August 15, 2003
Dear Subscriber:

Yesterday another candy store opened nearby.

For us handy-types, it's a big event when a home-improvement
store opens in the area. Imagine the euphoria around here when
a Lowe's Home Improvement Center and a Home Depot opened within
a block of each other in the same thirty day period in
Alamogordo, just 30,000 yardsticks (17 miles) from Cloudcroft.

Why two big home improvement giants all at once in a town that
has been, up to now, a little "Big Retail" challenged? I don't
know. Nobody seems to know. We're all waiting for the next
shoe to drop. Maybe they're moving General Motors' headquarters
to Alamogordo. Maybe NASA's moving the space shuttle to the
New Mexico Basin (I just made those up to start more silly

Meanwhile, us Tool-Time freaks are having a ball.

I walked into the new Alamogordo Home Depot yesterday, signed
up for my credit card (I got a Lowe's card last week) and got
my free coffee mug. (I got my free Lowe's nail apron last week.
It's obvious that I haven't formed any serious loyalties yet.)

I then wandered through the huge store familiarizing myself
with the locations of the things I would be needing most in
future visits. I cased out the lumber section and checked the
straightness of the boards. I didn't buy any. I just checked
their straightness. I said hi to all the new employees I came
in contact with who were eager to help and remembered me from
the old lumber yards in town where they used to work. I
breathed in the newness; the smells of cedar fence slats and
the new rubber tires on the riding lawn mowers and the
fertilizer in the garden department.

If they had been serving dinner, I could have played in the
store until closing.

I finally remembered why I was there and hurried back to the
front for a shopping cart. Realizing I had become a little
carried away and that I needed to return to reality, I let go
of my helium balloon.

I went to the tool department. I needed a screwdriver.

I was putting together a cabinet the other day and realized I
didn't have a plain old phillips-head screwdriver with an
extra-long shaft. Over the years my toolbox has become cordless

Just like every other store I've ever been to, there were clerks
everywhere until you needed one. I saw two other customers in
the tool section. They were doing a lot of gawking like I was.
I asked them if they knew where the screwdrivers were.

"Cordless electric or ball-ratchet?" one of them asked.

I hesitated. He had thrown me a good-natured-fellow-tool-freak
trivia curve.

"One I can take in my hand and screw screws with," I said.

About then, a store employee walked up. "This guy is looking
for a screwdriver," one of my new friends took the lead. That
was when I noticed the two guys weren't pushing a shopping
cart. They were either looking for one item and would be in
and out or they were just there for the free coffee mug.

The Associate turned to me and said, "Screwdriver? Standard or
phillips?" I could answer that one. "Phillips", I said.

"You want one with a built-in flashlight?"

The two cartless guys started snickering.

"Nope. Just a regular one."

"Light-weight alloy or tempered steel?"

I paused again. The other guys snickered again. "The cheapest,"
I said.

"Oh, you don't want the cheapest," said the Associate. He was
obviously fresh from the New Store Sales Techniques Seminar. He
moved me fluidly a few steps down the isle, while "Wooly Bully"
played on the store PA, saying, "Looky here. The best
screwdriver in the world. Life time guarantee. Ergonomic grip.
It comes with a certificate of authenticity."

My two new buddies had followed us. They really seemed to be
enjoying themselves. Didn't they have anything better to do?

"How about these?" I said as a bubble pack of three assorted
screwdrivers caught my attention.

"Oh, you don't want those." This guy was taking his new job
much too seriously. "They're not balanced."

I was getting a little tired. "I'll take them," I said.

"He'll take them," smiled one of the two stooges while the
other one grinned and nodded his head.

The Associate's face dropped. It occurred to me that this may
have been his first attempt at sales. In his mind, he had
failed. He would go home tonight to his wife. She would ask
him how his new job was going and he would try and be
cheerful...all the time remembering how he missed the sale of
a 10 dollar premium screwdriver in leu of a five dollar bargain

"What did you think of the new Home Depot?" Peggy asked as I
came through the front door.

"Not bad," I said. "Here, I got this coffee mug and this

"Fancy," she said as she turned the new screwdriver over in
her hand. "How much?"

I tried to maintain my happy face. "10 dollars, but it comes
with a lifetime...."

"10 dollars?! A screwdriver that costs 10 dollars?"

I started to remind her that the US government has been known
to pay 100 dollars for a hammer, but I knew beforehand that the
comparison would fall on deaf ears.

"Peggy," I stuttered...gathering my thoughts as husbands
painted in a corner often do. "I know it sounds high, but the
guy that sold it to me was really nice. I'll go in there some
day and he'll probably give me a special deal. It's a matter of
business relations cultivation."

Peggy knew it was one of those don't argue with a fool moments.
She sat down the screwdriver and began walking toward the
laundry room.

"Besides," I called out. "Two other idiots bought one too."

Don Vanlandingham

Cooler days and some rain. Forest and Village restrictions have
been lifted. Highs in the low-80s. Lows in the low-40s.
Jimmy Conway is at West Point participating in what is described
as "basic training" for entering freshmen. Conway's father
told The Newsletter, "Jimmy says there are some parts of West
Point life that are easier than he expected, but there are some
things that are harder than he thought they would be."

Conway was selected as a cadet after compiling an almost
flawless academic record at Cloudcroft schools. He'll begin
academic studies at the end of August.
Located conveniently on Hwy 82, comfortable rooms, great rates.
We can host your family reunions or group meetings. New owners
Doug and Marilyn Hunsucker. Call us for reservations at (505)
682-2526 or email aspencloudcroft@tularoso.net. Web site coming
Among other things, this observatory attempts to make contact
with extra-terrestrials. 50 miles West of Socorro.


Q - I read a story that said Billy The Kid hid out in
Cloudcroft when he was running from the law. Is this true?

A - William Bonny's closest documented contact with Cloudcroft
was when he was under arrest and was transported through La Luz
(15 miles from Cloudcroft) under heavy guard on his way to the
Lincoln County Jail where he staged his famous escape in 1880.

Billy the Kid died about 20 years before Cloudcroft was
founded. If he passed through what is now Cloudcroft, he
passed through a forested wilderness area.
August 13-16 -- Otero County Fair.

August 15 -- Cloudcroft Methodist Preschool registration,
9am-12pm. Ages 4 months-8 years. For more information, contact
Linda Linn (505) 682-2266 or (505) 682-2264.

August 16 -- Model rocket launch. Veteran's Memorial Park.

August 23 -- Larry Fox Memorial Fun Run. Alamogordo.

August 23 -- Tailgate Concert. Bayou Seco. Space Museum
parking lot.

August 30 -- James Canyon Volunteer Fire Department's annual
Auction/Dinner/Dance. Community Barn at Cloud Country Estates.

August 30 -- Alamogordo Amateur Radio Club Hamfest.

August 30, Sept. 1 -- 13th annual Cottonwood Arts and Crafts
Festival. Alameda Park. Alamogordo.

August 30, 31, Sept. 1 -- Cloudcroft Labor Day Fiesta.

September 20 -- Lumber Jack Day. Zenith Park, Cloudcroft.

September 19-21 -- Healing Hearts.

September 21 -- Governor Johnson's Run/Walk. Cloudcroft.

September 27 -- Mountain Garden Club Style show.

October 4, 5 -- Oktoberfest Juried Art Show. Zenith Park.

October 18, 19 -- High Rolls Apple Festival.

November 29th -- Santa Land opens. Cloudcroft.

December 13 -- Pet Parade. Burro Street. Cloudcroft.

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. For information on
other Senior Center services, see their web site, listed on the
Cloudcroft.com Links page.


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:

I know you must get inundated with items. My son is in
Afghanistan and I wanted you to know how much we enjoyed
Cloudcroft's tremendous show of patriotism while we were
there this summer.

Ray and Lynn Lemasters
Garland, Texas 

Dear Newsletter:

You have such a unique way of writing. Truly a delight to
read your newsletters. Thanks for the humor. A treat.

Wishing Amy and Jimmy much happiness. Who knows before long
you and Peggy will have little ones running around. That will
be some newsletter.

Congratulation to the Happy couple.

Pauline Lucas
El Paso, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

Your Newsletter is never more appreciated than when we have to
leave Cloudcroft and come back to these hot West Texas plains!
I am always sad and a little depressed when our annual trek to
Cloudcroft is over and we are driving down off that beautiful
mountain! Reading your Newsletter takes me back up to those
gorgeous fir trees and cool mountain breezes!

Thanks, Cloudcroft for your wonderful hospitality: from the
friendly gal at the Western Cafe that thought our
granddaughter was beautiful, to the cheery shop owner that
showed us a nest of baby swallows right outside her store. We
love "doing Burro Ave." (Didn't is used to be just plain ol'
Burro Street?)

Your friendly village has been a part of my life since the
'60's! It has changed some, but the essence is still the
same: friendly, charming, and welcoming!

I can't wait to get back up there! Meanwhile, I'll enjoy your
Cloudcroft News!

J. Haggard
Lubbock, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

Sounds like you guys are staying busy this summer. This has
been one the hottest summers that I can remember. It sounds
really neat to live in Cloudcroft.

My husband and I love to visit there. We're coming to visit
there in Sept. Hope it is cooler there then here. Hope to meet
you guys.

Shirley Myers

Dear Newsletter:

I never know until a couple of weeks before Labor Day Weekend
weather or not I will be off of work or my wife will be off of
work so that we can go up to Cloudcroft for the weekend. The
problem is that by that time, I can't find a room for one
night, or even two nights stay in Cloudcroft.

I had the same problem last year. The only solution I see is
getting a room reservation months in advance, and then
canceling at the last minute if I can't go. Do you or anyone
in Cloudcroft have a solution to this problem?

Ray from El Paso

[One of the things people like about Cloudcroft is that it's
small. There's a downside to that. We have limited

You idea about booking far in advance is probably the best
idea, but usually a last minute cancellation will cost you in
deposit penalties.

More bad news. Booking for this Labor Day may be difficult,
since most people reserve about 6 months in advance for major
holidays. -- Don]

Dear Newsletter:

Your newsletters from Cloudcroft seem to have dried up recently.
They have kept me in touch with the USA for a few months now
and I hope everything is fine at your end. I wrote to you a
while back telling you that I was stranded in Europe and wanted
to return to the USA. The photographs of Cloudcroft made me
homesick, but I am also an amateur photographer so they also
gave me inspiration.

Well guess what? I am flying home to the USA on Monday via
Paris and will be landing in Phoenix, Arizona, to see some of
my past haunts. It is surely a new life for me and if I get to
Cloudcroft which should not be too difficult, I'll come and
say hello.

Thanking you for all those entertaining stories.

All the best and I hope you wish me luck too.

Karen Jacks

Dear Newsletter:

I was glad to see Mr. Denard's commentary on my recent letter
concerning 9-11 events. I KNOW there are those like myself who
won't ever forget. Being both retired military and a current
airline pilot, I was doubly blasted on that day, and work is
a constant reminder that I'm never to enjoy old liberties like
Mr. Denard mentioned again. Crikey, I'm treated like the bloody
enemy now instead of someone who would give his life to keep
terrorists from succeeding.

But I'll stand by my letter. These are not dullards in beat-up
pickups flipping me off--they're folks in tall gleaming SUV's
with cell phones glued to their ears. And you're right, this
country guarantees everyone the right to say dumb things without
fear of imprisonment, yet the media giants of TV couldn't wait
to steam-roll John Rocker, the Dixie Chicks and Trent Lott for
off-hand remarks. Now how is that freedom of speech? Yeah, I
need to know they said it; I don't need to be told how to feel
about it.

On a positive note, it cheers me to no Mr. Denard is out there,
and I know he's not alone in his feelings. You're welcome on
my flight anytime, sir.

Dick Day
Biloxi, MS/High Nogal

Dear Newsletter:

In response to the gentleman from Abilene regarding the loss of
freedoms, I am unable to discern any losses of freedom.

Being frisked to ensure that a potentially lethal weapon such
as a nail clipper is not on your person is ridiculous and
constitutes bureaucratic excess. It is not, however, a loss of

When we elect to enter a controlled environment requiring
increased security we also have the option to not enter that
facility. If we choose to enter, we have given implied consent
to abide by their rules as a condition of entry.

At most concerts, cameras and recording devices of any kind
are not allowed. We have the option of leaving the camcorder
and camera in the car or not attending the concert. Is this a
'loss of freedom'?

Travel was heavily restricted during World War II due to
gasoline, rubber, and auto repair parts shortages. Priority
travel restricted access to trains, the primary mode of
national travel. These restrictions were a necessary part of
supporting the war effort. National travel restrictions
superseded personal travel wishes and were accepted as

We are, whether one wishes to accept it or not, in the battle
of our lives. Radical Islamic forces want to return the world
to the sixteenth century. They view Western civilizations as
inherently evil. They believe that they have a Divine charter
to wage war, in any manner necessary, to convert or kill us...
the 'infidels'.

I believe that the problem lies in the perception that anything
that we want do do has become a 'right' and any effort to
restrict it is perceived as a loss of freedom.

Joe Boyle

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