May 31, 2002
Dear Subscriber:

I can go weeks sometimes without making mistakes in the 
newsletter big enough to necessitate a correction and an
apology. Last week, however, was not one of those weeks.

No, I'm not referring to the gaff concerning the date of the
attack on Pearl Harbor. (I said it was 1945. That was the year
the war ended. The attack took place in December of 1941. I
could say I knew that all along and that it was a simple lapse
in continuity, but why bother? Nobody's going to believe me.)

Quite enough of you wrote in and informed me of that mistake.

It's comforting to know this newsletter has one writer and over
3,000 editors.

No, my BIG mess-up was erroneously informing you that all
campgrounds were closed in the Sacramento Mountain District due
to extreme fire hazard conditions. The fact is, the hosted
campgrounds remain open, but only propane-fired stoves are
allowed. No campfires.

The campgrounds that remain open are Silver Saddle Apache,
Silver Saddle Overflow, Pines, Deerhead and Sleepy Grass.

Sorry for any inconvenience my shabby reporting may have caused

I used to be a news reporter in another life. I wrote and
delivered radio newscasts for many years. I got a sense of how
much people depended upon the news-man's accuracy. It was a
good feeling when I was able to supply listeners with valuable
information. On the other hand, I was left feeling pretty silly
when I made mistakes.

I was 19 years old and on my own. I had a job at a Liberal,
Kansas radio station. I was at that age between adult-hood and
adolescence when no one could tell me anything I didn't already

My duties were multifaceted. I was primarily a disc-jockey
("this is Sheriff Don with 45s on each hip...spinning the hits
with little lip"), but my favorite job was doing the news.

I had just closed the microphone on what I thought was an
excellent newscast when the Program Director of the station
called me into his office. I was sure as I sat down that I was
going to be applauded for the wonderful job I was doing. Heck,
I was probably up for a raise.

The P.D. dispensed with the pleasantries and moved directly to
the chase.

"Where is Tuckson?"

I smiled. "In Arizona, of course. I just did a news story
about a double homicide in Tuckson".

I think the P.D. jumped to his feet. It was hard to tell,
because he was on the other side of his desk and he was
pretty short.

"That's 'TOO-SONN', you pea brain!"

I was embarrassed, shocked, hurt, scared, confused and a little
wet, because he spit a little when he said "TOO-SONN".

"So, why do they spell it T-U-C-S-O-N?" I countered.

"How should I know?" ranted the Program Director. "I guess it's
the same reason you pronounce P-H-O-E-N-I-X 'FEENIX'".

There was a pause and then I said, "It's pronounced 'FEENIX'??
I thought..."

Plop. A thick paperback hit the top of the short P.D.'s desk.
On the front was printed "Commonly Mispronounced Words".

"Take this home and read it. You DO know how to read, don't

Most of the Program Directors I knew during my radio career
were proficient in mean and tacky insults.

In any case, I left his office humbled, paperback in hand and
realizing a raise was probably out of the question.

I worked in news for the first 6 of my 35 years in radio. It
was interesting, but very demanding. I did learn the proper
pronunciation of most words. I got a regular dose of late-night
calls, the tragedy of car accidents and homicides and the
numbing boredom of city council meetings and political speeches.

I decided to try my hand at something that took less
self-discipline, was less taxing on my intelligence, while at
the same time affording me the potential of a higher income.

For a while, I was a radio advertising salesman.

Don Vanlandingham

Large dark clouds tease us almost daily, but moisture levels
are still very low.

Highs right at 70. Lows around 40.

Forest restrictions remain in effect.
The village of Cloudcroft has imposed new water use
restrictions, effective immediately.

Use of automatic sprinklers or sprinkler systems is not allowed.

Hand watering is allowed only between 6pm and 6am.

No washing of vehicles or other equipment.
Fully-appointed 3 bedroom, 2 bath vacation homes. Rent one, or
for larger groups, rent them both. They're within walking
distance of each other, 5 minutes from the village in a semi-
secluded area.

Fully-equipped kitchens, satellite TV and VCR, gas grills,
towels and linins furnished. Telephones. Firewood furnished.

See the links to our web sites on the Lodging page of 
Cloudcroft.com or call us at 1-888-543-3600 (toll free).


Courtesy of Cloudcroft.com.


Q - How is the drought affecting the wildlife in the Sacramento

A - Most mountain wildlife is resilient and able to cope with
a lack of moisture and depleted food sources, but it has caused
an increased number of bear visits to the village. The bears
are in search of open dumpsters.
May 31 -- Melodrama. 7pm. Open air pavilion.

June 1 -- National Trails Day. 10K walk.
For information call (505) 682-3040.

June 1 -- Lake Lucero Tour. White Sands. Reservations
required. Call (505) 479-6124.

June 7, 8 -- Miss New Mexico Scholarship Pageant. Flickinger
Center. Alamogordo.

June 7, 8 -- Melodrama (CLOC). Open Air Pavilion, Zenith

June 8 -- Kiwanis Bingo. Community Center

June 9 -- Big Band swing. Alamogordo Ballroom. 2-5pm.

June 9 -- Father's Day brunch. Call (505) 682-2566 for details.

June 14-16 -- Western Roundup. Parade, pie auction, BBQ.
Street dance Saturday 7-11pm.

June 15-16 -- Cherry Festival. High Rolls. Arts, food.

June 28-30 -- Bluegrass Festival. Music all day.
Open Air Pavilion, Camp Chimney Springs.

July 4 -- Celebration of Independence Day in Cloudcroft.
Check with the Chamber of Commerce for events. (505) 682-2733.

July 6 -- July 4th weekend celebration. Zenith Park

July 7 -- Crystal River at Cloudcroft United Methodist Church.
This will be a patriotic service. 10:45am.

July 7 - Crystal River Return Engagement. Pavilion in Zenith
Park, 2pm.

July 12-13 -- Melodrama. Covered Pavilion.

July 13-14 -- July Jamboree.

July 13 -- Flower Show at the Community Center, l-5pm.

July 14 -- Street Dance. Burro Avenue.

July 27 -- Train Load of Talent. Covered Pavilion.

July 27 -- Chili Cook-off. Ski Cloudcroft.

August 16, 17, 18 -- Singing in the Clouds.

August 31-Sept. 2 -- Labor Day Fiesta.

August 31 -- Street Dance. Burro Avenue.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the second Sunday of each month,
2-4pm, in the Old Red Brick School House. Call (505) 682-2494
for more information. (Note day of the month change.)

Cloudcroft Gallery & Gifts is offering Pastel Workshops by
Norma Riley June 3-7, June 10-14, and June 17-21. For more
information, ask in the Gallery in the Burro Street Exchange
or call (505) 682-2630.

Mountain Garden Club meets every third Monday of each month.
Call (505) 682-2910 for more information.

Senior Van from Timberon to Alamogordo leaves the Timberon
Lodge promptly at 8:30am every Tuesday morning.

Free Vitals Clinic. Second Saturday of each month, 11am to 1pm.
James Canyon Fire Department, 2346 Highway 82.

If you have news of public events in the Cloudcroft area, email

For an online calendar of area events, click the Events Calendar
link in the left column of our home page:


Dear Newsletter:

Hi, I am sending a note of thanks to your school in Cloudcroft.

May 17th our Science Club from Blue Ridge Junior High School
in Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona traveled through your town on the
way home from Carlsbad. We had quite a few needing to use the
facilities and your kind principle let our students and
chaperons use the facilities.

Thank you so much for your kindness, the fresh air was a bonus,
also. You have a beautiful town and very nice people.

Thank you again, one of the chaperons,
Sherri Colan

Dear Newsletter:

Congratulations on your new vehicle. You will still be able to
change brake pads and rebuild the brakes. Plus, you can still
do all the interior work yourself.

You can no longer tune the car by turning the distributor.
Basically, you will need to get out your wallet.


Dear Newsletter:

We flew from Texas to Virginia on business, arriving after
dark. Our rental car turned out to be a 2001 Mitsubishi Montero
Sport 4WD. In the dimly lit parking lot, I must have washed the
rear window half a dozen times trying to find the light switch.

My assistant, Somphot - who thankfully understood those things
more than me (and who incidentally drives a Ford), finally found
the correct switch and we were on our way. We were impressed
with the Mitsubishi, especially the low road noise level. I
think you will like it. 

Keep up the good work, pet the cats, and keep the newsletters
coming! We look forward to our next visit to Cloudcroft. My
wife says she can have the suitcase packed in 10 minutes!

Dusty Bruns 
Comfort Texas

Dear Newsletter:

Well - I tried.

I did my most idiotic rain dance ever right on the front lawn
of our house in High Rolls. You see - every time I come out to
my place in New Mexico it rains. Every time.

I took a friend out to see my place fall a year ago, and it
rained the whole time we were there. She said "I thought you
lived in the desert?"

I was there last week - we left Friday, me broken hearted
because I thought my rain dance didn't work. I was happy to
hear the report of the Saturday rain and am really glad you
had more on Monday. I can see now that the clouds had decided
to tease me and wait until right after I left (ha ha).

I'm joking of course, but sometimes I have to wonder because
it does rain every time I come, even when it had not rained
for 3-4 months...hmmmm...you guys just need to buy me some
plane tickets....

Keep up to great reports.
Diana in Nashville

Dear Newsletter:

We were gone last winter from our home in High Rolls from
mid-Nov to mid-Feb. When we came thru Cloudcroft on our way
home, we didn't know of a missing couple, and the Cloudcroft
population had actually decreased by 2 people. I am referring
to Tom and RuthAnn Bland that owned the video store and
smoked-cheese shop on Hwy 82 at the east end of town.

I went by to see Tom and Ruth later only to find they were
conspicuous by their absence. Does any one out there know of
their whereabouts?

On another note: We lived for 17 years 3/4 mile off Cox Canyon
(Hwy 130) on the Upper Penasco Rd. Our old place that we were
very fond of was one of the first places to burn on the 2nd
day of the Penasco Fire. Our sympathy goes out to the Conners,
Williams and others that lost so much during the fire. Please
be careful out there.

Joe Hart
High Rolls, NM 

Dear Newsletter:

You did an outstanding job on covering the fires. The pictures
were unbelievable. We have a cabin in Cloud Country, so we
checked the computer daily to keep up with the news. We were
also in contact with our neighbors, who were ready to evacuate
if necessary. We are so thankful for ALL the firefighters-local
and out of state. Our son-in-law is a fireman in Lewisville, 
Texas so we are well aware of the danger these men and women
face in their occupation. God Bless them all!

On a lighter note-your hummingbird stories from viewers reminded
me of a great one about my husband Jaron. We have a large shop
building at our place in Weatherford, Texas. The hummingbirds
would fly in and out when the big doors were open.

Occasionally, they would fly to the top of the skylights and
get "trapped". Jaron would use a large pole to get them to
alight on and bring them down and let them fly away. One little
hummer was just exhausted and Jaron took him in his hands and
breathed on him and gave him a little water--then he flew away.

Minutes later he flew back and hovered in front of Jaron's face
as if to say "thanks, friend". We both get choked up thinking
about our little hummer. Of course, we love coming to our cabin
and seeing our New Mexico hummers every summer. We'll be there
June 8 for an 80th Birthday Celebration for my father-in-law
George Wilson of Duncan, Oklahoma. So, look out for all the
Okies and Texans that weekend.

Don, again thanks for your great newsletter!

Sherry Wilson
Weatherford, Tx &
Cloud Country Estates

Dear Newsletter:

We have just returned home to Carlsbad from another wonderful
weekend in Cloudcroft, enjoyed the Mayfair, and chose the newly
opened Cloud Mountain Inn for most of our meals. 

The new owners are so friendly, and the waitresses helpful and
nice. The food is so good, reasonably priced, and plenty to eat.
We have read the letters with all the controversy over
restaurants there and would highly recommend this one. We
certainly plan to return.

We drove from Mayhill down Cox Canyon. Your firefighters must
be an amazing group of men and women! 

We sure do enjoy your newsletter and look forward to it every

Roger & Peggy Dunlap
Carlsbad, NM

Dear Newsletter:

Our recent stay at "The Lodge" this past weekend was one that
we will never forget. First of all, I personally want to thank
"Steve" at Flowers Casita for the beautiful roses I ordered. I
have bought many flowers in the past, but this arrangement made
my fiancee cry because they were indeed beautiful.

Also we both want to thank those employees at "The Lodge" at
the front desk who were so nice and polite and made our stay
one to remember. And finally we both want to thank those
employees at Rebecca's Restaurant at The Lodge for the excellent
food and service.

Saturday night, May 25th, I proposed to my girlfriend and all
the arrangements I made went exactly as planned.

We met many new faces and have made new friends and we are
planning on returning in the future for our wedding.

Thank you all so much.

Edward Clark & Maria Hiles
Odessa, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

Well, I hate to say it, but I think you and my husband Jay must
be brothers. In fact, I'm convinced, or maybe all you guys out
there in the world are brothers.

We, or rather JAY, has owned a 32" color TV for about 10 years
now. One evening when I was upstairs in his office working on
my computer, I was listening to HIS TV in the background and I
overheard something really interesting, so turned around to
watch HIS TV, but there was no picture on the screen. I looked
over at him and there HE was sitting in his recliner, earphones
on HIS head looking at a blank screen.

I got up, walked over to him, spread the earphones apart from
his ears and ask what was wrong with HIS TV? He just looked at
me and said, oh, the picture will be back on in a minute, sure
enough it came back on.

I replaced HIS earphones came back to my work and turned around
again and there was no picture again.

Finally, I shouted at him to tell me what in the world was wrong
with the picture. He said, oh, it goes off all the time, just
wait and the picture will return. Again, I ask, how long have
you been watching YOUR TV like this, and he replied, oh, I don't
know maybe a two or three months. Duh?

I said, OK, Saturday we're driving into Austin and you're going
to buy YOURSELF a new one, they have pictures on them now.

So, on Saturday he bought a brand new 36" TV, but was too cheap
to have it delivered. He did though, at no charge have them load
it into the back of HIS pick-up and I kept thinking all the way
home, how are we going to unload this thing, since there are
only the two of us who live in this house and HIS new TV weighs
at least 1,000 pounds, plus how are we going to get it upstairs.

Well, he backed the truck up to the patio landing and together
we pushed it out onto a four wheeled dolly onto the front walk.
So far, so good, now what? With that old furniture moving dolly
we were able to get it into the house. So, for a week it sat in
the box, downstairs, in the middle of the living room floor
while he kept watching the blank screen upstairs. I kept
wondering if HE thought the new TV might magically fly upstairs.
He's really getting hard to figure out.

One week later relatives came to visit, the TV was still in
its box in the middle of the floor. What a nice visit they had
too, they went home in back braces because they had to help us
push the 36" monstrosity up the stairs.

Well, it's upstairs now on its stand, but you'll never guess
where the old TV is? Of course, it's sitting right on the floor
next to the new TV.

I mean, not to be stupid or anything, but I ask him why we
didn't take the old TV downstairs while our relatives were here
and he replied, I'm going to fix it. FIX IT? I didn't know this,
but HE'D already paid a repairman $100 to come out and tell him
it had a bad picture tube and a new one would cost around $500.

Well, let me see, it's been about a month now and the old TV is
still sitting on the floor right next to the new one and nothing
has been done. I don't dare ask how long it's going to be before
he saves up enough money to buy this "new tube," because he gets
mad at me. HE has such a sentimental attachment to that old
thing and, after all, 10 years ago he paid $400 for it, whatever
that means, being a man, Don, you'd probably understand what he

Oh, and one other thing, he's been saving wine bottles. HE'S
going to cut the necks cut off them so we can have some new
drinking glasses. Figure that one out too, please.

Gay Lynn Chism
Cedar Hill Guest Quarters
Wimberley, TX

Dear Newsletter:

I thought it was almost over.

My oldest daughter had moved out a few years ago and the
youngest daughter is finishing her second year of college. She
is attending Northern Arizona University, as is a large portion
of my wages. My Mother-in-law had joined and taken up residency
with a gang of older female Bingoholics. Life was good, and my
home was once again mine. It looked as if all was going as
planned and the construction of my cabin in Cloudcroft would
start sooner than I had dared to hope.

Until the first of May.

That was when I was informed that my oldest daughter was getting
married in June. She then began spending most of her time and my
money with my wife Pat (okay, so Pat is her mother too).

A few days later, I had to move the youngest daughter back home
from college for the summer. Once home, she began the time
honored and money burning practice of planning her sister's
wedding shower. It was about this same time that I learned of
the Bingoholics needing to lay low for a while, causing them to
disband. For this reason my Mother-in-law is now returning to
her room upstairs and rejoining the reassembling "White's
Marauders" gang to assist in the plundering of my home, bank
account and all around mental well being.

What was happening? What had I done? This wasn't in the plans!
No one told me that they might come back.

I tried to remind my oldest daughter of her resolve to remain
single her entire life, but they all laughed at me saying "Oh
Dad, you're so silly" and they continued their mad hunt through
various wedding catalogs.

It was at this very moment in time that a light flashed in my
head and I realized that my younger daughter might also be
considering marriage at some point in her life. What was I going
to do? That's when the "fight or flight" mode kicked in and this
really great idea hit me. I'll just disapprove of whom ever she
decided to marry. That way they'll elope and I won't have to
pay for the wedding. Sometimes I scare myself. This was a really
great idea.

But after my blood pressure dropped back below 210 over 99, my
head became a little clearer. If Pat had heard me thinking of
that, and believe me, she CAN hear me think. It seems to be some
kind of weird "wife" thing. Anyway if she did, conditions around
the house would drop a few notches below life-supporting.

So I do the fatherly thing and sit quietly in the corner and
wait to be told what to do and answer every question with "yes
dear that will look nice" or "what ever you guys want, you know
what you're doing."

Pat came into the bedroom that evening and found me digging
through the closet. She wanted to know what I was doing. I told
her "Oh, nothing in particular, I was just looking to see if I
had any striped Polo shirts and plaid slacks that would go with
my house slippers." You would have had to read newsletter #111
to understand.

Bill White 
Phoenix, Arizona

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Copyright © 2002 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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