January 3, 2003
Dear Subscriber:

The last time we saw Harry was December 23.

The last time we saw her she and Tom were in the front drive
playing in the snow.

Our two cats (Tom and Harry) are good at taking care of
themselves. We have provided them with dry and warm shelter, but
we had an incredibly big snow storm the day before Christmas

On Christmas Eve, Peggy got up and took out Tom and Harry's
food bowls. (Consisting of portions of dry cat food, canned cat
food and a jigger of canned milk, carefully blended. Shaken and
not stirred. They got that diet twice a day).

Tom (he's a solid black) was there to eat. Harry (she's the
calico) was elsewhere.

We had company and plans and business to attend to. The holidays
were upon us. Our cats had been AWOL before. I wasn't concerned
that Harry didn't show up for breakfast.

Peggy pretended she wasn't concerned.

Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day came and went. We were
busy with our friends and our activities, but I noticed a
sinking attitude with Peggy. While she cooked and smiled and
entertained and stayed focused on the holiday, Harry was on her

Harry was gone...and she had been gone for 3 days.

Peggy and I had an agreement when we took on those little stray
kittens 2 years ago. With 4 dogs in our household, it would be 
impossible to give the cats our undivided attention. We trapped
them, took them to a vet and had them fixed. We decided to 
provide them with shelter and food, but otherwise they would
have to fend for themselves. In return we hoped the cats would
be good at keeping the area clear of mice and small varmints.

The kittens were as wild as these mountains. I didn't think
they would ever become tame enough to let us close to them.

I was wrong. After a year Tom and Harry were our buddies. The
meowing and the rubbing and the swatting and playing became
daily events we looked forward to. It was hard to maintain the
"yard animal" status we had bequeathed them. They had weezled
their way into our hearts.

When Peggy would say she was worried when one of the cats would
be gone overnight, I would tell her she worries too much.

Yesterday, after Harry had been gone 5 days, I told Peggy I,
too, was getting a little worried. Peggy's eyes dropped to the
ground. She had an expression of resignation. She said
nothing. That bothered me. It's not like Peggy to have nothing
to say.

Last night just after sundown, Peggy came into the office and
said "Harry's home."

She didn't say it with any excitement. I got out of my chair
and went outside to find Peggy scruffing that vagabond cat's
neck. Peggy had such a sad look on her face. She wasn't
crying but I think she was crying a little inside. If Harry had
known what she had put Peggy through, she would have been

I don't hold it against Harry. After all, we had an agreement.
She lives her life and we live ours. I'm beginning to think Tom
and Harry are more into the arrangement than we are.

Today Harry jumped up on my workbench as I was tinkering with
something. We played a little game of rub and swat. I asked
her where she had been the past 5 days as if I would get some
kind of answer.

I haven't seen Tom all day. Here we go again.

Don Vanlandingham

One of the biggest 24 hours of snow in memory just before
Christmas...about 2 feet.

Because of the cold temperatures, it's still mostly on the
ground. All snow-play areas are open including Ski Cloudcroft.

Highs around 40. Lows around 10.

Dear Newsletter:

I thought you might like to see this picture of the B-2. 
Here is the text that goes with the B-2 picture. 

Bobbi Garcia, who shot a fabulous photo of the B-2 high speed,
low level, shedding condensation when she was flying chase on
a recent mission. Her shot was awarded 1st place in Aviation
Week & Space Technology's Military Category and will appear
in the magazine on 23 Dec 02. Great work, Bobbi.

Arthur Busier


Two challengers have announced for the 3 positions up for
election on the Cloudcroft school board.

Neil Mitchell is challenging Allen Henry and Terry Winkles will
be running against Bill Mershon.

The election is February 4th.
FOR SALE -- 3 bedroom, office, two full bath. Two fireplaces.
Hospitality room. Sky lights New carpet. Carport. Large deck.
Water softener. Island cooking area. In the village. Near
shopping, golf and ski area.

Estate sale. Less than 100 thousand.

Make an offer.

Call Joyce, (toll free) 866-505-3888. Ask her about the
Vanlandingham property.


January 4 -- Nebulas and Super-Novas. Museum of Space History.

January 6 -- Cloudcroft girl's and boy's basketball in Tularosa.

January 10 -- Cloudcroft girl's and boy's basketball in Loving.

January 16-18 -- Cloudcroft girls basketball. Cliff Tournament.

January 16-18 -- Cloudcroft boys basketball. Dexter Tournament.

January 23 -- Cloudcroft boys basketball at NMMI.

January 25 -- Cloudcroft girls basketball at Hatch.

January 31 -- Cloudcroft girls and boys basketball vs. Tularosa
at home.

February 1 -- Cloudcroft girls and boys basketball vs.
Lordsburg at home.

February 3 -- Cloudcroft girls and boys basketball vs.
Tularosa at home.

February 6 -- Cloudcroft girls and boys basketball vs.
Capitan at home.

February 8 -- Cloudcroft girls and boys basketball vs.
Hatch at home.

February 14 -- Cloudcroft girls basketball vs. Tularosa. away.

February 14 -- Cloudcroft boys basketball vs. Tularosa at home.

February 15 -- Cloudcroft girls basketball at Lordsburg.

February 21 -- Cloudcroft girls basketball at Capitan.

February 28 -- Mardi Gras in Cloudcroft. 5 days of festivities.
Call 682-2733 for more info.

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.

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:

Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year.

I WAS in Cloudcroft for Christmas...the MOST wonderful
experience! The snow was magnificent, the sights were glorious,
and best of all...the roads (Hwy 70) were clear and clean!

My son-in-law received a 4-wheeler (he has a blade attachment),
so my daughter took me for a ride to the "top of the mountain"--
God was indeed good to Cloudcroft...it was beyond beautiful!

Bless everyone and I wish all a prosperous, healthy New Year.

Carole Arnold
El Paso, TX

With Happy Holiday wishes from our family to yours.

Dear Newsletter:

As usual, you put out a great newsletter that is enjoyable to
read and look forward weekly to reading it. 

I have had the incredible opportunity to see a single Stealth
on 2 different occasions when I lived in El Paso and remember
each one vividly. To see 4 must have been the most incredible
sight! Thanks for sharing your experience for everyone to
enjoy and remind them to remember the soldiers that fly those
incredible machines to protect us and our freedom. 

Becki Smith,
Manchester, TN 

Dear Newsletter:

Thanks for all the good info and news about the Cloudcroft
area. You have done an excellent job all year long.

How about a photo gallery of all the pictures that you and
others have taken for the Cloudcroft website? It would be a
lot easier than for me and others to remember all your
newsletter #'s with photos! Just a thought.

Glad we are getting some snow in the mountains, we need it
bad up Hay canyon.

Keep up the good work and have a great 2003.

Marvin Myers,
Ft Worth, Tx

[Many of these photos are linked on our General Information


Dear Newsletter:

Your newsletter is great. My husband and I are so homesick for
the mountains. We have a piece of property in Timberon we are
trying to get developed to eventually build on in a few years.
The progress is slow since we live in Louisiana and both have
jobs to maintain in order to pay our bills.

We had hoped to come to Cloudcroft for Christmas but were
unable. The picture you had of your front lawn was stunning.
Please send more!

Janey Taylor

Dear Newsletter:

I read your opening comments of the email about the stealths;
don't worry, the day will come when you have a witness, even
though it may be a cat.

But what I really wanted to comment about was the photo that
followed the weather section. I miss the snow. Living here in
central Texas, we do not get much of it. It brought back some
wonderful memories of Cloudcroft during winter time. I would
like to request that you post some more pictures of the town
and familiar places in the snow. I think, as it did for me,
it will bring back memories of snowy winter days and nights
that just put a smile on one's face.

Mitch London
Austin, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

1. May God grant you the blessedest Christmas ever.

2. I'm on a new computer too, So I understand, however you can
get the computer to do what you said you wanted it to do. Just
install naturally speaking 6.0, then you can train your computer
to talk back to you, or worse, you can tell it what to type
and it will type it for you. (You train your computer in 
similar fashion as you do a dog.) I am NOT a representative of
their company, I just have their 4.0 version and saving my
money to be able to afford the 6.0.

God bless,

Dear Newsletter:

My first sighting of the Stealth, an awesome flying machine,
was in 1988, in northern Nevada, where they were headquartered
at the time. I still recall the sighting, and my silent
admiration for the engineers of such an incredible aircraft.

On a motorcycle trip to the Sacramento mountains, last summer,
I met a retired US Airman, (also motorcycling) now a civilian
employee of the German Air Force Training Center located there
in Alamogordo, who advised me that the Stealth had been moved
from Nevada, to its new home - Holloman Air Force Base, in

While enjoying the view, from the viewing site at Sunspot, NM,
where one is able to overlook Alamogordo and Holloman AFB - 
approximately 5,000 feet below - we observed a Stealth flying
at an altitude lower than the elevation of the viewing site, 
which I recall my altimeter indicating as being approximately
9,000 feet. 

No one should doubt your sightings. Should they do so, send
them to Sunspot, one may be just overhead or below, at this
very moment, appearing only as one giant wing. 

We Abilenians take pride in Dyess AFB being the only home the
B-1 has known, and though we've seen hundreds in and around our
area, most of us never cease to be amazed at the ability of
this gigantic goosenecked aircraft to maintain flight.

You may have tuned in to Fox News Channel, December 18, 2002,
and shared the wonderment of the B-2 during Fox's day-long
broadcast featuring this magnificent aircraft which accompanies
four pilots - two flying and two ready for relief. Let me hasten
to add that I know nothing about aircraft, but I learned that
the B-2 is controlled by four computers, and, strangely, I
didn't hear the names Dell, Compaq or Gateway mentioned. 

The greatest show on earth, today - in the sky - would have to
be a sighting of these three amazing planes flying in triangular
formation, with the Stealth at the apex of the B-1 and B-2 
bombers. When seeing any one of the three creations, one is
prone to imagine that we are at the apogee of aircraft
engineering, but looking back over the past 20 years, we must
surmise that this is only the beginning.

Enjoy your sightings,
Al Denard
Abilene, TX

Dear Newsletter:

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We had a very nice
Christmas. We got to share it with our first little grand-
daughter. She is a real joy. If you see any more Stealth
flying by, hope there is someone with you. I bet that is neat
to see something like that in the mountains.

Hope you have a wonderful New Year.

Thank you for the newsletter.

Shirley Myers

Dear Newsletter:

Please do not feel alone in seeing four Stealth fighters flying
in formation over our beautiful mountains. My sons and I would
be happy to vouch for you. We have seen them over Alamogordo.
Luckily, we had each other as witnesses. We too, were amazed at
the sight of those planes and awe-struck by the skill of the
pilots. All I could think to say after, "Boys, look!" was "God
bless you guys". 

What you saw was the strength of our Nation, what you heard
from the engines: FREEDOM.

Lisa Conway
Cloudcroft, NM 

Dear Newsletter:

Hi there...just received my first newsletter from Cloudcroft
and look forward to many more. I was really surprised to get
an e-mail so late on Sunday evening so it was most welcome.

I visited Cloudcroft in October 2001 and immediately fell in
love. My son introduced me to a great gal who owns Buckhorn
Cabins. Gloria and I have been corresponding via e-mail and
phone ever since. 

I think Cloudcroft would be a terrific place to live. I hope
to visit your wonderful mountain in July 2003. I am a
seamstress and hope to be at your July Celebration as a
craft show vendor.

Gloria took me around several places and to eat at one of your
local restaurants. The food was terrific and the shops
fantastic. She also took me down the mountain to Alamogordo
and back to Ruidoso by way of the Apache Indian Reservation.
I have a bit of Indian heritage and love to study their history.

I'm from Illinois and last year was my first visit to New
Mexico but it definitely won't be my last. In fact, if things
work out...I would like to become a permanent resident of your
area. The people are just about the nicest, warmest,
friendliest people I have ever met.

Looking forward to more newsletters and to seeing you next

Sandi Hunter
Savanna, Illinois

Dear Newsletter:

We just got back home from a four day trip to Cloudcroft, and
after unpacking the first thing we did was to read your most
recent newsletter. We arrived on the 26th, and the snow was
wonderful. Neither of us had ever seen so much snow at once.
North Central Texas does not get anything like that. This was
our first time to visit during the winter, although we come
every year in the spring or summer.

Being flatlanders we did fairly well, only got stuck 3 times!
Every time it happened the first person who drove by helped
get us moving again. What a friendly community. As usual we
were sad to leave and are already making arrangements to get
back to our favorite spot in the world.

David & Sandy Hanebutt
Stephenville, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

After reading your first Stealth fighter newsletter, I
forwarded it to several of my friends. One of them, Robert
"Bob" Nickels, replied that he might know you. I was quite
surprised as Bob lives in Freeport, IL, quite a ways from
Cloudcroft. However, knowing of your world wide fame as
writer of the newsletter, I soon overcame that surprise.

Seems Bob worked with a Don "Charlie Brown" Vanlandingham at
KAYS radio station in Kansas while in college. Bob was the
weekend guy. Was wondering if Bob ever emailed you to say hello.

Anyway, My wife and I enjoy your work with the newsletter and 
hope you keep it up for many years to come. Perhaps we will
have the opportunity to meet you the next time we come up to

Looking forward to looking for Stealth fighters with you.

Jim Nelson
San Antonio, TX

Dear Newsletter:

I have written before on different issues and try not to reply
all the time, but felt the need to this time. I live in Lubbock
and frequently travel to Cloudcroft as much as I can. Like I
have said before Cloudcroft is like my second home, I grew up
spending much time there. 

I was very touched by your Stealth fighter story a couple of
weeks back and must say I don't think you are lying I have seen
many a "Stealth" in the sky up there. And one time, just once,

I even saw two high up in the sky here in Lubbock! They were
headed your way of course!

My Mother and I viewed something really striking on the way to
Las Cruces one day, the stealth fighters were training in
formation over Holloman, and behind them following their
every move, was something small. Wondered if it was some kind
of missile? The scene was so exciting we had to pull over to
watch for fear of having a wreck. So did the others sharing
the highway.

I loved your photo of the snow on Christmas Eve, I remember
walking down that road just this last August on Labor Day
Weekend. We stayed in the cabin down below you. And we loved
our stay and loved meeting you and wonderful Peg, and the
dogs! Yea, that's right, we are the ones with the teenagers!

As far as UFOs? Well, one night many years ago up at the Lodge,
we saw something weird in the sky. Big and black and
triangular, making no noise what so ever. Everyone in the
parking lot, was taking photos and telling each other it was
a UFO. I just had to burst their bubble and tell them that just
down the mountain in the desert was a missile base! But you
never know....

Keep up your wonderful stories!

Della Eckles
Lubbock, Tx.

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Copyright © 2003 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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