Don’t Trust Anyone Under 90

(Pitkin) Melvin O’Toole moved here in 1896 from County Sligo, in the Republic of Ireland and has never left. He’s seen the changes and gone with the times. Up until 1966, he was still trading with Blue Mesa Utes and making his own sagebrush whiskey.

Since that trans-Atlantic journey he has never been as far away as Gunnison.

“In 112 years I have never seen the reason to go anywhere,” said O’Toole from his front porch hammock. “I don’t need anything.”

The last time the spry centenarian saw downtown Ohio City was back in the spring of 1896 on his initial (and only) trek up the valley to his present domicile. He doesn’t remember much about Parlin but recalls crossing the plains by train and getting knee-walking with Lebanese sheep shearers in White Pine.

“It’s hard to believe that during all those years the man never ventured into Gunnison,” said Dr Richard “Trinidad” Rimhorne, a history fellow at Tomichi Junior College. “I think he be a charlatan…a liar!

Another resident of Pitkin, Mary “Sorry” Moss, 99, says she doesn’t remember an O’Toole family but that there was a lumberjack staying up at the Tilford Aviary up until 1945.

“That could have been him but I can’t say for sure.”

Moss told the Horseshoe that she had been to Gunnison 7 times since 1907, sometimes for supplies and sometimes “just for fun”.

“I’ll keep an eye out for him around town now that I know you’re looking for him,” she chirped.

A host of Gunnison merchants have offered incentives and prizes if O’Toole will only  set foot within the city limits for an afternoon. Apparently some feel that the Pitkin man’s saga could generate negative publicity as to the desirability of Gunnison as a destination.

“There’s nothing the matter with Gunnison,” chimed Moss. “I like it far better than Vulcan.”

When asked if he would take the loot, O’Toole suggested that his benefactors might deliver.   

 “I’ll have to think about this one,” he frowned. “How long do I have to answer?”

O’Toole’s premier CD, “I’m Leavin’ Town” is due out in June.

– Suzie Compost

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