March 14, 2003
Dear Subscriber:

Stress comes in many forms.

Red lights in your rear-view mirror. Shaking the hand of an old
friend, but you can't remember their name.

Taking an exam.

Taking an exam is the epitome of stress for me because (a) it
draws such a bold line between success and failure and (b) it
grabs your heart and squeezes it.

It's the same in high school or in medical school. There is no
other situation where your self-esteem is more at stake. In
basic terms, a test determines whether you're smart or
intellectually challenged.

I am a member of the Silvercloud Water Board. We keep a good
supply of clean water from our water well available to our
small neighborhood just outside Cloudcroft. We lost our
"Certified Operator" to illness last summer.

Harry is another of our board members. He and I volunteered to
become "certified" so the fresh water would keep flowing and
the state bureaucracy would be happy.

Harry and I had to take a week-long course in water management
and then pass a state certification test.

Monday, January 27, 5am. Way earlier than I'm used to getting
up. It was our first day of school. I picked up Harry for the
trip to Las Cruces. I had to leave the Superbowl party early
the night before, because I wanted to be in good shape for the

We arrived at the Las Cruces Hilton at 7am. There was the
mumbo-jumbo of registration, classroom assignments, coffee,
hand shaking ("where are YOU from?"), wait, more coffee. Class
time. Organized confusion.

We got back to Cloudcroft at about 8pm. A 15-hour day.

I told Harry as I dropped him off "see you tomorrow morning,"
but I wasn't sure I could do 4 days of this. I was bushed. I
had used parts of my brain I hadn't used since college. I went
straight to bed that night.

The next day was a little easier. For the next 3 days, Harry
and I got into a routine of coffee and driving and classes.

Harry sat next to me in class. When he took notes and my mind
was wandering I would notice and perk up and take notes too.
Harry would sigh and shake his head during the lecture and write
something down and I would try and copy what he wrote. I was
out of my element. I daydreamed about cutting wood and a 300
yard tee shot while the instructor talked about Chlorine
residuals and excavation safety codes. I had forgotten how hard
it was to be a student.

Harry and I took the certification exam in Hobbs on February 27.

I don't know if Harry was worried, but I was glad when he
agreed we should go to Hobbs the night before the test, check
into a motel, and spend the evening studying. When we turned
out the light that night in the motel room, I think we were
both confident that we would do fine on the test.


There was pitifully little on the test we had studied for.

It was a nightmare. I aced the practice exams the night before
in the motel room. The questions on the exam had little to do
with the practice exams.

I left the exam disillusioned. My life will go on, I told
myself. Flunking a test was a flash-back of the old days.
Who cares?

In reality I cared. Harry cared. We were told the test results
would be mailed to us in a couple of weeks.

It was a quiet trip back to the mountains from Hobbs.

This week I got a call from the Water Quality Bureau in Santa

"Sorry, Mr. Vanlandingham," he said.

"You and Mr. (Harry) Steirs were given the wrong test. Despite
that fact, you both passed. We apologize for the confusion."

I heard the theme from "Rocky" somewhere in a corner of my mind.

I called Harry with the news.

After congratulating each other, we came up with a plan.

We spent a week in school studying for a higher level
certification that we were never tested for.

We've passed the test. Now it's time for revenge.

We agreed with each other to take the next level test.

Our water system doesn't require it. Our board doesn't ask for
it. We'll pay the fee out of our own pockets.

It's just a matter of pride.

Thanks, Harry. Despite the stress, it's been a great trip.

The weather has been so nice here. The next test I hope to
take is the successful sinking of an 8-foot putt.

Don Vanlandingham

It's not snow, but it ain't bad. Spring-like conditions in the
Sacramentos the entire week. Highs in the mid-50s, lows in the

Peggy put away our snow boots and heavy jackets today, which
likely means another snow before winter is over.
The SeasonScape photo experiment by Kit Richards continues:


More business transitions. The Ole English Rose Tea Room will
open in a few days after some renovation in the former Copper
Butterfly location on the Cloudcroft Boardwalk. The Tea Room
will be under the same roof as The Flower Patch. The Flower
Patch is now open.
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, email
lindalc@tularosa.net, or see the link to our web site on the
lodging page of Cloudcroft.com:


Parks within a day's drive from Cloudcroft.


Click on the Southwest region.
Q - Is there a new building supply center opening in

A - Yes. As a matter of fact there are two. Both national
building supply giants, Lowe's and Home Depot, are opening new
stores. They will be located side by side on Highway 70 near
the Cloudcroft (Highway 82) turnoff.
April 6 -- John Mershon Day. In honor of a long-time state

April 18-19 -- Easter Weekend celebration. Check with the
Chamber of Commerce for events and times. 1 (505) 682-2733.

May 3 -- Smokey's Revenge mountain bike race.

May 10 -- Old Timer's Reunion (682-2932)

May 17, 18 -- High Altitude Classic bike race (682-1229).

May 23-24 -- Mayfair.

June 7 -- National Trails Day

June 20, 21 -- Western Roundup

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the second Sunday of each month,
2-4pm, in the Old Red Brick School House. Call (505) 682-3004
for more information and details on the Cloudcroft Summer Art

Would you like to help deliver meals to the homebound around
Cloudcroft? Monday through Friday deliveries. Call the
Cloudcroft Senior Center at (505)-682-3022.

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:

If they want serious, they can read the newspapers!

My husband is in the Army Reserves and has been activated. He
has been gone since Valentines Day (the military has a bad habit
of messing up holidays!), my kids and I have enough serious
things to think about. Thank you for a little sunshine in the
week, and for the dream of snow.

We like you the way you are! Thank you for supporting the troops
with your heart and words!

God bless you and the United States of America!

Lubbock, TX

Dear Newsletter:

I enjoy your musings! Some people just have to complain. It
makes them feel better! You write in a very entertaining way.
Even about Shopping Carts! Thanks for doing this newsletter. 

I live in Las Cruces and we have a cabin in Cloudcroft We do
not get there often enough. However we find your newsletter
entertaining and valuable. To us it is worth the price of the
newsletter just for the coming events section. Enclosed is my
$100.00 check for the annual subscription.

Have a great day & keep up the great work!

John & Hollie Jacobs

[Of course, The Newsletter is free, but thanks for the thought.]

Dear Newsletter:

I want to thank you for your continued dedication to writing,
editing, and further compiling each week's newsletter. I was
born and raised in Las Cruces, NM. Cloudcroft is as much a part
of my history as the Rio Grande, NMSU, and Hatch Chili.

I had the pleasure of meeting you and your wife several years
ago when you had the recording studio setup. My husband and I
spent several wonderful minutes of entertaining conversation
and shared a few good laughs. 

I love that you address local subjects, current events, national
and international news, and family anecdotes with all of your
newsletter readers. While I may not always agree with a
particular point of view, you always give me a perspective
that is thought worthy.

I particularly enjoy the tongue in cheek humor you sprinkle
throughout almost every newsletter. Please don't change a thing.
You are an original and a honest human being. 

God bless you and yours,
Linda Teasdale
Brownsville, TX

Dear Newsletter:

I'm not trying to start a feud... just want you to know how
most of your readers feel:

The Cloudcroft Newsletter is yours to do with as you please
and as far as I am concerned, you are doing a wonderful job
with it! I wonder who told that lady this is supposed to be
only about Cloudcroft? If she doesn't like the letters, she
only has to delete or unsubscribe. It's that simple.

We love everything you have written about. Please don't change
a comma or a dash from the way it is now!

Keep 'em coming, Don,

Marge and Bill in Mayhill

Dear Newsletter:

I personally LOVE the fact that you sometimes run out of
"Cloudcroft news" so much, in fact, that I am soon to be 
relocating (by choice not military requirement) to the area.

The mere thought that life can be laid back enough to
contemplate shopping carts, WOW unheard of in Connecticut.
There's always town news never good and always rushed.

I was told by my brother-in-law who hails from Texas, "gawd
ya all even talk fast." Yes, I long for the day when I am
finally settled in the small community, thankfully it will not
be much longer.

Arlene Goyette

Dear Newsletter:

If you are not about Cloudcroft, what are you about?

I love your stories about yourself and your wife and your pets
and your experiences with uninvited "critters". That is
Cloudcroft! "Touche." (Is this French? If so excuse me.)

Or better yet, you made a three-point basket with your article
last week. I could care less about shopping cart wheels.
Although they are aggravating if there is a bad one in the
store and you get it. Just keep exchanging it for one that
does work.

It was a very informative and interesting dissertation. But,
please, keep your sense of humor! That is you and Cloudcroft.

Whoever wrote you and called you self-centered needs to get a
life. Just a few personal opinions. Keep up the good work, but,
please no more shopping cart stories. How about more wildlife
stories? Yours or the four-legged kind.

Keep up the good work.

M. Goodin

Dear Newsletter:

As always, your newsletter was brilliant today!

We will be in Cloudcroft next week (Spring Break), and hope
get a chance to visit with you all.

We hope that our place (the Primer Place) hasn't caved in....

Susan and Allan Schaeffer

Dear Newsletter:

I live in El Paso and only get to Cloudcroft a couple of times
a year, but I love your newsletter!

In response to the comment that you take yourself too seriously,
please continue to do so. I enjoy reading "Village News" and
"Inside the Shop," "Q and A," and "Spotlight" are fascinating
and I've learned a great deal from them, But your editorials
are the main reason I am a subscriber. 

Thank you for so much allowing me to meet the people at Holloman
AFB through your eyes. We are in good hands and our prayers go
with them. This shopping cart essay is intriguing. Now that you
have brought my attention to the relationship between shopping
carts and business status my next trip to a store will not only
bring memories of your essay but will make the trip more

Thank you for a newsletter I look forward to reading each and
every week.

Pixie Manning

Dear Newsletter:

I passed through Cloudcroft years ago. Enchanted immediately by
the place, the magic, and the atmosphere, I thought - I would
really like to live here.

Well. It is many years now, but I have retired from my main
job (teaching music at a wonderful school in North Hollywood).

Actually, not retired - but rather, commenced! I still do music
and music making. I still dream of living in the environs of
Cloudcroft. I take the e-mail newsletter, which I just love!
The articles are fresh, pithy and always full of the truthful
blarney upon which myths are made. 

Lynda Sue Marks-Guarnieri 

Dear Newsletter:

We like your newsletter. Write whatever you want. It's your
newsletter. Our computer has a delete key.

We spent part of a week in Cloudcroft last fall - beautiful!
We'll be back one of these days.

Maybe we'll flee to the mountains for good some day.

The Gartmans
Dallas, TX

Dear Newsletter:

Thanks for the weekly slice of Heaven. You write about anything
you wish, I'll most likely read it. Thanks for the great
stories, week in and out.

Now about the skunks; wouldn't it be better to light a candle
than to curse the darkness? Why would skunks go to all the
trouble to seek out the shelter and security offered by the
space beneath a house? I don't think it's because of their
need for human companionship.

Why not construct a small, protected, accessible shelter in
some out of the way corner of your property as an alternative
to the annual under the house dilemma? A 2x2x2 frame covered
in plywood might just be the trick. But seal up beneath the
house as well.

Call me crazy, but it's just a thought.

Dennis Jones
El Paso

Dear Newsletter:

I was very interested in your Skunk prescription as every
evening we get a big whiff of Pepe La Phew. So we will try the
mothball trick. I hope the little varmint leaves before

I will keep you posted.

Loved your observances about about shopping carts.

Connie Dailey
Tulsa, OK

Dear Newsletter:

I have never written to you but this time I felt I had to!

I want to shout to the mountains around Cloudcroft about the
wonderful people you have in Rodger and Linda Loper of Loper
Construction and Tom Ludwick of Ponderosa Pines.

Roger built my cabin in Ponderosa Pines. What a beautiful
quality cabin it is! But that is not the only reason I want
to shout to the mountains.

Living in Corpus Christi, TX, 720 miles from our cabin, I have
little knowledge, much less any control of what is happening
to our cabin when we are not there.

Recently, my gas bill to the cabin, (I keep the temperature set
at a minimum 50 degrees) was 4x what it has been in past
winter months.

In an e-mail I mentioned this to Tom. He sprang into action
and went to the cabin to inspect for evidence of a leak. I
called the gas company office, located in Alamogordo and they
informed me that they would send someone the following week.

I thought there was nothing i could do without traveling the
720 miles. Before leaving Corpus Christi, I informed Linda and
Roger of my problem. They immediately sprung into action. The
same day, before we left Corpus, they had contacted the gas
company management and resolved the problem.

Can you hear me shouting the praises of Tom and Rodger and 
Linda. If not, I'll shout louder! How about featuring Loper
Construction in your short regarding Cloudcroft businesses.
You'll never meet better people.

Dwight Deck
Corpus Christi, TX

Dear Newsletter:

Regarding the letters to the editor both pro and con the Iraqi
situation. Teddy Roosevelt said it best:

"A just war is in the long run far better for a nation's soul
than the most prosperous peace obtained by acquiescence in
wrong or injustice." 

Apparently many people have not learned the lesson taught us by
Nevill Chamberlain just prior to WWII.

If that skunk you mentioned in today's column was under my home
and about to spray, I think I would make a "preemptive strike"
prior to him spraying me.

Joe Cerrato
Texarkana, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

It is time to start boycotting French products. If just 2% of
the US population refuses to buy anything from French-owned
companies, these companies will not make a profit on US sales.

Here is a list of French-owned products:

Bic razors, pens and lighters
Yoplait yogurt
Universal Studios and amusement parks
Christian Dior clothes, shoes, bags
Michelin tires and auto parts
Moet champagne
Bollinger champagne
Perrier water
Evian water
Peugeot automobiles
Renault automobiles
Motel 6 and Red Roof Inns
Total and Fina gas stations

Fina is a particularly egregious example of French behavior.
Just last year, Fina negotiated a sweetheart deal to develop
the Majnoon field in Iraq directly with Saddam Hussain's 
personal representatives. This was a direct violation of the
UN embargo that was sanctioned and supported by the French 

Matthew D. Harlan

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