February 20, 2004
Dear Subscriber:

I am teetering on the lip of the abyss...about to fall into an
addiction as insidious as any known drug. It is known as the
video game.

When I was in my mid-20s, I battled the draw of arcades with
its Asteroids and Space Invaders and Pac Man games among other
electronic quarter burners.

Eventually I lost interest and turned my recreational
attentions to putting a little white ball into a hole in the
grass 400 yards away. Not an intellectual improvement, but at
least I was getting more sunshine.

I was surfing the net last month and came across a video game
on Yahoo. My resistance failed me. Against my better judgment I
clicked on it.

Table Pool. 8 ball, to be exact. Very high tech with realistic
SFX and you can test your skills against players all over the
world. I played a guy in Egypt last week. There was a language
barrier on the message line, but it seems there are several four
letter words that are universal when it comes to pool.

There's even a rating system that tells you how you measure up
to the global competition. I've developed a pretty mean stick.
I'm good enough now that the 12-year-olds refuse to play me.

I thought I was immune to such nonsense, but I play every
evening. Peggy pauses at the office door, sees me worrying
over a shot and mumbling at the screen. She shakes her head
and walks away.

Pool is an old vice of mine. Back in 1980 I was divorced and
losing my bearings. I had a business that was weekends only.
During the week, I shot pool. Real pool...on a real table.

The little pool hall I played in was veiled in a cigarette haze
with loud and often ugly talk with country music on the Juke
box. The same people came in every night. I liked most of them.
We shared a love of the game. Looking back, I realize I didn't
know many of their last names. Matter of fact we mostly went by
nicknames. It got a little confusing because there were several
guys who had the same nicknames.

Someone would say "Hey, Stick...let's shoot a game" and three
guys would stand up. You would think "Fats" would be a popular
pool hall nick-name but no...at least not where I played.

There were rare fights. I was a pacifist when it came to pool
room brawls so when the fights broke out I hung up my cue stick
and went home. I only got into one fight and he was drunk and I
was in a hurry to leave so neither one of us got hurt.

There's something about a good 8 ball pool game. It's a little
like chess. You have to plan 4 or 5 shots ahead when you're
playing good competition. When I played someone that had the
propensity to drill shots...I knew I was in pretty good shape.
Pool is not a game of aggression. It's more a game of finesse.
Pool has some kinship to golf. Equipment is important. A good
pool cue is as valuable as a good putter. Most golfers are
reverent about taking care of the golf course. Serious pool
players wouldn't think of abusing a pool table.

It's best to maintain a humble attitude when playing pool. You
shouldn't act like you know what you're doing or you're liable
to be called a shark which can get you into a world of hurt. I
learned to avoid playing strangers. I played people that knew
me and I knew them and we were of more or less equal talent on
the table so we spent a lot of evenings beating each other.

As my life became more stable I drifted from pool. I had
assumed it was simply a part of my less responsible past when
Yahoo blind sided me with their cyber version. At least in this
computer pool hall there are no fights. I played a hot-head
from North Carolina last night that threatened to beat me up
after I double banked the 8 into a corner pocket for the win,
but it's a long way to drive to New Mexico from North Carolina
just to take a swing at somebody, especially when you don't know
what part of New Mexico that person lives in and all you have is
his first name...Stick.

Unlike the Texas pool hall I used to visit 25 years ago, there
are a lot of ladies playing on-line. Many of them are excellent
shots. I like playing the more accomplished female players. On
the message line there's a lot more "good shot" and "nice game"
and a lot less potty talk.

I can hear it now. You're saying, "Get a life, Don."

I think that's what Peggy said last night when she passed the
office door.

Don Vanlandingham

An unseasonably warm week. Highs in the mid-50s. Lows in the
mid-20s. Still enough snow on the ground for tubing and other
snow play activities.
By Arlan Ponder, Cloudcroft Mountain Monthly

With the absence of Village Administrator Mike Nivison, trustees
took an hour and half to make short work of the Council agenda.

Nivison's absence left trustees unable to take action on the
replacement of handicapped accessible parking stripes in front
of First National Bank and the Comprehensive Fire Safety
Ordinance. The trustees were also not privy to information in
the Administrator's Report like an update on the fire hydrant
project; PRVs in the Woodlands; and a water meter at the
Glorietta Fire Station.

Mayor Dave Venable provided a Legislative Update regarding
key issues for Cloudcroft. He said he was "grateful" to the
state lawmakers who met with the contingency from Cloudcroft
during visits to Santa Fe on February 5th and February 6th.
Venable said representatives from Cloudcroft met with Sen.
Dianna Duran, Sen. Don Kidd and Rep. Avon Wilson in hallways
and offices of the Round House.

Bruce Gillespie, site operations manager for Apache Point
Observatory, offered a review of the 10-year old Dark Sky
Ordinance. The ordinance was designed to assist the Sacramento
Mountains' amateur and professional astronomers with their
nightly studies of the stars.

Gillespie said after several complaints last year, the
process of updating the ordinance began. He said a committee was
formed with five to six members to research existing Dark Sky
ordinances around New Mexico and the US. According to Gillespie,
Otero and New Mexico both have similar ordinances, but they are
convoluted and complex.

Changes will be made to the current ordinance rather than
creating a new one, which would take a considerable amount of

Under an item identified as Cloudcroft Community Corporation
Grant Proposal for Recreation Facilities, Trustee Barbara
Springer said Dixie Neal had agreed to write two grants for the
village. One was for land and water money for recreation
facilities and the other was for the resurfacing of the tennis

In water related issues, Trustee Erich Wuersching asked his
fellow trustees if they would consider adding the pond near Ski
Cloudcroft to the current water restrictions. Trustee Barbara
Springer suggested possibly creating Level 4 restrictions, which
would include the pond, but no action was taken.

The Council also heard from Jeremy Adams regarding Ski
Cloudcroft's lease payment, which was due on January 15th. Adams
said he had discussed the issue with Nivison and a payment would
be made on February 17th, however it was not relayed to the
village trustees.

Trustees adjourned the open session of the meeting at the
request of Wuersching and went into executive session to discuss
pending litigation against Ski Cloudcroft.

The Village Council will meet Tuesday, March 9th, at 6 pm in
the Council Chambers at 201 Burro Ave.
Great location in the Village, yet gently secluded nestled in
the trees. Beautiful new 3 bedroom/3 bath/garage/sleeps 8. Fully
furnished kitchen and linens. New southwestern furnishings;
river rock fireplace; cable TV; video player; washer/dryer/
large covered deck; BBQ grill; all the comforts of home and

For more information, email bvirtue@houstontexans.nfl.com, call
(281) 497-1034, or see the link to our web site on the Lodging
page of Cloudcrot.com:


Next performance April 4.


Q - Parking in downtown Cloudcroft is either feast or famine.
On busy weekends finding a parking spot is almost impossible.
Any plans to fix the situation?

A - Parking has always been a political hot-button issue in the
village. Merchants say their lives would be made easier if
potential customers had a place to park. Those against the
addition of parking space say shop-owners are just greedy and
more pavement is bad for the village even if space was

It's an argument that has been going on for years with no
resolution in sight.
February 20-22 -- Cloudcroft Mardi Gras.

February 24 -- The Little Angels. Korean dance troupe.
Flickenger Center. Alamogordo. 7:30.

February 29 -- Lake Lucero tour. White Sands. 679-2599

March 3 -- High Noon Book Discussion Club, Cloudcroft Library.
Noon. The book being discussed is Atonement by Ian McEwan.

March 20 -- Project Linus. Old Red Brick Schoolhouse. 10am.

April 10 -- Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Bonnet Parade

May 8 -- Old Timer's Reunion

May 29, 30 -- Mayfest

June 18, 19, 20 -- Western Roundup

June 25-27 -- Chimney Spring Bluegrass Festival. For more
information call 505-687-3520.
July 10, 11 -- July Jamboree

September 19 -- Gary Johnson’s Cloudcroft Run. World’s highest
certified 10k run. For more information call 505-687-2133.

October 2, 3 -- Oktoberfest

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
Workshops. The Cloudcroft Art Society will not be meeting in
December or January. The next meeting will be the first Sunday
at 2pm in February.

Cox Canyon Volunteer Fire and Rescue is organizing an
auxiliary unit. If you would like to help support this group
of dedicated men and women, call 682-3084, 682-4664, 682-3719
or 682-3234.

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:

We are in Cloudcroft today for a few days and were very
apprehensive about coming from Lubbock with the road conditions
of the last few days. However, as usual, the State and Village
of Cloudcroft Road maintenance folks have done themselves proud;
and we are so thankful that they have allowed us to visit our
property with a minimum amount of inconvenience.

Please thank them one and all. 


Dear Newsletter:

I remember many wonderful times I spent in and near Cloudcroft
as a child. Now, many, many years since then, I am going to be
back where life was so relaxing and free. It will just be for
a few days, but I know I will leave with new, wonderful
memories of a very special place in my heart. 
I enjoy your newsletter very much, and look forward to each
edition. Keep up the great work, and continue to appreciate
the beauty that surrounds you and sharing it with others. 
Sandi from Ohio 

Dear Newsletter:

Really enjoy your newsletter every week.

I know your father-in-law, Dr. Thomas, and admire him greatly.
Anyway, I had to laugh at your subject this week - I call them
"senior moments!"

Anne Coleman
Las Cruces, NM

Dear Newsletter:

My short-term memory is in my breast pocket. Now all I have to
remember is to pull it out and read it.

Best regards,
Peter Chase
Alpine, TX

Dear Newsletter:

Was that tongue-in-cheek humor the person wrote about the dog
licking you in the face story?

To us, Cloudcroft is our favorite place! We can run, sniff the
pine trees, dig our noses in the snow and play outside for
hours in our yard there. At home, we only get the back yard
and walking on a leash. And we are lucky if we get that,
because our family works all day and is tired when they get
home. They only want to cuddle and take a nap!

To us, Cloudcroft is DOG TOWN, USA! Please keep those animal
stories coming! We especially like the bear ones! See you at
Spring Break!

HoHo and Teddy Bear
San Antonio, TX

Dear Newsletter:

Regarding the writer that objected to you writing about your
dog, rest assured that there are many of us out here that enjoy
reading about our furry friends.
As a Police K9 officer on his 3rd "Partner," I like dog stories,
so just have at it when the mood strikes you.
Off. Joe Cerrato
Texarkana, TX

Dear Newsletter:

If B** B** is so serious about everything that he/she cannot
appreciate the stories you tell, then please remove the name
(if it is a legitimate name) from your mailing list. 

I personally look forward to reading the newsletter each and
every week. I can always find something that is either
humorous, inspirational or educational in each and every one
of them. You have managed to bring back a lot of memories and
good common sense knowledge from the past that both my husband
and I can pass along to our 17 year old son. 

Don, thank you for all you do. 

A couple of faithful Las Cruces Readers 

Dear Newsletter:

Apparently one of your readers has never had a deadline to
meet when it comes to writing a weekly column. As small, yet
wonderful as Cloudcroft is, I wonder where the complainer
thinks column material comes from . . . the forests?

Keep up the good work whether a dog licks you in the face or
a squirrel poops on your toes!

Don Ammons
Post, TX 

Dear Newsletter:

Just read the letter from obviously disgruntled "subscriber",
B** B**. Please excuse us all, B**! We keep finding ourselves
able to escape back into gentler times with the Cloudcroft

Can't find too much wrong with "discussing" friendly dogs,
snow-covered dirt roads and forgotten family values.

Perhaps you should subscribe to "Rolling Stones" and the Wall
Street Journal...they'd love to have you.

Three cheers for fuddy duddy Don!

Barbara Karcher
Alto, NM

Dear Newsletter:

I feel sorry for B** B** if he cannot see the feeling one can
have from a faithful companion giving the unqualified affection
without being asked for it. I think it is good that he/she does
not want the newsletter any longer. I hope that later in life
they reach the point where they see the joy something so small
and free can bring to a person.

Dave Carpenter
Loving, NM 

Dear Newsletter:

What is B**'s problem? I bet it is hard to pronounce.

Dear Newsletter:

Thanks for the letters--by the way I like hearing about your
dog licking your face, face licking dogs have kept food on my
table and put three kids most of the way through college.
Elroy Whitworth, D.V.M.
Bastrop, Tx

Dear Newsletter:

I love your witty letters and enjoy hearing the Cloudcroft
news. Wish I was there now. My family has a cabin near
Sacramento and my brother lives near you in Silver Cloud. We
are a bunch of dog lovers and never tire of those hilarious
doggie stories. and we all need to sharpen our minds against
Alzheimer's. Good article!

Ann Turner Hurt,
El Paso , Texas

Dear Newsletter:

Our most recent "Thelma and Louise" road trip through NM was
all the more delightful last year for the luck that brought us
to your fair hamlet. Hope you don't change a thing!

As for B** B**, since he/she is no longer a subscriber, may I
share my discovery of the anagram:

"There, mate - I'm a baboon!"

(Okay. Winters in Minnesota can be long and tedious and we
sometimes struggle to find ways to amuse ourselves.) 

Thanks for continuing to amuse and delight! 

Thelma in St. Paul

PS: Louise is hoping to meet you when we next come to Cloudcroft
to discuss your mutual brain-damage bond!

Dear Newsletter:

"Lighten Up, BB!"

A lick-lovin' puppy is a joy to the heart!
BB, don't be so serious 'cause life is TOO SHORT!
Ya gotta know what's important and know what to toss.
You only go around once, dear - make wise choices (they're BOSS!!)

Now quit all that frownin' and fussin' 'bout pets.
You know critters around tend to give the heart rest.
Some nuzzle, some purr and some wag their li'l tails.
It's a language, you know - it's honest, it's real.

Come on, BB, you know that life can be tough.
Seen the news? Read the papers? All of that stuff!?!
Give me puppies that lick face and kittens that snuggle.
Hug that critter real close, and forget all your troubles!

Confidentially speakin' (and this one's for Don),
Keep writin' your stories 'cause we need to move on
From those irksome things that give us real pause. 
The Cloudcroft Newsletter....aaahhhh....just because!


Dear Newsletter:

Mr. B** said he could find "...better things to read". To me
this implies he must have better things to do. If you ask me,
that poor man needs a good dog! 

There for the grace of God went I. I used to never sit still.
My mind was constantly planning what to do next - never
realizing that being alive is BEING, not doing. Life is
sacred to me. Good stories are sacred to my soul, too.

I've lived long enough to have loved and lost quite a few
Beings -- human and otherwise. Now each time I hug my husband,
friend, dog, or cat, I realize that they could be gone with
an exhalation of breath in the next instant. The pain of loss
lies very shallowly beneath the joy and laughter of the present
moment. I pray I continue to BE brave enough to grab hold of
both the joy and the pain.

Therefore, Don, bring me more of those dog-licking-my-face
stories! I can read between the lines and recognize someone
else's happiness and sorrow. It primes my heart to BE open to
all of God's blessings and creations.

Kindest regards,
Rebecca S.
Houston/Robin Hood

Dear Newsletter:

This is the old guy from Las Cruces still hoping to find a
small, suitable haven in Cloudcroft.

Your manner of writing certainly doesn't indicate any residual
damage from your experience back in 1999. I certainly wouldn't
worry about Alzheimer's disease either. Personal philosophy:
I've always felt that a person has the ability to bring on
physical or mental problems by simply dwelling on those 

Nuff said. I too, like many others, experience what I call, 
"Momentary battery rundown" while trying to make a point.
More often than not, I do recall what I was talking about in
a few, short moments and find myself back on the NORM once

One other thing Don, you said something about car keys and that
brought back a memory. I read an article sometime ago regarding
Alzheimer's and the writer of the article said, "It's OK to not
remember (at times) where you left your car keys. It's another
problem when you can't remember what the car keys are for". By
the way Don, I don't remember who wrote the article.

I'll be 75 in April, work out three times a week, not a darn
thing to worry about (except finding a place in Cloudcroft).
Life has been great for my wife and I and our three children
and don't see anything in the future (far or near) that 
indicates any major changes to come.

Keep up the great work that you do.

Dominick Fiumara, Las Cruces, NM.

By the way, as a Post Script and I hope this doesn't sound too
selfish, but I too, like many others, hope Cloudcroft does not
expand to the point where it is no longer recognizable as a 
small, quaint town in the mountains. I certainly do love it as
it is.

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Copyright © 2004 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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