September 19, 2003
Dear Subscriber:

I think her name was Littlebit.

Paul and Rita thought so much of their dogs that they gave them
names and then they gave them nicknames. I don't know if it was
confusing to the dogs, but when I first got to know the Loftons,
it was sure confusing to me.

Littlebit's nickname was Big Dog. To make the nickname even
more endearing, Paul used to add to it his Southwestern oil
field drawl..."Big Dowg". Littlebit was a whippet mix. Very
mellow and loyal. She only got into trouble a few times due to
her lack of affection for cats. Otherwise, she was a real

While the Loftons had 4 dogs, Littlebit and Paul were special
buds. They went everywhere together. Occasionally, you would
see Littlebit walking down the boardwalk in the village. It
meant Paul was nearby...probably drinking coffee in the cafe.
Everybody in town knew Littlebit. She was one of 2 or 3 dogs
in the village with citizenship bordering on voting rights.

Occasionally, I would join the duo. Littlebit hated to give up
her seat sitting shotgun next to Paul in the pickup, but, being
the lady she was, she would ride in back to make room for me or
some other rider.

When Paul died a year ago, everyone that knew him was deeply
affected. Paul had the annoying habit of taking friendship to
extremes. He was always fixing someone's car or doing handy-man
stuff at someone's house at no charge. On the other hand, he
was hesitant to allow others to help him. In the friendship
ledger with Paul, there was never a balance. He was always doing
more for others than others did for him. He liked it that way.

No one felt the loss of Paul more than Littlebit.

After the funeral...as the rest of us attempted to gather our
lives together and move on, Littlebit seemed lost.

I would see Littlebit about once a month when we would hold
water board meetings at Rita's house. Littlebit was still
loveable, but the light in her eyes wasn't as bright.

My travels around the subdivision would often take me past
Rita's house. I would see Littlebit lying next to the garage
door, as if waiting for Paul to come out and climb into his
pickup and allow Big Dog into the shotgun seat.

It broke my heart. Rita loved that dog as much as Paul, but
you could tell Littlebit felt abandoned. She was a smart dog,
but she couldn't fathom why Paul had left her. Where had he
gone? When would he be back?

I'm ashamed of it now, but I actually found another route
around the neighborhood so I wouldn't have to see her.

Littlebit died late last month. She was 13 and dog experts say
that's a ripe old age for large breeds. Rita buried her next
to Delta, another beloved family member who died a couple of
years ago. I wish she had called me and Peg and let us help,
but Rita is an independent sort. It was probably something she
felt she should do herself. It couldn't have been easy.

When Paul died, Rita swore she would never leave these
mountains, but the pull of grandkids made her decide to spend
the winters near her son and his family in Arizona.

Last week we had our first water board meeting without Rita. It
was more than a little strange. Rita and Paul had been
important to our little community for years. I told the other
board members about Littlebit. They hadn't heard. They were
all saddened.

Don, our board president, said, "I guess that old dog wanted to
go be with Paul."

It was 3 AM. I know because when I woke up I checked the clock
on the nightstand. Sleep normally comes easy for me, but last
night it was fitful. I couldn't shake the image of Littlebit
lying by the garage door. Like dominoes, that image tumbled
into others in my sleep-fuzzed mind...Paul and other friends I
had lost over the years, both two legged and four legged. The
tears came.

Athletes call it The Wall. It's when they have expended all the
energy they can and suddenly can't go further. It's like
hitting a wall.

I guess I hit my own emotional wall last night. I was having
silly thoughts like wouldn't it be nice to be a kid again when
your family and friends didn't go away. I'm normally a rational
realist. Rationality and reality seemed to escape me last
night. I silently cussed myself.

I'll get back to normal in due time. I'll be my old
argumentative hard-headed self before you know it.

Meanwhile, I think I'll go out and play with my dogs.

Don Vanlandingham

September is a wonderful time in the Sacramentos. Temperatures
in the comfort zone. Lots of sunshine. This September has been
no exception.

Highs in the low-70s. Lows occasionally dipping into the high
thirties in the early morning hours. The buzzing of chainsaws
fill the air as locals begin to put up firewood. The rain has
subsided. No new moisture this week.
When we send out the Newsletter, we get lots of Auto-Replies

These are computer generated emails telling us "I'm out of the
office," "I'm on vacation," etc.

This is really a very poor practice.

Stop and think a minute.

These Auto-Replies are being sent back to every single piece
of spam coming to that email address.

This means that this person is confirming their email address
for the spammer. 

Spammers love it when an email address is confirmed, because
they often do not "own" your email address. They buy the email
addresses from companies who may only sell them a single use.

Anyone who confirms their email address to a spammer is going
to get lots more spam.

Unless you can set up your Auto-Replies to ONLY go out to a
specified list of people who it is very important for you to
notify that you are unavailable, DO NOT USE AUTO-REPLIES.

Uncontrolled Auto-Replies are a very bad idea. They double the
amount of email traffic and they confirm email addresses to
Enrollment for grades K through 12 at Cloudcroft schools is
432. That is down from last year's enrollment of 449, according
to the superintendent's office.
For the woman not afraid to make her own fashion statement.
Fashion accessories you'll not find anywhere else. It's a small
shop for the lady with big fashion ideas! We're open every day,
located next to The Copper Butterfly on historic Burro Street.
(505) 682-2897 or email us at: gypsyswagon@mountainmonthly.com.


Q - Will we need snow chains to visit Cloudcroft in the winter?

A - Otero County is good at keeping the main roads clear during
the winter, but there are occasions when snow and freezing rain
makes things a little dicey. By all means, pack chains just in
case or come to Cloudcroft in a four-wheel-drive with good
tires. Remember, driving a 4wd is no excuse for speeding or
other bad driving habits. I'm speaking from experience.
September 20 -- Lumber Jack Day. Zenith Park, Cloudcroft.

September 20 -- Cloudcroft at home Vs. Hatch. (2pm) Varsity

September 20 -- "Run to the Aspens" car show. Motorcycles to
vintage. No charge for entry. No admission charge. Buckhorn
parking lot in Cloudcroft. Call Rusty (1-505-682-5032) for more

September 19-21 -- Healing Hearts. www.GatheringOfCircles.com

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

September 26 -- Cloudcroft at Ft. Sumner. Varsity football.

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

October 4 -- Cloudcroft at home against Carrizozo. (2pm)
Varsity football.

October 11 -- Cloudcroft at home against Faith Christian
(2pm) Varsity football.

October 17 -- Cloudcroft at Capitan. (7:30) Varsity

October 18, 19 -- High Rolls Apple Festival.

October 24 -- Cloudcroft at Mescalero (7:30). Varsity

November 1 -- Cloudcroft at home against Hagerman. (2pm)
Varsity football.

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 button.


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:

Re Mrs. Sebesta's concerns about the length of time required
to dry a load of clothing/household linens, etc.

My home is on Hwy 82 about 2/3 of the way between Cloudcroft
and Mayhill. I have an older Kenmore gas dryer and my clothes,
linens, etc. dry in about the same amount of time it took in
Houston. I don't foresee any problems for you.

Sue Morris

Dear Newsletter:

When we lived there we did not have electricity, so we had a
propane dryer, and used the generator to run the washer, dryer,
vacuum; and solar for the TV and lights. We also had propane
lights, and kerosene Aladdin lamps with special high altitude

I dry one washer of laundry in 20 minutes, I think the results
of the dry air kept it from taking longer. Large, heavy loads
take longer.

Ilda Calvert
Jerusalem, AR

Dear Newsletter:

I am responding to Marjorie in Lake Jackson TX concerning the
dryer issue.

My husband and I moved into our new home in Mayhill last Dec.

We have an electric dryer and it works wonderfully. Thick
towels and blankets do take longer, so I try to make those
loads smaller. As to whether to use a gas vs. electric dryer
I would recommend electric. The propane bills can get mighty
high in the deep dark depths of winter, and OCEC has much lower
rates for electricity. Those are my two cents worth.

We moved her from Las Cruces and love every minute of it. We
would come up to Cloudcroft as often as possible and after 20
years we are happy to be full time residents. We are looking
forward to watching the leaves turn everyday instead of just
on one weekend!

Thanks for the lovely newsletter every week.

D'Niese Mills

Dear Newsletter:

You know, it is hard to contemplate sharing Cloudcroft with
other people. 

When I read letters to the editor saying that the writer has
enjoyed Cloudcroft but won't be back for various reasons, I
guiltily feel a sense of satisfaction. Probably sometimes you
residents of the village feel that same way about me and a lot
of others who love Cloudcroft.

Your newsletter is great and the highlight of my e-mail week,
but sometimes I wish that fewer people received it. It makes
me nervous when so many writers talk about their plans to move
to Cloudcroft "some day".

By the way, I suspect that Village residents don't want to be
thought of as "secret retreat" for Texans!

Thanks for keeping us in touch with a dream.

Lee Phillips

Dear Newsletter:

My wife and I visited Cloudcroft in June for the first time. 
We truly love the town.

We are planning to return in late December, probably 27th.
Could you recommend a 2 bedroom cabin with good privacy and

Also, will roads be icy? Do we need chains for tires? Any
information will be appreciated.

Thank You,
Perry & Christi Young
Cleburne, Texas

[Most places are already rented for Christmas, but there
could be some last minute cancellations.

Yes, chains are recommended for that time of year. - Don]

We received way too many letters on last issue's editorial
to include them all. Below is a selection of what you sent
us. Thanks for all the letters. Since we are not a political
publication, we request that you do not send letters in
response to any of the letters published here.

Dear Newsletter:

Thank you Don. Maybe your comments will wake some people up.
We can and must forgive, but we also must make certain that
this terrorist type tragedy can not occur again in our 
lifetime. If we forget, who will ever remember and be on guard?

I passed your newsletter on to those where my wife works. We'll
see if anyone pays any attention to it.

Peace and love,
Mtn. Home, AR

Dear Newsletter:

Don, referring to your comment that a lot of clenched fists
have lost their grip: It's hard to grasp at empty space, the
empty lies told to us by this administration to get the country
rallied for war. Meanwhile, the Taliban and al Quaeda have
been allowed to regroup in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the very
perpetrators of the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

When we can trust our leaders to tell us the truth, then our
resolve will stay strong. Bush et al have lied about WMD,
connections between Iraq and al Quaeda, Iraq's chemical
weapons, Iraq's nuclear weapons, and possible about their
intelligence warnings preceding 9/11.

You think this situation is as clear as black and white. I
don't. I say Bush has a lot of questions to answer and the
faster he provides credible reasons for his actions, the faster
this country can either rally around him or vote for another

Chris Kaiser

Dear Newsletter:

Thanks, your article today on the "War and 9-11" was very well

I hope a lot of people read it, think about it, pass it on and
then maybe some of these people will stop complaining. Like
you, I do not like war, but I would rather do as much fighting
as we can in their backyard and leave as little fighting as
possible in our backyard. It's good to have been born in the
USA. Just think in more countries then not, we could not be
talking this way.

Marjorie Sebesta
Lake Jackson, Tx. 

Dear Newsletter:

I loved your comments about the lack of resolve on the part of
the American People. I too am afraid that we are beginning to
become lax as to our role in combating world terrorism.

As election year draws closer I know I will be disheartened by
the comments against our actions. I sometimes wonder about all
the people that are now willing to stand up and cry foul in
regard to terrorism policies. Are they so desensitized that
they cannot remember what happened only 2 years ago? Are we now
a nation of lazy, self indulgent, immediate gratification,

Where is our spirit, our pride, our honor? I for one will NEVER
forget, and will not rest till those responsible have been dealt

Thanks again,
Kevin Haley
Merkel, TX 

Dear Newsletter:

Amen! I couldn't have said it better myself. The apathy and
lack of patriotism in this country among the younger
generations (and I'm lumping everyone under 40 into that group)
saddens and frightens me for our future.

(And just in case anyone is wondering, I'm under 50, female and
very proud to be a U.S. Navy veteran.) I strongly believe that
every single person, male or female, white, black, red, yellow
or purple who enjoys the privilege of living in this great
nation of ours should be required to do a minimum of two years
of government service to earn the right to continue to enjoy the

And as our Commander in Chief says frequently, "May God
continue to bless the United States of America."

Janet Pearson

Dear Newsletter:

If you really wanted revenge for 9-11 maybe America should
have invaded the Saudi's. There is a lot of evidence the
Saudi royal family was involved in the 9-11 plot.

Bush was wrong on weapons of mass destruction, wrong on links
to Al-Qaeda, wrong on every prediction on what Saddam Hussein
might do when attacked, consistently wrong on his whereabouts,
wrong on the ability of Iraq's oil production to overcome the
cost of reconstruction and dead wrong on the number of troops
necessary to maintain an occupation safely.

However the bill has come due. Please send a check for $600.00
made payable to the Pentagon as a downpayment on the war against
the Iraqi people. (You and your wife's share of the cost.) Your
money will be good until March of next year when who knows how
much more will be due.

Craig Clark,
Cloudcroft, NM

Dear Newsletter:

Amen to your editorial. I too worry about our "ADD" prone
society. As an "Army Brat" who lived all over the states and
Japan as a child in the 50's, I am surprised at the lack of
history remembered or learned by far too many Americans.
Guess it's just politics, but doesn't that seem even worse? Not
just our freedom, but our lives are at stake in this war. I
agree with Bill O'Reilly, Fox News' "The Factor" when he called
it World War III last night. 
This isn't a police action in Kosovo, this is war! Wake up
America, for it's not just the Presidency at stake, it's our
way of life. World War II kept President Roosevelt in for four
terms because the nation came together for a common goal - the
defeat of Germany, Italy & Japan!

In this current election cycle, which is coming far too soon,
some seem to feel it's more important to regain political power
than support a Commander-in-Chief who is up to the task of
facing down our enemy. I guess some may be content with living
like they do in Israel. I'm not. Thank God for our brave young
men and women who leave this blessed nation to defend us on
foreign shores. I have nieces and nephews who are serving and
may be deployed at any time. They love, respect and believe the
fight is worth their sacrifice. We must stay the course or
their sacrifice is meaningless.
We built and still own Maple Crest Cabins, 8 miles east of
Cloudcroft and are happy to say that all our guests over the
last 16 years, seem to have that Patriotic American Attitude
that formed this great nation. Perhaps that is the greatest
draw Cloudcroft has - the American Spirit to conquer the
wilderness and dream the big dreams - despite the moths!

Loved your newsletter, when we were absentee owners and had
hired a manager. Now that we're back in the mountains, it's
still fun!

Jan & Robert Brooks,
Maple Crest Cabins 

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