any and asked her what she was doing and, and we started to date and did that for a while and then decided, you know what? I think this is really gonna work. Yeah. I

curt:

think that's

annie:

awesome. I have to, I have to have to say one thing, please. Being a really good lawyer. When we went on a first date, he called it an exploratory meeting. I'm going, what the heck is an

curt:

exploratory meeting? checking to see if we're on the same page here, working toward the same

ends

mike:

after that black period. I wanted to make sure.

curt:

Yeah, yeah. Well, I think that's And how, how long had you been single at this point in time? Because your kids are probably getting older too by now. Yeah. In that conversation. Um, yeah,

annie:

they were, um, I had been, I think I was going on what, nine, nine years.

curt:

Wow. Um, yeah. So you weren't too long with this, this second. Relationship.

annie:

I, I was long enough. Long enough, yeah. Long enough. But fair enough. Yeah. Long enough to really, um, grieve it. Um, really see the mistakes that were

curt:

made. Yeah. And be ready to wait a while before and wait a while,

annie:

a decision like that and not, not so sure that what I was gonna, how

curt:

you guys were both twice bitten. Well, yeah. Once bitten by toughness in the Yeah. You know, I'm sorry. Sorry about that loss. Uh, yeah. Actually John Shaw came by here yesterday and we played some ping pong. Oh yeah. And he is like, I don't know if Michael talk about it, but he had a really traumatic Yeah. Car accident experience in his past and Yeah. So I, but he didn't elaborate beyond that cuz he is like, it's not my place to tell you. Yeah. Um, so yeah. Anyway, thanks for sharing that. And

mike:

you know, and it's just one of those incidents where I really don't remember an awful lot from it. Yeah. I remember being in the, in the vehicle headed north to Grant's Farm. I remember looking to my right. At Elk Canyon Road stopping and I saw this black object and that was the last I remember.

curt:

Wow. And what, what was hurt on you? Like you said, you had spent months in the hospital. Well, I

mike:

had 10 broken ribs. I had a lacerated lung, lacerated liver. Whoa. Broken ankle, um, all kinds of things. Wow.

curt:

Wow. What a tragedy. Like were you even out for weeks even, or almost?

mike:

Oh, I was out for weeks from the practice, um, when I was finally, uh, what did you know your wife

curt:

died?

mike:

Um, well they had me on morphine for quite a while in the hospital. Yeah. Because of the pain. And they backed off the morphine. And one, one time I, as I started to come out of that fog, I saw my parents at the foot of the bed and the minister at the side of the bed. Wow. And when I saw the minister, I knew something bad had happened. Um, and that's when they told me that, that, uh, my wife had been killed, and you can mention her my name if Pam was her name. Yeah. Yeah. That she had been killed and Colleen had some compound fractures from Was your daughter? Yeah. And, and Ben, who was the driver, didn't have a scrape. Wow. But, um, it, it was pretty eye-opening at that point. But then I, you know, I went home recuperated, my law partner who was Otis Beach was very, very helpful. Yeah. In terms of taking care of my cases. And when I was able to start thinking about cases, he would bring them to my house

curt:

and start thinking about, talk a lot, a little bit,

mike:

think a little bit. And, uh, he was very helpful in, in making that transition where I could finally start coming back to the office on a part-time basis.

curt:

Wow. What a, what? season of life you had, mm-hmm. right? Mm-hmm. just that devastating injury followed by this devastating, presumably financial circumstance and stuff too, right? It was tough. Yeah. Um, let's get into happier days. You guys are dating now? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like before we left off. Yeah. Yeah. Um, tell me about that courtship a little bit. Annie. What, uh, what would you share? Like when he asked you for an exploratory session, did you think he was talking about something else? No.

annie:

I was wondering. But no, we went straight to Cooper Smiths and had a beer and a very serious, no, we didn't. But anyway, so that's how it started. We took some classes, which was really fun. We took some dance classes. We took an art history class. And at that point, um, the Aspen Club had come to me and asked me if I would put together some groups. A bus trip. Yeah. And I thought, well, my roots are bus trips. Of course, I'll come up with the bus trips. Sure. So, so we started one of our first trips. So the first presentation I gave to the Aspen Club, I went, I said, we're gonna go to Madora. And everybody goes, where? Where the heck is me?

curt:

Don't know. Medos from, I'm from North Dakota.

annie:

Right. I filled two buses. That's, and that was the beginning of our groups. And then basically every, every year since then, we've taken groups all over the

mike:

world. Oh, that's so cool. Other than during Covid. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Covid

curt:

was, yeah. That's amazing. I need to, Well, when I get a little older, probably I'll do some of your group travel. Yeah. Well, do you have old people only or you actually have

annie:

No, we've, we've, we've Youngs and stuff. We've migrated from going to Meor, then we went to Santa Fe, we saw the opera, we went to the balloon fist in, but it, it's people that

curt:

have a lot of time. Right, right.

annie:

That was Aspen Club. Right. And then I pushed the Aspen Club back box and I said, okay, I wanna, we're gonna go someplace other than a bus. So then we went to the Caribbean and got 84 people to, on a Caribbean cruise. What? And then I said, Nope, I, I can't do that one again. Square lame Yeah. So then, um, so currently, um, I'm working on a group and we've got 13 going to Croatia. Oh really?

curt:

Yeah. When is that? In May. Okay. It's in how long can you sign up?

annie:

Um, how long can you sign up? I think, yeah. Can people still sign up? Yeah, I think I have like two spots left, but Okay. But that trip was three years ago and canceled Covid and anyway, so this year it's on again.

curt:

Well let us know about the next one, cuz you'll probably sell these before this podcast is even out, but Yeah. Yeah. I like the idea of doing that sometime. Yeah, no, it's

annie:

fun. It's, you know, people that have traveled, they're, they're not huge groups anymore. They're smaller groups. We've done river cruises. Um, we've done a variety of things,

curt:

so it's, so, um, was it just kind of like, were you, were you acting like that once bitten, twice shy or twice bitten, once shy or whatever? Or, or did you guys kind of fall in love pretty quickly in that? We, we were, we were, you fell in love quickly and then slow down. Slow down. I

annie:

said, I'm, I said this is gonna be slow. This was a three plus year courtship. Wow.

mike:

Well, and the other thing, which I think we did, we both recognized we had some baggage. Yeah. And so we actually went to counseling together. Good for you. Talk about our baggage. Yeah. And that really helped. Yeah,

curt:

I'm sure. Yeah. Uh, I went to marriage counseling with Jill back in my, uh, earliest days of entrepreneurship and recruited Josh Emery to be a member of Loco Think Tank back when he was kind of growing it from him and his dad and his wife into a real practice. So, yeah. Yeah. I find a lot of value in that. Oh

annie:

yeah. There's a lot of, there's,

curt:

yes. So, um, you know, we've kind of explored a lot of the business journeys. I don't know how much more there is. Like, let's talk about Rotary. It seems like the right place. Are you, when did you guys, you guys were. together before Rotary came onto the picture? Or were you Rotarians

annie:

first? I was. I was a Rotarian first. You already were. And I dragged them into ro. Oh, so you go the way back on Rotary back? Yeah. The way back, yeah. I go back to, yeah, I think I'm on 26 years in being in Rotary

curt:

in, in our Fort Collins Breakfast Rotary Club. In the Ro Breakfast Rotary Club. Okay. Yeah. So how old is

annie:

our club? Um, our club I think began in 1998, which is how

curt:

many years? Um, that's 20. That's only 24 years. No, 98. 98. It's 2022 now. Oh. Well, I think that's when it was charter. Did you start at the beginning? No, you're not charter, but you're like right after, basically. Well, no,

no.

annie:

Maybe, maybe you're right. I don't

curt:

know. You're right. We'll do math on another episode, but you go Well, you're an og.

annie:

Yeah. You know, you're right. Because I started in

curt:

19, how many members? Four. When you.

annie:

There were about 30. Yeah, I, I started in 1994. Sorry. You're right. Our club would go back

mike:

earlier. Must be. I thought it was getting close to about 30 years for our club.

curt:

Okay. Right. Okay. So yeah. And so they were a few years in but had been successful already obviously. Right. And what led you to Rotary?

annie:

Um, I had done a lot in the schools. I was on PAs, PTOs, I had done all that and I just thought with no kids, basically. Yeah. Kids were in college. The space I something. Yeah. And I wanna give back to this community cuz this community has been really good to me. Yeah. So that's so cool.

curt:

That's, that's what drove me. Then you reeled Mike in from there. Like, will, well, well if you're gonna be part of my life, you might be part of rot.

annie:

Yeah. That's when I was, I got,

mike:

yeah. Well I was actually, at the time I was kind of footloose and fancy free. Right. I'd been. Serving with scouts for almost 17 years. Mm-hmm. uh, when my son was, you know, young Oh, right. He started in Cub Scouts and I was a den leader and then a cub master. And then when he got old enough to go into Boy Scouts, I moved to Boy Scouts and Yeah. Was assistant scout master and then scout master. And when he finally obtained his eagle and, and moved on, I stayed with scouting at the district level and became a district commissioner. And then I was head of the, all the district commissioners.

curt:

You're like, I don't really see any higher steps in this letter that I really wanna step

mike:

on. There was, and, and then I became a trustee. Oh, wow. So I was on the board of trustees and then I was on the Eagle Board Review and Wow. After about 17 years, I kind of thought, you know, it's really time, I think somebody else Yeah. Started to carry the reins a little bit. So I was not involved with anything other than through the church. Yeah. And Annie said, well, come to Rotary. It's a really neat organization. Oh, and I did, I liked it. And boy, am I glad I'm there,

curt:

man. Your, your application must have been improved in the first round of like, he's a former Eagle Scout master. He is done this, he's done that, he's done this, he's done that. Yeah. So what did you think when you got to Rotary? Oh,

mike:

I just, I was blown away By, by Rotary's work. Yeah. Um, both locally and internationally. But I think the other thing that really impressed me about the Breakfast Club was a camaraderie between the people. Yeah. And how friendly they were and how accepting they were and how diverse they were. Yeah.

curt:

I would agree with that. That's one of the special things about that place is is it's a diverse group that stays diverse and stays loving toward each other. Exactly. For the most part.

annie:

Yeah. That's what, yes. And where else do you have that kind of diversity? and love and together and worked and worked together

curt:

right side by side

annie:

and, and yeah. Yeah. No, it's, it's an amazing, our club is really, really amazing.

curt:

It's got a pretty great culture. For sure. It does. So you were hands on right away, and I understand both of you guys are past rotary presidents. Yep. Yes. Annie, when was your

annie:

term? Do you Um, 2000. Yeah, 2000, 2001. Okay. And Mike Or 2000, yeah, 2001. Yeah.

mike:

And mine was 2008, 2009. I

curt:

remember yours. Yes, I was there. You were. It was early in my rotary journey. Yeah. You were a, a young Rotarian. Yeah, very. I think it might have been 2008 when I joined, actually. Yes. So you might have been the president, right? Yeah. Or Wilton came later. Wilton came after me. Right. So that, but remember the end of your term probably. And, uh, so, so yeah, you guys are grizzled veterans. We've got 50 years of rotary experience here in the room. Just about. We do. I think you're right, collectively. So, um, like for somebody who, maybe I'll give this to you, Annie, for somebody that's like, I've heard of Rotary, but I have no idea. would you like to give a 32nd or a minute and a half commercial of what is Rotary? Not just our club, but Rotary International and, and whatever. Is that too intimidating,

annie:

Oh, no, no. Not at all. Cuz I, I really, I have some passions in my life and one of them is Rotary. Yeah. Church, family Rotary. I, I absolutely love Rotary. I think what it gives as far as the educational component, the fellowship component and the giving back to the world component, three tremendous components. Yeah. That really make it work. I like it.

curt:

That's my, that's my ad. Oh, that's your ad right there? Yeah.

annie:

I mean, I, one more could I say, I mean, I absolutely, I can't imagine my life without Rotary. That's

curt:

cool. And Mike, um, because of your legal background and stuff, would you like to color in some of the gaps that your wife left on? Like what road? It's a service club, right? Like, let's a service there.

mike:

No, I, I think to me, one of the

curt:

You're awesome. I was just

mike:

teasing. Yeah, I got it. One of the most outstanding things to me about Rotary is the, the multiplication effect of your giving. Yeah. Um, through international, when you give, and it stays there for a period of three years, and then it comes back, and then you can make grant applications locally that you put in so much money, the district can put in so much

curt:

money. International puts in, if our club puts in 4,000, the district's got a fund that'll throw 10,000 in, and then the global will throw in another 20, and all of a sudden we're doing a $35,000 project. Yeah. Amazing. For five grand.

mike:

Yes. Yeah. And, and where else can you do that? Yeah. Where can, where can you multiply or magnify your effect locally or internationally? That beautifully.

curt:

Yeah. One of the things I like to tell people about, uh, rotary when they're underneath because of the global influence and connection and stuff, is one of my favorite things. I'm like, you know, if you're wearing a. A rotary vest or sweatshirt or a pin or something like that, like somebody at the airport might. Hey, excuse me. Can you watch these bags for a little bit? I gotta go use the restroom Yes. You know, cause or if or somebody stole my wallet and all my luggage on a foreign trip, like the first thing I would do is like, look up the local Rotary Club directory. Mm-hmm. and see if there's somebody I can like, crash with while I figure out how to get to the embassy or whatever. Right. That's true. Yeah. I feel like I would almost be adopted into and cared for. Right. Almost wherever I am. Yeah.

annie:

And you know, another component that I, what I didn't say anything about is that student exchange. I think the student exchange program more than probably any peace thing in the world that happens. You bring kids from all these different cultures, they live with you, they get to know you as Americans and you them as from Taiwan or France or, and it just creates a, a camaraderie. It's an understanding. Yeah. An understanding, a love that, that you, it is hard to find another way of that kind of relationship.

mike:

Well, an interesting experience. We were traveling and I had my rotary pin on and we were on a. Public conveyance. And I was standing up cuz it was crowded. The guy next to me saw my rotary pin. Yeah. And he looked at me, he said, are you in rotary Right. And I said, yes, I am. Are you? He said, I am too. And so we talked rotary and before I left I gave him one of the, our rotary coins. Oh, cool. And he had never seen one before. Oh no. And he looked at that and he said, oh, I'm gonna have my club do this.

curt:

Well, I carry a rotary pin or coin sometimes You do too. Yeah. Um, I think let's, uh, should we do the four-way test together? Uhhuh, Sure. Because that's what's on the back of the rotary coin. I, yeah. Okay. And it's one of the reasons that it stays diverse and loving. Exactly. Yes.

annie:

But it has a moral compass.

curt:

Right. I know. So of the things we think Sam do, do, is it the truth? The truth? Is it, is it fair? Fair to all concerned? Will it build good, build goodwill, and better friendships? Will it be, will it be beneficial to all concerned?

mike:

Yay. Yay.

curt:

Yay. So, um, yay. by the way, I was just gonna mention, we, you guys don't even know this, but you met en Ricoh, our Italian exchange student. Yeah. Um, and we sent him back last week, Wednesday, and we took in Manuel from Brazil. Oh, wow. And so we have another exchange student from like the focal point of world politics in the moment. Yes. Wow. It's, it's been interesting to have Yeah. Some insider's perspective on what's going on in Brazilia. Wow. That'd be a good program. Yeah, right. I should probably just have her on there. Yeah, you should. she doesn't really know much just what her parents have told her and stuff, but but's still, it's very interesting and intriguing to me. Um, I'm gonna call a short break. Okay. And then, um, we will come back for some of our closing segments. Perfect. All right. Welcome back. Um, so we were kind of praising on Rotary when we left. Um, let's talk about like what does our club do and what's coming up? Cuz Mike, I know, are you the, the creator of the idea of the Flags for Heroes thing or you were the main mouthpiece at least? Or tell me about that. I, I was

mike:

the main mouthpiece cuz nobody else wanted to take on the job

curt:

but, well was it your idea? It

mike:

wasn't my idea actually. An am obedient who came from back east. I remember, um, her club back there did, um, a field of honor or field of flags. Yeah. But their community was a bit smaller, and so they had, uh, an open area right in the center of town Oh. Where they could put the flags up. And so they did that there and she broached the idea with our committee, and we did some exploration, asked a lot of questions, and the board decided to run with it. Yeah. And at that point, they needed somebody to be the chair. Yeah. And nobody really stepped forward, so I said, okay, I'll do it. Yeah. And so we did it. Uh, so this, well,

curt:

you're one of, uh, we probably have a half dozen or 10 veterans maybe in the club. And so I appreciate you taking that duty.

mike:

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And, and it's turned out to be quite meaningful to me. I mean, it started out with the concept of being. I'll be quite open a fundraiser. Yeah. You know, you sell medallions and raise money. Yeah. And it didn't take long in that first field of honor out at Veterans Plaza with 500 flags and meaningful people putting medallions on flags to recognize that it was more than a fundraiser. Yeah. It was a very cathartic opportunity for people to express their thanks both to veterans, to first responders, to nurses, doctors.

curt:

Was your first year in 2020 or 2021? I can't, or, or 19 even. I don't even know. Um, we're coming up here.

mike:

It would've been 20, 20 20. 2020. I'm thinking so too. Yeah. That was the

curt:

first year. So the spring of 2020 when Yes. Right. Like medical people and stuff like that was very much on the radar, right?

mike:

Yes, very much so. Right. And so that's why we expanded the, the hero piece to include first responders Yes. Veterans. Yeah. And not just veterans and teachers or whoever was your personal hero. Yeah. Um, and we did that. Then for 2021, we continued with that theme and we will, if it looks like we'll do it again

curt:

this year and Oh, this isn't a good time to, we, we are going forward. Yes. Yes, we are. When is that? It's may, it'll be

mike:

over Memorial Day. Okay. Yeah. Memorial Memorial

curt:

Day weekend. But get your medallions put, you know, nominate your heroes before then. And, and what's the dynamic for like an outsider, like a non Rotary Club Insider? What, how, how do I get involved? What do I do?

mike:

Well, Let me backtrack and say one thing we we're not sure we're gonna do medallions this year. Okay. So that's still in the process of thinking, but how you get involved, um, if you know a Rotarian, you can get involved that way. Um, go to the website, whatever, there's a website you can go on to, to, uh, investigate what it's all about. So it's very easy to access information. Yeah. The committee's big enough with enough outreach in terms of marketing and, and it's really

curt:

about recognizing and appreciating your personal heroes.

mike:

Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. For example, um, this past year, given the situation in the Ukraine, right, the very first medallion was for President Zelensky. He's been a standup guy. Yes. That's the one you gave. That's the one I gave, and the second one that I gave was for the people of Ukraine who refused to be buckled by tyranny. Yeah.

curt:

Well, good. Uh, I appreciate that very much and, uh, I would encourage people to really look up. A lot of what Rotary Club does. We've got coming up here even, uh, our 10 k raffle, uh, by the time this podcast comes out, there'll be still time to get your chance to win $10,000 in, in cash. And we raise money to do good causes around the community and leverage it with Rotary Foundation dollars from around the world. Right. Annie, what if some of your, I know you're the, you're the basically the social coordinator, right?

annie:

Or, and, and ENT and I are, but yeah, we've had, we've had Fun Fellowship and fellow, what is that title?

curt:

The fellowship

annie:

I chair. Think fellow. Yeah, I think just Fellowship chair. Yeah. Yeah. Fair Co-chair. Cocha co-chair. Yeah. And Bidet. And I do it. So we just come up with kind of, um, Andy gave us a goal, he said, do you think you can come up with 12 fellowship events this year? Yeah. Because a fellowship, our club likes each other. We like to spend time with each other. You get to know the significant others. Yeah. Kids. So, um, we came up with 12, um, events and we're just doing 'em, trying, just doing them. Is it, next week is one. Yeah. Next, um, Tuesday on the 16th. Is it seven? Yes. Okay. Well maybe one space is left. You got space for me and Jill? Yeah, we could probably have two. Yeah, we could, I could have two space, but it's, it's progressive dinner.

curt:

I marked it on my calendar

annie:

and then I didn't Then you didn't ever, yeah. You didn't let me know. Yeah. But yeah, there's space. Tell me about the progressive dinner. Okay. The progressive dinner starts at the Walnut Creek, which is, uh, the The gallery. The gallery. So you can go there and have appetizers. Then you walk from there to the regional and I have five menu options that I'm gonna share tomorrow with everybody. They get to choose. Cool. And then we walk from there to Little Bird, and Little Bird is open for, um, pastries. She offers desserts in, are they open that time of

curt:

night usually? No. They, they open just for you? Just for us. Oh, that's so cute. Because they have the best pastries in town. They

annie:

do. They do. And it's all downtown. It's all magic. They have all the lights on. It's pretty to walk downtown. It is really. Fun, fun social

event.

curt:

Uh, if you're listening to this, you can't come because you've already missed it and you're not in Rotary probably, and it's all out. Um, but Annie does put together some of the best fellowship, thoughtful events of connecting our club together. And so, yeah, I guess, uh, for my part, just thank you for doing that. Um, I love doing that. Please give me grace for not engaging as much as I should. I love the club and I want to, I just spread thin a lot of times. Yeah, no, I understand. Yeah. But I think it's great that it happens. Yeah. And I, I love that you sell 'em almost every

annie:

time. Yeah. I try to do a real variety, so that's what I try to offer a variety so it's not just aimed at one group. So

curt:

while we're still hanging around Rotary, do you anything else that comes to mind to mention Mike? Or should we move on to our letter segments?

mike:

No, I just, I think we've really well covered rotary in, in what it does Cool. And what we do. What keeps us active in it.

curt:

Uh, yeah, let's, well, it keeps you, let's move on young and working hard. It does, right. Does like, it gives you something purposeful, fulfilling if you're otherwise retired and all you have is golf y you know? And so, oh no. Wait a minute. Golf is fun. No, but if all you have is golf, it's yawn. Oh yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. No, I love golf too, as much as the next guy. But if all you have is golf. No, there's

mike:

golf and there's fly fishing and there's an invest golf. There's a lot of things and there's HOA and fair. Yeah. And

curt:

doing. Tennis, challenging things with other people from different parts of the community. Like there's, you can't get that just anyway. You

annie:

can't. You can't. That's why, that's why I just love Rotary.

curt:

Yeah. Cool. Um, we always talk, uh, about faith, family and politics in this podcast. We'll kind of do the rapid flies since we got Yeah. Two different brains and families and maybe the same faith. I don't know, actually, let's start there actually, cuz I think you mentioned Annie, that you'd seen him around church or whatever. Mm-hmm. Uh, tell me about your faith journey a little bit, uh, if you would and, and what that means to

annie:

you. Yeah. Um, my faith, I've been always a Presbyterian, I guess. Okay. That's something I was born and raised with. Is that different than a Christian? No, it's, yeah, it's a Christian. Christian. It's a sub, it's a sub-segment. Yeah, I guess, yeah. I, I guess I was putting myself into a little, little pocket. I didn't, we

curt:

go to the crossing church, my wife and I, and it's basically a non-branded Presbyterians is kind of what it seems

annie:

like. Yeah. But, but faith, God, praying. um,

curt:

is a really, your family background, your grandpa, your dad, all that. My grandpa, my

annie:

dad. Yeah. Um, you know, kids, my kids, I think the kids of this generation aren't quite as churchgoers as we are. They're not, they're not. I mean, but they're all spiritual. So they're, you know, and I, I just am grateful for that. Fair enough. Um, but going to a church for me really does meet a need within me. I think you put

curt:

it under your top, like you had three pillars, right? Three. Like family or family. Roary, faith and rotary. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Mike, uh, same question. Like what was that faith background for you? Uh, I was

mike:

raised in the Presbyterian church. Same, uh, same. Okay. Um,

curt:

went to, they hold 'em a long

mike:

time. Apparently went, yeah. Went to church camps and did all that. Went to church camps, came here, um, became a member of the first Presbyterian

curt:

church downtown in town. One of the hosts of the Matthews House. A community life center. Exactly. Yep. Absolutely.

mike:

Yep. Um, and I've been involved with that, uh, became a elder and a deacon and Oh wow. Have served the church and, you know, we, we left the church. I left the church. We left the church for a while because of, uh, the Presbyterian church, and kind of floated because of some issues that were going on, and, um, we're back. You want to,

curt:

do you want to color those in a little bit? Is that Well, Not really worth it.

mike:

Not really worth, it's not really worth it. Yeah. It's not really worth it. But, uh, you know, they have, they've had a new minister now for three years, just a dynamic individual.

They

curt:

were kind of under some transition and stuff, and you were like, well, if they're gonna stay unstable, maybe we'll see who's stable. Is that Yeah. A fair summary. Yeah. There's more than that. Yeah. It, it doesn't really matter. Talk to me about Presbyterian. Like if you contrast Presbyterian versus Baptist or Catholics or, or what is, what Methodists and stuff like, how do you segment that? Is that we're all something that you think about? We're all, we're all Christian. We're all Christian. You really don't, yeah, I really don't. Yeah, it's a different, uh, letter on the jacket.

annie:

That's about it. Yeah. It doesn't, I guess I was more meaning just, yeah. That, that's where

curt:

I'm, yeah, yeah. No, I'm curious. Like, I, I don't know, like what they're all, they're all,

mike:

they're all God based. They're all faith-based. They all have, you know, that belief in, in God, they just, you know, they have different sayings sometimes, right. And different rituals,

curt:

but, well, I'm thinking there's like, There's like Calvinists and Presbyterians that one thinks that God just kind of set the thing in motion and lets things happen. Another thing that's like, things are really for ordained and you can't even escape

annie:

it. Yeah. And I don't know if my theology is that that's sophisticated to know when of that. Fair enough. And, and

curt:

I don't really, I've just heard Presbyterian using a joke sometime and I can't remember which side of that is even on. Anyway, I digress. So we won't, I don't think there's a lot more to dig onto in that topic. No. Um, in the family segment, and I know your kids are mostly grown now, but I always ask for a one word description of each of your children who's, uh, who's eager to go first with that challenge.

mike:

Uh, I'll go that, that I've got two children, uh, a. And a daughter. Okay. And, and if you could name 'em and give them, uh, my daughter's name is Colleen. She's married, has two kids. They live in Monument. Hi Colleen. Her husband is, uh, works for, he's a contractor for, uh, Peterson Air Force Base. Oh. Uh, he is a very intelligent individual. He has a PhD in astronomical engineering. Wow. His specialty was propulsion systems on satellites. Okay. And he heads up a group that does software programs for offensive and defensive satellite movements and Star Wars action. He goes to the Pentagon about once

curt:

a month. And this is your My son. Son-in-law, sir. In life. So your daughter's husband Monument. And what's your, what's your daughter's one word.

mike:

My daughter's one word would. competitive. Hmm.

curt:

Uh, she's, oh, she got herself a nerdy scientist as a husband.

mike:

Competitive in a lot of things. Yeah. She loves to run my son. Oh, wow. My son is in Coeur d'Alene. Oh, nice. And is married and has, uh, two kids, a son and a daughter, Steven and, and Aaron. Steven is a high high school junior, six four. Uh, it's interesting, we take our grandkids, we tried to take 'em to a one-on-one experience to either Washington, DC uh, New York City, Philadelphia, or Boston when they were 13. Okay. And he was the first, and we got him at 13, but he at that time was six foot four And when he had his little. Identification thing. Everybody would look at him and say, no, you can't be. This isn't you, you're not that young. Cuz he was so tall and big. But in any event, he's, uh, they, they lived there. My son has always been a stay-at-home dad, but he's a computer techie. Okay. And so he did a lot of work for school systems vis-a-vis, uh, computer staying at home. Yeah. His wife is a pharmacist and she's in charge of the, uh, pharmacy departments at the Coeur d'Alene Hospital. And if I had to describe him, it would be, um, intellectual. Hmm

curt:

hmm. I like it. Well, it sounds like they've both, both your kids have carved out really impactful paths and in communities that they, you know, are involved in and care a lot about. Um, how, like did you, were you pretty intentional about like celebrating family in your background, Mike or. Or, you know, with was with the loss of your wife. They, they were kids, right. Still even, they were, they were grown, but they were kids.

mike:

They were still kids. They were freshman and sophomore of college. And you know, one of the things I will say about Fort Lewis at that point in time is they really stepped up to the plate. Mm-hmm. Um, they started them, they watched the kids, the professors watched the kids. They had counseling available for 'em. Um, and so they really were concerned about their wellbeing, um, with that accident. So, yeah. But yeah. Um, I was raised in a family that appreciated family. Yeah. Um, we always had family around. Part of your dna. Part of the dna, yeah.

curt:

Annie, do you want to take the same uh, same path? Yeah. Yeah. You got

annie:

three? I Yeah, I have three. Um, so was it one word for each kid? Yeah, one

curt:

word. Word for each kid. And, uh, we could, if you only had a couple of grandkids, I would try that. But if anyway, just might go a little too long if we try to do it all for grandkids. Yeah. So that's what, so I'm just gonna, so one word for each kid, but you can kind of give 'em a quick description and shout out.

annie:

That's what I'll do if you'd like. I'll do a quick description. Okay. So my oldest is Erian. Ooh. And she and her husband live in Friday Harbor. And they are passionate about the environment, the sea, the orcas, the sea, the sea starfish. They have a film where, where is that? They're, it's to the west of Seattle. They're the San Juan Islands. Yeah. Yeah. So they're in a San Juan Island. She's extraordinarily artistic. Um, and so they've cri carved out a niche for the Salish Seas. For the orcas and the, what an interesting thing, the Sea, the starfish. Um, yeah. So they're, they're an abundance of talents and giving and um, and they're both

curt:

focused

annie:

on the same challenge too. Yeah, they're both on the same, they're on the same challenge. So she's, that's pretty exciting. Um, an extraordinary woman. Um, talented. So that is Allan. They don't have any kids. That's three words.

curt:

I know. Sorry, sorry. Where did you come up with Erian?

annie:

Um, I didn't, she did. Oh. She chose a different name, with, with life and some of the life, the bumps she had, she couldn't have her initial name, so she changed it to Erian. Oh, that's cool. Fits her beautifully. I love it. Yeah. So my, my middle son is Chad. Okay. And he and his wife live in Park City and they have two kids. Mm-hmm. And he, his wife's a teacher and he's in a startup company called Cere Bell. Okay. Which should might be a, um, startup company and I p o next year. Oh, wow. He's a really, really cool, he's gr fast and doing stuff. He, and he's done a lot of work. He's started all the,

curt:

he's

annie:

a key guy in there thing. He's a, he's a key guy. He's an out of the. Box type of thinker. He's really smart, he's dedicated. Um, he's had some, he calls himself an alley cat. He, he's, he's a little fighter.

curt:

Um, but that's fair. Uh, is that his word is ally cat? I might, that seems like smart. I might call him, you know what, I might, that's what he calls himself. I

annie:

might call him an alley cat. Yeah.

curt:

The one that you love more than any other alley cat. That's a, that's a

mike:

good word. That's

annie:

a good word. And then, then my youngest is Deanne and she lives in Boulder. Uh, she's a professional photography photographer that is getting, um, noticed by Nikon, by unbelievable international. Um, that's pretty

mike:

cool. People are international recognition. Yeah. She's,

curt:

yeah. Quite something in this day. Especially because when, in this day everybody has a camera in their pocket and there's a million photographs a second going onto the internet. Exactly. you know, so she's, uh, so consistently catch people's attention

annie:

is a something. Yeah. Yeah. And she's just, she's a beautiful, beautiful, caring, loving woman.

curt:

Hmm, fair enough. Um, politics is last, right? Because we already did faith. We already did family. So, um, one of the things I was thinking when we were reading together the four way test, is that maybe the, one of those four things that I struggle with the most is of the things we think sand do, uh, build goodwill and better friendships. Cuz sometimes I just say stuff, whether or not everybody wants to hear it or not. It might be true, it might be fair, it might, et cetera, but it doesn't always build goodwill in, uh, a diverse organization or whatever. Mm-hmm. So I don't know what you want to do with that, but I thought I would throw it out there as an initial, uh, conversation starter in the realm of politics. Cuz that's, we talked a lot about rotary and if you're gonna clump together diverse groups of people, you're gonna have some politics here and there.

annie:

I'm gonna start this one because this one I've really thought about lately and I read a book, um, and what is the book called? Um. Blink. No, not blink, Kyle, that's gonna come to me in a second. But one of the, the tenants of the book is that we're all, many times you're in a stream like a river and the river's got a really deep river bed, and many times you get in that riverbed and that's the only way you wanna go. You wanna be on the Colorado River and you wanna go just one place over the ocean, all the way to the ocean. That's it. You don't want any tributaries, you don't want anybody else coming in. And I was in a, they liken that to many times in politics, that you're just that riverbed. And the deeper you get in that riverbed, the more you're sunken those, your channel sinks. Yeah. So what I'm really open trying to open my mind to, I'm more of a conservative. Personality. That's the way I've been raised. I'm a small entrepreneur. I'm a little business person. Yeah. That's small

curt:

government, small regulations. Exactly. Small. Tell me what to do. Right.

annie:

That's more my, my mindset. But I don't wanna be so stuck in my riverbed that I don't let tributaries come in and Yeah. And feed some things into, feed some other things. So I'm trying to be open to that. So that's where my politics are standing right now.

mike:

Fair enough. And, and I would agree with that. Um, I think I'm an unusual attorney because most of my brethren are very, very liberal minded. Yeah. Yeah. Um, I tend to be more conservative. Yeah. Um,

curt:

if I had, was that a thing during your

mike:

locker? Um, well, it was because in several, several times I did run for political office. Oh. Um, I ran for city council here in Fort Collins. Okay. Um, I also ran for the mayor of the small town that I originally started practicing in. Oh really?

curt:

Um, oh wow. So you've been politically active, so, well, not in some ways, in some ways at least. Politically curious. Yeah. Curious. And because that's, you were young when you ran for city council in that little town when Yeah. So

mike:

I've always been of a conservative bent. Mm-hmm. it, it. poses some interesting questions with my brethren in the law profession because they're more on the, on the liberal side. Yeah. And so we, but to me what that does is that provides really fertile ground for great discussions. Yeah. Yeah. And when you open your mind and you listen to what somebody's saying, and then pose a different way to approach that same thing from a discussion level without being emotional, without being angry, without calling names. Yeah. It's really interesting what you can learn.

curt:

Totally. It was one of my favorite things was having deep, long running conversations with people that disagreed with me. Yeah. Yeah. I, if they're hard to find anymore, but, um, I still enjoy them a lot. It looks like I won't really find it here.

annie:

Well, are you gonna do the Braver Angels or are you gonna attend the Braver Angels?

curt:

I should, yes. Let's talk about the Braver Angels. Yeah. Yeah. Um, that's a February 9th, come out in February. February 9th. So this three hours probably be coming out and it's a, the Rotary Club is kind of sponsoring a thing to like, Be willing to engage

annie:

in idea, the idea, the diversity, equity,

mike:

inclusion. Yeah. People from different perspectives. Yeah. At the same table. Learning how to talk to each other and listen to each other without casting stones. Yeah. With

annie:

inflammatory subjects.

curt:

Right. And we have to talk about inflammatory subjects. Yes, we do. So which inflammatory subject would you like to talk about right now while we're talking the politics segment? Should we talk about d e i, No, I think, well,

mike:

to me I think a really inflammatory one is what's going on at the border.

curt:

Right? A hundred percent. I mean, that's terrible. I, I was listening to Ben Shapiro the other day and he is like, and so they keep calling it a situation on the border and clearly it's not a crisis. Uh, a crisis is when one busload of migrants gets sent to somebody's, you know, to, uh, Mount Vernon. Uh, a situation is what 5 million illegals have crossed the border in the last 24 months. Yeah.

mike:

Or like the last visit to the board, to, uh, El Paso that, uh, our president did, where he got to see a totally sanitized border where there weren't any immigrants sleeping on the streets or, you know,

curt:

doing all the things that they, yeah, there was a, a meme on, uh, the Twitter where it was like, uh, El Paso before Biden's visits. Then it's like this crackhead dude with missing teeth and stuff, and then El Paso at the time of Biden's visits. It's like, Underwear model, you know, Yes,

mike:

absolutely. See this? I

annie:

mean, yeah. This is, they're liars. They are, they're,

curt:

they're not just, not Biden per se, although he is, but the media is such a liar, liar, pants

annie:

on fire in days. It is in that, I mean, right there, the media, I mean, that's, that's an inflammatory situation right there. Right. Just the media.

curt:

Well, and all of a sudden, what's the truth? Elon Musk in the last two years went from being a hero to being a terrible person, cuz he wants to have free speech on Twitter, apparently. Exactly. Absolutely. I know what an asshole, I I know

mike:

the media. I know the media thinks he's terrible. I know, right? I know, I know. That's because they're, he's gonna expose a lot of what's been going on. Yeah, yeah,

annie:

yeah. I know. Yeah. So, so I think braver angels gonna be an interesting evening. Yeah.

curt:

So both of you guys, I would say, are kind of in that I'm conservative, but, but there's no reason for me to hate you because you are not. Exactly, yeah. And, and there's no reason. You'd hate me

annie:

exactly what you think if I'm conservative. Yeah. So that's, yeah. So that's kind of, yeah, it's,

mike:

you just have to listen to people. One example would be, one of my really, really good friends is a really avid fly fisherman with me. Okay. And he's very liberal. Yep. And I'm fairly conservative. Yep. But we can go on these trips. on a six hour drive in a car where we spend six hours talking about all these issues, Right. And we spend time in a drift boat drifting down the river talking about these issues, right? And it's like, okay, he, he, you know, he says things that he believes in. And I ask him a lot of questions about, why do you believe in that? What, what facts can you give me to support that? And when he's done on an issue, then I'll say, well, you know, I think about it a little differently. This is how I think about it. Yeah. Yeah. And we talk about that. And I give him all the facts and everything else. And at the end of it, I look at him and I say, you know, David, you've given me some really interesting things I didn't think about. Yeah. And he'll tell me the same thing. He said, you've caused me to think about this differently, and I'm gonna go home and do some research and really think about it. Right.

curt:

and one thing that I, I like to observe is that to some extent we have different values. Mm-hmm. like yes we do. The faith thing is a big part of it. Right. I, I hope that we can all agree that most of the 10 commandments we should adhere to whether we believe in God or not, because Yes. Yeah. It's just like, I like to call it 10 principles for your best. Good. Yeah. You know, it isn't, but, but also like, You know, to think about Covid thing, like for some people, one in 200 chance you might die is like, oh, whatever. for other people, one in 200 chance you might die is like, oh my God, I'm not leaving my house for two years. Right. And you don't, you dare come into my house without your mask on. Yeah, that's true. Right? And so we just, that's not like you can't program that kind of a values difference in, and that has nothing to do with your faith or not faith or things like that. It's just like, oh, just a one and 200 chance I'm good. I'm gonna go, I'm gonna go on a bus trip,

annie:

40 other, 80 other people, get on a plane on a trip. Well go on a plane and go breathe 500.

curt:

Yeah. Fair enough. Yeah. Uh, Annie, anything else in the political realm that you'd care to share or we feel like we've tossed that around just enough? Yeah, I

annie:

just try to be, well, well-read. I try to read things, I try to look, read from multiple, many sources. Many sources. That's that's the thing. Yeah. I really try to. and I don't, you know, and I don't like being accused of reading one thing or only watching Fox. That's where my ire gets, when somebody labels me, it's like mm-hmm. Give, I think

curt:

Confucius said, uh, a good understanding requires many sources. Yeah, absolutely. If he didn't, he should have. Yeah. He

annie:

should have Exactly. So, yeah. So there,

curt:

that was good, I thought on that. Um, have you guys thought about your local experiences, like that's that crazy moment, situation week that you'd like to share more about it?

mike:

Well, I don't know if it's a loco experience, but the one that popped to my mind is when I first came to town. Okay. And one of my first civil lawsuit cases in town, uh, was with an attorney who had been here quite a while, Ellery Wilmarth. Okay. Most people recognize that name is up. Ery. Yep. Because he was quite, Quite a well-known attorney. He was a very good attorney. Okay. Uh, I was just a young whipper snapper, right? We had a civil case together and he kind of said, Mike, if you wanna settle this case, this is how you're gonna settle it. And I said, no, Willie ery, um, that's not right. I think we can do better. Yeah, that's, we can do better than that. And he said, no, we can't. So I said, okay, we'll go to trial. So we went to trial and the judge. trialed with the judge and it was Judge Ball who was a really, really neat guy. Um, older judge. And so we're in his courtroom. No, no jury, no nothing. Mm-hmm. we're arguing and the witnesses are testifying and I'm jumping up and objecting to the, you know, cuz it wasn't right. And my witnesses are testifying and he's jumping up and objecting because it, you know. Yeah, yeah. Finally Judge Ball said time out and he pushed his microphone away so the microphone wouldn't pick up any of the discussion. Right. He said, you guys come up to the bench. And we got up to the bench and he looked at ery and he looked at me and he said, do you guys think I'm stupid? And we looked at him and said, well, well, why? He said, because you're acting like a bunch of idiots. He said, you don't need to jump up and object everything under the sun. I know what's proper and what's not proper And so we went back and we finished the case rather quickly after that. And, uh, I did win by the way, Mike client won. And after that, ery and I got along very well together. You earned his, uh, earned respect. I earned his respect. So that's just one thing that I would say. Yeah, I like

curt:

it. I, well, it's like the, the old dog, uh, uh, teaching a trick at the same time that he a, appreciates someone and whatever, you know, he may or may not have known. Like you, you might have cow toed to his offer and just like called it good. But the fact that you pushed back and stood up to him, I suspect won a lot of respect from him.

mike:

And, and that's very true. Yes.

curt:

Yeah. I'm sure you faced him again.

mike:

Oh, I did and you know, I had the similar experience with several other, the older guys around town and yeah, you have to whip 'em once for 'em to

curt:

respect you. And do you remember any times when you got whipped the same thing? Oh, yeah. I mean,

mike:

not, not many, but, uh, yes,

curt:

I didn't get beat as much as Hillary did, but, Annie, do you got anything, uh, that come to mind when we were talking about that?

annie:

Yeah, I've got, I'm, I've got a few, but I'm doing real short and mine are more humbling experiences and being a Colorado native and climbing fourteeners and Round Mountains. And we took a group to, um, the Tin Qera. And so the Chin Qera is five little villages and you can take hikes between the five little villages. Oh, like in Peru or something? No, it's in, it's in, um, Italy. It's in the, the way northern part of Italy. Okay. The, yeah. The Alps part or the, no, it's the, it's the northwest part of the Italy. It's on the coast. Okay. And they're five little towns. And that's why it's called Chink five Terra. Five lands. Five lands. So, so anyways, so we had this little group, and so one of the days was we were gonna do a hike from one village to the other village. And so people were saying, well, Anne, this is just gonna be easy. Yeah, it's a piece of cake. You know, it says it's along the, you know, we're just locked around the coast, but it's on the cliffs. Well, what had happened there had been all these big mudslides in, in rain. So the hike was straight up, and I mean more rigorous than any 14 i I had ever climbed on. And I thought, oh my God, I got my butt. Kicked on this little hike between two little towns and the chin qera. So that was a very humbling experience. Yeah. Yeah. So that, that was a, how many people did you have along? I th Well, we started out with like 10, in like half of 'em,

curt:

half or so that was one case where the travel agent didn't really add the insider's knowledge.

annie:

No, no, no. I'm, I misled them. And just the first part of it, you get

curt:

em Mulligan once in a while, Annie, it's cool. I'm cool with

mike:

it. That was a plan B that wasn't planned.

annie:

And another really simple one is, again, Mike had never climbed a fourteener and we thought, ah, we'll get, we'll get you on a fourteener. So we were doing Mount Evans, which is supposed to be, you know, kind of one of the easiest fourteeners around. So we get to the summit, which you're supposed to be there by noon. We were there by noon. We were coming down and a lightning storm came in and we almost all got killed. Wow. And again, I don't, we've not climbed a fourteeners since. And that has been like, um, that was 18 years ago, But the lightning, and just again, you're, yeah.

curt:

You're like, okay, everybody lay down on the ground, and run. But

annie:

those are, those are humbling experiences that you just kind of, you, you need those in life. And I, I've had a lot. Yeah. You know, and I keep getting them and I'm, I welcome them and hopefully I learn something.

curt:

So maybe I used to say, or I've said before a few times, like from the start of. Really my college career and then into industry and in banking and stuff. Like, I went from like 15 to 35 and didn't really eat any humble pie. Yeah. And then when I went independent and entrepreneur, it was like, that was all, that was on the menu for like five years And uh, it really made me so much better of a person. Yeah. You know, and to see like the quality of people I could hire for nine bucks an hour plus tips. And they were just as smart as I was, you know, on my food trailer and things. And just to recognize that economic disparity and and appreciate the, the opportunities that had been placed before me. The humble pie. Yeah. Yeah. Including the humble pie. The humble pie. Yeah. Um, have you guys had any crazy experiences together that came to mind? Well,

mike:

well, that one was together with, I guess it was Yeah. The lightning storm with

curt:

our

annie:

kids. Yeah. Um, that one was, um, I'm gonna do another little humble pie. One is, again, I've thought I've always really been healthy. And I was in Boulder, um, eight years ago and I was acting strange. And my daughter said, mom, you're having a stroke? And I said, no, I'm not. I wanna go home and have a cup of tea. She said, no, we're gonna take you to the hospital. Wow. They said, you know, and I said, I don't wanna stay. Anyway, long story short, I had, um, I flatlined two times. I have a pacemaker now. Oh, wow. And I had what's called a pericardial fusion, which is means a lot of liquid around my heart. Yeah. But I thought, here I am. I'm so healthy. Right.

curt:

And I skied the turns better than anybody. Well, and I skied the little booty,

annie:

and I, and I skied the day before. I skied the day

curt:

before. Sorry, I should be talking about your wife's booty, Mike. So, I

annie:

skied the day before with our rotary guys. Oh wow. And anyway, but yeah. But again, um, we were together. Um, he spent at the hospital with me together. Um, so that was a, that was one of those experiences you really don't wanna go through again. Yeah. But again, humble pot. Here you are. Here I am. Here I am. So I was, seems more seriously, you know? Yeah. And I was meant, my heart's. People say, how are you? And I got, I'm just glad I'm here. I mean, that's what so many people say, good to see you. It's like, yeah,

mike:

that was an experience. You, you really don't wanna see. Yeah. Anyway, so I mean, yeah. I mean, the flat lining and Right. Highs rolling back, ugh. 15 doctors rushing in with paddles. Oh my gosh. My unit was not

curt:

twice. Well, thank God your daughter like got you ahead of that instead of you just being halfway through your cup of tea when

annie:

stuff went down. No, I just wanna go take a nap and have a cup of tea. Right. Oh, you're gonna have to nap and die outta sleep. Yeah.

curt:

Yeah. Die Wow. Um, before we let you go, because you do have such extensive travel experience, like, not historically necessarily, but if you, as you imagine all the 60, 70, 80, a hundred places maybe you've been to, like, what are some of your favorites? that people could go to like next year or two years from now or whatever, because geopolitical and, and costs and all these things change so much from time to time, right? Mm-hmm. that's one of the interesting things about travel is where can I have fun, not die and g make a good, get a good deal. Okay. I've,

annie:

I've, I've got all sorts. So one that people don't always know about is Jordan and going to. Okay. Petra is the, it's called the Rose City. I've heard of it. Yeah. It, it, it is, it's fabulous. And you can combine it with Egypt. Egypt's always welcoming people. Yeah. Um, seeing the pyramids going down. They're good for people that keep coming. There they are. Yeah. Seeing the pyramids going down the Nile, there's always new pyramids. It's safe. It's safe. There's always new pyramids being, um, discovered. Um, there's new, everything's being discovered. I mean, there's so much underground is buried in her sand or whatever. Oh, yeah. Well, yeah. Well, treasures, yeah, there's, um, yeah, lots of

curt:

tombs of different tombs and stuff. Tombs. Gotcha. So like they're awfully big too.

mike:

Yeah. Yeah. I didn't, yeah. Some of the new equipment they have now can penetrate the ground. Yeah. Yeah. And they can see cavities

curt:

in the ground. You know, I've been hearing about some, on some podcasts, like how many different caverns and connections some of Egypt has on

annie:

and stuff, so, yeah. Yeah. So that's, that's one that people are, it kind is off people's radar. And Jordan is kind of off people's radar for sure. I never really thought about that. Yeah. I'm Switzerland's an absolutely no-brainer. People know about that

curt:

though. But it, it's worth it. It is worth it. It's like when I thought, oh, the Broadmore can't possibly be worth twice as much as I've ever spent for a hotel. And then I stayed down there for a week and I was like, shit, they should charge four times as much

annie:

Well, and there's a place in Switzerland called the Young Fra, which means young lady, ah. And you could go, you take up this train and go up there and there's like, you go into a ice, um, glacier and it's like you're at a, a James Bond place, I think. Wow. Some of James Bond movies have been, um, voted there, but that's great. That's something that is Yeah. Very striking.

curt:

Very striking. Mike, any you, have you been traveling quite a bit now with Annie? Yeah. Yeah. Like since you guys got together and even

mike:

helping, helping our groups since you retire? I was so fortunate to be able to go along because I, I count noses and slept bags, Right, right. Annie puts

curt:

a trip

mike:

together. Right. You got the easy work. I got the easy work. But, uh, now one of the places I I'm in love with, and we go back to in a heartbeat is Costa Rica. Mm-hmm. I mean, it's a beautiful place to visit. The people are friendly, the food is good. You can go from mountains to beaches to jungles.

Uh,

curt:

I agree. It's a great place myself and, uh, a group of about 10 went down there back in 2012, I think. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And we all came back and without talking about it, we all individually like researched how to move to Costa Rica. Yeah. Like it was, I know. So a lot welcoming and just, and not rich, you know, we were riding old bicycles in the next village down and stuff, and I kind of wanna live that way. I know, I

annie:

think a lot of people do. A lot of expats are in Costa Rica.

curt:

For sure. For sure. Yeah. Yeah. Well, um, You know, you guys aren't pedaling anything. I guess just rotary. Uh, if you want to learn more about Rotary, you can look it up with your Google, little Rotary International. If you're not here in Fort Collins or if you want to find the best Rotary Club in northern Colorado, it's the Fort Collins Breakfast Club. Breakfast Club. There you go. Clearly. And, uh, you could find that. And any last words of wisdom or a favorite phrase, Mike?

mike:

No, this has been fun. Thank you for doing this. I've enjoyed it. Good. I'm glad

annie:

I have too. Thank you so

curt:

much. Well, thanks for being a treat. Great givers to the community and to our club and, and for taking the time to be here today. Oh, thank you.

annie:

God. Speed. Yeah, God speak. God speed. Yes.