November 15, 2002
Dear Subscriber:

I got a call from my little brother this week.

At least, he used to be my little brother.

Richard Nelson Vanlandingham was born a year and 4 days after I
was. As we grew up, he was the scrawny kid with allergies and
flat feet. I was much more perfect.

I had to take him with me when I went to the movies. I had to
take him with me when I went to the county swimming pool. For
years, I don't think anybody in town knew my name. I was just
one of the Van Boys.

When we were little guys, Dick would come rushing into our
bedroom and say "C'mon, Don. Let's go outside. It's our
favorite time of day!"

We shared a love for the late afternoons in summer-time West
Texas. The time when day gave way to the coolness of the
evening. There was a large patch of clover in our front yard
near the front porch. We would lay there with our glasses of
milk and gingerbread cookies searching for four-leaf clovers.
Our dog Boots would help in the search in exchange for a bite
of cookie.

Fulfilling my duties as big brother, I met Dick near the corner
of the school building after class each afternoon so we could
walk home together. On the way home he would ask me real dumb
questions and I would give him the benefit of my worldly 9-year-
old wisdom. Sometimes, if we had a quarter in our jeans, we
would stop at the supermarket and buy a Big Hunk.

Then one day Dick didn't show up at the corner of the school
building. I checked his class room. No one there. I checked
the playground. No little brother. Mom was going to kill me if
I came home without him.

Finally I had no choice. I walked home hoping I would find Dick
along the way.

I entered our front yard, rolling excuses around in my mind for
coming home brotherless. Kidnapped by wild Indians? Naaah. Ran
off with the circus? No circus in town. That wouldn't work.
I was prepared to go in the house, spill the beans to Mom and go
with her to search for the body when I saw him. Dick and two of
his little classmates, sitting in that patch of clover in the
front yard drinking glasses of milk and eating gingerbread
cookies. They were slurping and munching and jabbering with the
excitement of prospectors that had just found the Motherlode.
Looking back on that moment, they HAD discovered something


I suddenly abdicate my roll as #1 in Dick's eyes. I was glad
the tag-along days were fewer and farther between, but at the
same time I was more than a little jealous.

In high school, Dick was no longer a scrawny kid. He was
handsome with miles and miles of personality. Since we were
only a year apart in age, we shared some of the same friends and
activities, but Dick was taller and more athletic than I. People
that didn't know us thought I was the little brother.

After graduation I left town in search of a career in radio.
Dick stayed close to his friends after high school. He dabbled
in college but eventually ended up working in the oil fields of
Eastern New Mexico. He married and had three beautiful kids.
I moved around a lot, from radio station to radio station.
Sometimes we wouldn't see each other for over a year. He had
his life and I had mine.

May 1, 1999. I was sitting on the couch in our home in
Cloudcroft putting on my shoes. I was hoping the headache I had
had all morning would go away soon. I had a full day of
activities planned. Without warning, everything went black.

The next month was a mixture of darkness and cognizance on the
edge of never-never-land. Snippets of Peggy's worried smile...a
doctor by my bed saying he had some good news and some bad news.
The beeps and whooshes and the plastic tubes of the Intensive
Care Unit...and it seemed like every time I opened my eyes,
there would be Dick.

"Hey, Bro. How ya feelin'?" His voice sounded like he was
speaking into a garbage can.

They finally moved me to a private room and I would wake up in
the middle of the night and there Dick would be, laying on one
of those loungers that some designer went to great lengths to
make as uncomfortable as possible...next to my bed. He would
shoot to his feet and ask me if I needed anything.

He took weeks off from his job to be with me. Peggy said he was
everyone's anchor. During my bad days he was the optimist.

He made enumerable trips to the bathroom with me. I remember
when things were getting better and I tried to sneak out of the
bed and go to the John by myself, but one of the wheels on my
I.V. stand squeaked and there was Dick, front and center.

"Keep yer seat", I said. "I think I can do this."

I think Dick realized I was turning the corner. He smiled big
and settled back down on the Awful Couch.

"OK, Dude. Go for it." he said.

A month, almost to the day, after my cerebral hemorrhage, Peggy
wheeled me out of the hospital and I got into the pickup to
head back home. Dick wasn't there. He had since returned to
his family and his job with the oil company. He had taken
time out of his life to help save mine.

He still has his life and I still have mine, but we talk to each
other on the phone a lot more than we used to and we see each
other more often. I'm grateful he's my brother.

We're getting together this Christmas at Mom's house.

I'm bringing the gingerbread cookies.

Don Vanlandingham

About 3 inches of snow Sunday. Warm temperatures during the day
have cleared most of it. All public roads are clear.

Highs in the upper-40s. Lows in the low-20s.
The Water Network, a group of concerned individuals dedicated to
solving the water shortage problems in the Sacramento Mountains
and the Tularosa Basin, are scheduling meetings to address the

For information on the next meeting, contact Robert Allen.
Recapture the almost forgotten ambiance of the Boardinghouse!
This updated version of a log home is furnished with comfortable
country antiques, complete with wood burning stove, decks that
overlook Cloudcroft, and a cozy kitchen where an old fashioned
breakfast is served daily. All rooms have queen beds, private
baths, and lovely views. Just a half block from the "boardwalk"
shopping area. For more information, call (888) 682-3601 or
email lindalc@tularoso.net.
The Museum of the Horse. Just an hour from Cloudcroft in


Q - What is the coldest month of the year in Cloudcroft?

A - January's average daily high is 41 degrees. The average
daily low is 18.

The averages for each month are available here:


November 9-10 -- Christmas Craft Show. Civic Center.

November 23 -- Santa Town at Zenith Park. 5pm-7pm.

November 23 -- Cloudcroft Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.
Lodge Pavilion.

November 24 - Community Thanksgiving Service, First Baptist
Church. 7pm. Everyone is welcome.

December 7 -- Santa Town at Zenith Park.

December 14 -- Santa Town at Zenith Park.

December 15 -- Community Christmas Cantata, 4pm. at Cloudcroft
United Methodist Church

December 21 -- Santa Town at Zenith Park.

December 24 - Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, 7pm. at Cloudcroft
United Methodist Church

December 31 -- New Year's Eve torch light parade at Ski

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the second Sunday of each month,
2-4pm, in the Old Red Brick School House. The Society will be
having an Art Sale and Show November 29, 30 and December 1, 7,
8, 14, 15 at the Old Red Brick School House, 11am - 3pm.
Call (505) 682-2494 for more information.

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 8:30 every Tuesday morning.

Free Vitals Clinic. Cloudcroft Senior Citizens Center, every
Wednesday. High Rolls Senior Citizens Center, first Thursday
of each month.

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


Dear Newsletter:

The snow came and went quickly, but the roads were slippery
just long enough for me to roll my vehicle near the Lodge.
Thankfully, I was uninjured.

I'm an optimist who believes that good can come from everything.
Even though my husband and I are new to the area, I was the
recipient of the friendly and caring help of several villagers
in getting my life back in order that morning, confirming that
this is indeed a wonderful choice of place to spend the rest of
our lives.

I would like to thank the Cloudcroft Police Department, Dick
Vanoy, and other Cloudcroft citizens who set me back on my feet.
Many others expressed concern; many from the Cloudcroft Church
of Christ called to see if I needed further assistance and added
me to their prayer list. Our son was visiting from Houston where
he serves on the police department, and expressed amazement at
the caring small-town atmosphere.

Thank you for the warm welcome to your community. I just know
I'm going to love it here!

Most Sincerely,
Patsy Cornelius
Russia Canyon

Dear Newsletter:

For a moment I thought I went back in time. You weren't alone
at all. I was there with you. Not saying anything. Just looking
up at the sunshine when the wind would allow it to occasionally
peek through the golden, brown canopy in the sky. I went with
you; down that gravel road. That's where fall was.

Whew.... I need a break. 

Joe Wells

Dear Newsletter:

Pleased you listen to Rush and extremely pleased you appreciate
Peggy. You make Cloudcroft come alive and I have never had the
opportunity to visit.

It does truly sound like heaven sometimes.

D. Blount
Temple, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

I loved reading about the drive down to Roswell & back to
Cloudcroft & seeing the beautiful foliage on that gravel road.

That is how we felt when we were up at Cloudcroft in October -
almost speechless at the beauty! And we drove roads we had
never ever been on before and couldn't believe the scenery.

Odessa is a wonderful place to live, but seeing such gorgeous
scenery as we found around Cloudcroft-Ruidoso-High Rolls etc.,
was a WONDERFUL treat!

I really enjoy the Cloudcroft newsletter and especially enjoy
the editorial commentary. 

M. Sykes

Dear Newsletter:

What a neat letter this is. Well, you don't really miss your
wife or husband until they're not there. That is neat that you
guys enjoy being around each other and miss each other. It is
good to be alone for a while.

Thank you again for the nice newsletter.

Shirley Myers

Dear Newsletter:

I live in Robinhood and was having reception problems with my
cell phone on the SWB Cingular system. While on a trip to my
other home base, I went to the Cingular store. They gave me an
antenna for the phone and on my return to Robinhood I tried it
out. It worked!

I can't promise the same result for others, but it sure worked
for me.

Leon Cross

Dear Newsletter:

I'm sure you have a mind like a steel trap, rusted shut. I can't
believe you were so lonely for your soul mate after just an hour
or so. I thought I was the only guy around that was that sappy.
Sometimes, no matter how much I love her, I just can't stand to
be near her, but it hurts to much to be away from her, but I
guess that's love.

I wrote you about year or two ago about the "CLOUD CLIMBING RR".
You put me in contact with the shop down the hill in the big
city, they were more than happy to provide me with all the
information regarding the old line, and sold me a few books on
the history (equipment, track plans, etc.), one of the books was
even signed by the Governor of N.M.

So now I am on my way to building to scale model of the line.
People can now stop by my shop at Canyon Lake, TX. and see the
work in progress. Thank you for all your help on this endeavor.
You will receive one "atta Boy" for you effort.

I still plan on moving to your fair city, and will bring the
scale model with me, I will let you decide the best location to
set it up at, and make all the arrangements to do so (that
should take care of some of your idle time, but your wife can
assist you).

Should anyone want to see the work in progress they can come by
my shop at.

Gorilla Enterprises
6475 FM 2673
Canyon Lake, TX 78133
(830) 899-2072

It may be a while before I get started on the layout (I have to
order the parts first) but I will be more than happy to be a
goodwill ambassador and pass on good stories of your fair city.

Let me know when it snows, now with the Republicans in charge,
the stock market will go back up and will speed up the prospect
of us relocating to the CLOUDS sooner.

J. Cooke

To unsubscribe, email: unsubscribe@cloudcroft.com
To subscribe, go to
If email to an address bounces (returns to us), that email
address is automatically deleted from our mailing list. If you
cease getting this newsletter suddenly, probably your provider
bounced your newsletter. This can happen when a provider is too
busy or is shutdown for some reason. If this happens to you, 
just revisit our site and re-add your email address to our list.
If you have comments or suggestions for this newsletter, please 
direct them to: newsletter@cloudcroft.com
Please feel free to pass this newsletter along to your friends.
However, we ask that you keep it intact and forward it in
its entirety.

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