September 26, 2003
Dear Subscriber:

While I try and stay neutral in this column with regard to
politics, it's hard. I'm a political junky.

We have 6 television sets in our house. It is probably
over-kill from the days before satellite TV when we had no
television at all in these somewhat isolated hills.

In the morning when I'm getting ready for the day I'm not far
from the morning's political news. My TV remote is close to my
razor as I click back and forth from one news channel to
another while gargling. I've actually caught myself trying to
dry my hair with the TV remote.

I am also a football fan.

It's funny how football and politics are so much alike.

People support their favorite politicians despite the fact that
they haven't really produced anything for them.

People support their favorite football teams even when they
have a losing record.

People take their politics and their football seriously. Both
persuasions are big on waving flags and painting banners. The
two genres are the source of the overwhelming majority of
bumper stickers.

Football and politics share some of the same nomenclature, like
offense, defense, front line and fake. Both groups are good at
handing off, too.


I can complicate anything.

It was time to buy a new bed. We were in Lubbock so we went to
a bed store there and bought a bed. I was proud of Peggy.
Since the bed was for a guest room and Peggy would likely spend
little time sleeping on it, we didn't have to test drive all
the beds in the store. We just found one of reasonable quality
and price, signed on the dotted line and started for the front

I knew in my heart it was all too easy.

We started loading the bed into the back of the pickup. Too
big. We have a camper shell on our pickup which limits the
cargo space. We shoved and puffed but it wouldn't fit. I was
afraid we might rip it so I decided to tie it to the roof of
the camper shell. Jed Clampett would have been proud of me.
We bought the bed in Lubbock so it had to travel the 240 miles
back to Cloudcroft. We got about 2 miles before the mattress
started shifting off the roof. I stopped just in time to keep
the new bed from becoming road kill and re-tied the knots in
the ropes. Only 238 miles to go. It was Peggy that came up
with the solution to our problem.

We took the bed back to the bed store and got our money back.

Today we drove the short distance to Alamogordo and bought a
new bed. Another quick and painless transaction. This time we
took a trailer. As we were loading the bed in the trailer, I
noticed thunder clouds building over the mountains. Rain and
new beds don't mix. It looked as if our lives were once again
about to become complicated.

I didn't spend 3 months in the Boy Scouts for nothing. I was

In the back of my pickup I carry a small tool box, a tow chain,
a flashlight and, yes, over in the corner, a neatly folded

It took about an hour to tie down the tarp over the new bed.
It's basic physics. One tarp plus 55 miles an hour and rain can
result in a ripped cover and a wet bed if not tied down
properly. It began raining hard.

The gods did not want me to have this bed.

We finally got our prize home. I did too good a job tying down
the tarp. It took another hour in the rain to undo it. I had
to untie all the knots. Peggy said cut the rope and be done
with it. I said I paid 3 dollars for this rope and I'll be
hanged if I'll cut it up. Rain was dripping off my nose.

We moved the bed into the house. One little wet spot on it. I
must not have tied enough knots. It's not ruined, but I wanted
so badly to bring home a dry bed. It was the principle of the

So, how was your day?

Don Vanlandingham

A little rain today (as I said) but otherwise dry. The foliage
is turning. The new moisture will likely accelerate the change.

Highs around 70. Lows in the upper-30s.
There were lots of motorcycles (and riders) in town this last



I talked to (County Commissioner) Mike Nevison at the Cloudcroft
dump. He was dumping and I was dumping. Our topic of
conversation was dumping. He said there are major overhauls in
the planning stages for the refuse disposal system in

Now, the dump area is closed from 1 to 3 days of each week,
depending upon the volume. At issue is the use of the dumping
area by building contractors that use the roll-offs for
demolition materials. According to village ordinances, they're
not supposed to do that. The closest deposit for high volume
refuse is near La Luz (about 18 miles away).
Open all the time. Cloudcroft's only convenience store. Gas,
deli, picnic supplies. Located on Highway 82, downtown

Don´t forget to mention you saw it on Cloudcroft Online!


Q - Is there golf in the winter in Cloudcroft?

A - No. Our mountain courses stay open until the weather gets
inclement (usually toward the end of October). However, the
golf course in Alamogordo is pretty much open year-round. It's
only 30 minutes away.
September 26 -- Cloudcroft at Ft. Sumner. Varsity football.

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

October 4 -- Cloudcroft Art Society Sale and Show. 10am-4pm
Old Red Brick School House.

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

October 5 -- Cloudcroft Art Society Sale and Show. 11am-5pm
Old Red Brick School House.

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:

I feel a lot of different emotions reading the Cloudcroft
Newsletter, well, mostly I feel envy for you who live there!

But this weeks' newsletter about Big Dog moved me to tears.
Thanks for sharing this story with us.

By the way, the newsletter is such a bargain! Where else can
you get good writing and the pleasure of sharing such a
wonderful place as Cloudcroft for free!

Lee Phillips

Dear Newsletter:

Don, thanks for sharing your very human experience dealing with
the recent losses of your friends, both human and animal.

We all benefit when we think about and talk about our pain.
Your story this week of your friends Paul and Rita and their
dog Littlebit resonated with readers like me because we feel
for you and yours while we also re-experience and try to manage
the losses of our own loved ones.

I lost my dad this summer to complications tied to Parkinsons,
a disease that takes lives slowly and a little bit sadly.

Two months later, I'm still in some degree of shock and feel
like I've barely grieved. As all of us who have lost loved ones
know, we go through our stages of shock and grief over a very
long period of time (we don't ever truly get over these losses).

It is in those "wee hours" of night we sometimes feel doubt
and despair. It helps all of us when someone writes publicly of
a poignant life experience we all share. We recognize ourselves
in you. We feel less alone.

Thanks again and god bless.

Lyn Canham
Sandia Park, NM

Dear Newsletter:

I always look forward to Thursdays, because I know my
"Cloudcroft Newsletter" will be in my e-mail!

Well, today, Mr. Don, you made me cry! That was a very
touching tale about your friends & their dog, Littlebit!
Aren't pets wonderful? They love you like no one else does.

I continue to enjoy your 'stories' -- thanks so much!

Carole Arnold
El Paso, TX

Dear Newsletter:

Just want to thank you for your newsletter. My son and my
daughter and her family, son 14 and daughter 9, just moved
to Cloudcroft. My daughter's new husband's family is from
there. Rogers Auto Shop is owned by his father.
I went on the internet to see what it is like up there!
Beautiful! We are all from a small mountain town in northern
California so I am hoping my kids will feel at home there.
We have always lived close to each other so this separation
has been difficult. They all seem happy and excited to be
starting a new life there!
Thank you for helping me feel a little closer to them!
God Bless
Linda Runyon

Dear Newsletter:

I wonder how many people had tears in their eyes as they read
about Littlebit and Paul.

I live in Big Spring, TX. My husband, Grady, and our mini-
poodle, Muffin, are inseparable and everyone loves Muffin as
their own. She is on the golf course everyday, is more at home
in the golf car than anyone else in town.

She knows when she is to get out, when she may chase a ball,
and when to be completely still when someone is putting. She
is lost even if Grady has gone to the store.

I related so much to your story. Grady is a heart patient, and
73 years young. My heart went out to Littlebit and the friends
he had in Cloudcroft for I know Muffin will be the same.

Wishing you all well,
Dottie Rogers

Dear Newsletter:

Your story about Paul, Rita and sweet Littlebit was very
touching. I must congratulate you Don, you sure know how to
bring a tear to those who read your newsletter.

By the way, I wrote to you sometime back when I was coming to
Cloudcroft to look at a cabin. Well, it didn't turn out to
be what my wife and I expected, but we haven't given up hope.
We'll continue to look from time to time.

Thanks for your great newsletters. Please don't change.

Dominick Fiumara,
Las Cruces

Dear Newsletter:

I loved the story about Littlebit aka Big Dowg.
I and my husband have not written too many times to you, and
I am trying to get this note off to you, but my eyes are
tearing up so bad it's hard to see the screen and make sure
my typing is correct.

I always enjoy the dog stories that you include ever so often,
we here in our house have great affection, love even, if you
will, for our 4 legged people. I am not some crazed animal
rights activist or anything, but I am crazy about our 4 dogs
and one smart alecky cat.

I have never owned 4 dogs all at once, and sometimes feel a
bit overwhelmed by them, but never in this lifetime would I
willingly give them up. 

Our friends think us strange because all of them (only one
is small) live in the house with us, and we have one previous
loved one's ashes on our shelf, I just can't seem to give
him up yet, and he is the reason I have 4 dogs now.

He came to Cloudcroft with us a few times, he was a large Irish
Wolfhound and he loved the cool mountain air, he went on hikes
with us, and was never ready to turn back when we became tired,
but where we went he was going to follow or die trying.

Even though he is not here with me I think of him often, and
times are still measured BG and AG (Before Gabriel and After
Gabriel) in my heart.

I was sorry to hear of Mr. Lofton's passing and then touched by
his small companion's grief. I am sure that Mr. Lofton and
Littlebit are riding in something finer than an ole pickup now. 

Thank you for your stories and making me feel not so silly for
loving a four legged being so much.
Jeanie Yarbrough
PS. We can't go back to being little, but we can sure make the
most of the time here while we can. Now I'm going to take my
critters outside and play ball with them.

Dear Newsletter:

I had a difficult time finishing your article about Paul and
Little Bit because a strange fog seemed to cover my eyes.

Just two weeks ago, we had to have our precious little Bandit
put to sleep. She was 12 years old and helped us raise our two
kids, now 23 and 26, and I still find myself walking to the
backdoor as soon as I get home from school to let her in.

How I miss her bright little eyes and that bushy tail wagging
in joy when she ran to meet me.

Even after she became so ill, those eyes still lit up as much
as possible, and that tail still wagged as much as she could

I'm grateful I still have my grown children and my husband with
whom I can share memories of all our pets--Bits, Nibbles,
Spuds, Rascal, and Bandit.

Thank you for your beautiful memorial to your special friends
and their special pets. What a lovely reminder to value each
moment we have with those we love, both human and nonhuman.

Nena Tatum
El Paso

Dear Newsletter:

Just started receiving your newsletter three weeks ago and I
have enjoyed them so much.

We are planning on moving to the Alamogordo/Cloudcroft area in
the spring and it is interesting to see what people have to
say about the area.

I lived there for a short time in my teens so don't remember
much, but we are retired military and think we would enjoy the

Do you have any problems with elec. in the winter time?

Keep up the good work with your newsletters and I look forward
to its arrival now every week.
Nancy and Lee Platt
Weeki Wachee, Fl.

Dear Newsletter:

After many years of visiting, my wife and I purchased a small
cabin in Cloudcroft this summer. Nearing retirement age, it was
the most excited I have been in years.

My wife teaches, so I have been assigned the numerous trips to
return and paint, repair outside stairs, etc. I have loved it.
I need some expert advice however. Two raccoons have apparently
enjoyed the vacant cabin for sometime. After a great deal of
searching, I found where they were entering and proceeded to
seal the hole with flashing.

However, thinking they were out, I have discovered they
unfortunately have been trapped inside the crawl space. How can
I catch these critters?

When I place a live trap in the crawl space, the little 'pack
rats' cheerfully eat the bait and wait for me to release them
down the mountain. Any suggestions or persons who can help?

Your story on Littlebit was very difficult to read. We brought
our 14 year old schnauzer with us to enjoy the excitement. I
guess the altitude, climbing the stairs, etc. was hard on him.
He has not been the same since we got back. Littlebit made me
realize Fritz would not be riding shotgun with me for much

Don, write about Iraq, moth problems, etc. I can handle that.
This one was 'too close' and too sad.

I hope to get to meet you when we get settled in and tell you
how much we enjoy your newsletter.

Ben Vaughan
San Antonio, TX.

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