By Karl Klooster • Staff Writer • 

Something more to show and tell

Added info and other oddments call for supplements and complements

Merrill Denney installs his toothpaste bike rack in the parking lot of Dr. Ingrid Viljak’s office on NE Baker St. in McMinnville.
Thriller novelist and private pilot John Trudel sells copies of his books at airshows around.
Norman Rockwell’s June 1927 Saturday Evening Post cover illustration included the logo of Harper Jamison stationery store in McMinnville.
Willamina dentist Dr. Gary Brooks shows off his intricately detailed model of the once busy railroad depot in Grand Ronde.
Nefarious fairy Holly Goodman turns associate Kristina Stephens to the dark side for their Holly-Ween capers.

 Insufficient space caused the omission of some photos and details from recent features. Each has a contribution to make and deserves a place in print.

So be it.


Pilot plot

Revisiting the near-future world of techno-thriller novelist John Trudel, “Theory on a thrill ride,” Oct. 6,” we find that not only does he shift his plots and protagonists back and forth among far-flung places, he engages in some high-flying adventures of his own.

Trudel owns a 1966 vintage twin engine Beechcraft that he pilots around the western United States. He and his wife are frequent fliers between McMinnville and Mesa, the Arizona community where they maintain a winter home.

These snowbirds with their own wings have become well acquainted with small airports around the West as a result. They’ve made many friends among fellow pilots and airport personnel.

They travel to airshows at which Trudel sells his two thriller novels, “God’s House” and “Privacy Wars.” It’s only the beginning for this former high security engineer who has found a new profession in print.


Train in training

Willamina dentist Dr. Gary Brooks volunteers untold hours of his time and considerable talent on behalf of the community. Such selfless efforts can be measured in the success of projects around the town, not the least of which is an old rail bus with a busload of local history.

The old White bus from the 1920s converted to use as a rail commuter conveyance in the 1920s on the tracks between Grand Ronde and Whiteson put Willamina right in the middle of the action.

Brooks and his wife were instrumental in returning the railbus, affectionally dubbed the Galloping Goose, to town after an 80-year absence.

He then located two elderly men who rode it when they were small children. That became the subject of the Nov. 2 Connections feature, “Two trips on the trolley.”

Not included, however, was the fact that Brooks, a master at crafting miniature scale models, had crafted an intricately detailed model of the Grand Ronde Depot the Goose once called home.


Nefarious fairy

Holly Goodman, ad sales ace with the Oregon Wine Press, leads many alternative lives on and around the haunted eve of Halloween. And they were chronicled in the Nov. 27 feature, “Holly-Ween.”

When she dons wings and wields the wand, she is dangerous to the nth degree. Just ask unsuspecting associate Kristina Stephens, who fell under her beguiling spell and was transformed into an evil black fairy bent on spreading noxious coal dust wherever she flitters.

Connections and reconnections come in many and surprising forms as the following examples show.


Long ago logo

McMinnville resident Carl Mendenhall tells of a trip to New England, where he visited the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

The iconic American illustrator, who could be called Mark Twain with a paint brush, created hundreds of slice-of-life images. They capture the essence of American idealism from the 1920s through the 1960s.

A Saturday Evening Post cover from June 4, 1927, shows a boy sitting on a wooden box painting entwined red hearts on the back of a girl’s coat as she glances warily over her shoulder. It was among the hundreds of Post covers Mendenhall viewed while visiting the museum.

But it was not the playful and endearing imagery that caught his attention. Rather, he was taken aback by a round black logo incongruously appearing on the lower left.

Rotated so it appeared sideways, the logo read: “Harper Jamison McMinn-ville, Oregon. Books. Stationery. Gift Shop. Kodaks.”

Was this a paid advertisement? There was no way to determine that without perusing an actual copy of the magazine.

To this point, the mystery remains. It’s yet another example of how strange, interesting and sometimes perplexing the world can be.


Tubular dude

Bike rack baron Merrill Denney of Dayton is at it again.

As you may recall from “Cycling security,” Aug. 14, 2010, Denney designs and manufactures durable, secure bike racks with flair for cities across the country.

He calls his firm Creative Metalworks. And “creative” it is, as some of his bike racks are simply amazing.

His very first was Penny Farthing, a turn-of-the-century, high-wheel bike replica installed at the corner of N.E.  Third and Evans streets in downtown McMinnville. It’s next to Serendipity Ice Cream.

He went on from there to complete commissions in 25 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. Several series of his installations were attached to parking meters.

After that story ran, he biked across the country, by himself. He ended up raising his bike over his head in the Atlantic surf of Virginia.

To put it mildly, Denney is a guy on the move. He’s may be in his 50s, but that doesn’t stop him from taking long, grueling bike rides or playing competitive soccer

And despite the big jobs, he’s happy to do small, one-of-a-kind kinetic sculptures if he sees a challenge in them.

He recently completed a stunningly simple yet arrestingly imaginative bike rack for McMinnville dentist Ingrid Viljak.

This piece of inspired artistic genius lies in the back of her Northeast Baker Street parking lot.

You can’t miss it. Hint: The toothpaste is flowing out of the tube.

And that’s what I found out while OUT and ABOUT — going back and forth, to and fro, in and out and about between near past, quite recent and speculative future stories.

Karl Klooster can be reached by e-mail at or phone at 503-687-1227.

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