June 29, 2001
Dear Subscriber:

"Dad, if you don't pass your driver's test, you won't get your
license renewed. If you don't get your license renewed, you
can't drive anymore."

I was having to talk very loudly because my 80-year-old father
is as deaf as a velvet picture of Elvis. It would be easy to
say his memory is getting bad, but it is more accurate to say
his memory is getting selective. He seems to remember quite
well things that interest him (like the Atlanta Braves pitching
rotation), but doesn't remember things he could care less about
(like whether or not his driver's license had lapsed).

It's hard to watch a parent grow old. 45 years ago when I was
7 and he was 35, I thought he was most likely the smartest man 
in the world. I was sure the only reason he wasn't president 
of the United States was because he didn't want the job. I was
sure he was the richest man in town. There was no doubt in my 
mind that he could whip any of my friend's fathers and the only
reason he didn't was because he was just such a nice guy.

Now he lives by himself in Ruidoso. Most of his friends are
gone. He's lost interest in playing golf (once the passion of
his life). His best friend is Sammy, his little Shelty. They're
inseparable. I like to watch Sammy watch Dad. His worried eyes
follow Dad around the room as he putters here and there looking
for his tin of Skoal. Sammy goes with Dad everywhere in that 
old red pickup which nowadays is not very often nor very far. 
He drives the block from his house to a small bar on the corner
for a beer every afternoon at about 5. The other patrons of the
place worry about him if he doesn't show up.

Last week he had a fender-bender. The police gave him a ticket
and also cited him for an out-of-date driver's license. A small
nuisance for many of us but for Dad, it could mean a major
lifestyle change. If he was no longer able to drive, an assisted
care center loomed not that far distant in his future. He would
likely have to take a written and a practical driver's test. 
The chances of him passing were somewhat less than his winning 
the lottery.

It was time for a family confrontation. My brother and his
family, my wife Peggy, I and my mother (divorced from Dad for
over 30 years) drove to Ruidoso to see Dad. We arrived 
unannounced and Dad was visibly shocked. At a loss for words 
and not quite knowing how to react he offered Peg a pinch of 
Skoal and told Mom she could stand to lose some weight.

To lighten the atmosphere we all decided to go play miniature
golf. Dad seemed to enjoy it (putting was always the best part
of his golf game). Then we went back to his house and that's
when I brought up the touchy subject of his driving.

"What's the big deal?" he asked. "That lil ole accident wasn't 
my fault anyway".

"You're the one that got the ticket," my brother said.

"Lick what?" Dad asked.

"TICKET" my brother said. "TICK-ET!"

Dad fiddled with the volume on his hearing aid. An indication 
he was getting bored with the path of the conversation.

We began to discuss what was to happen with the Old Man. We
talked about him like he wasn't in the room. Meanwhile he had
fished out his wallet, drawn from it a driver's license and
broke into our conversation.

"Expiration date -- June 21st, 2002."

We all stopped and stared at him. He had a smile on his face
like he'd just rolled in a 30 foot birdie putt.

"Let me see that" Peggy said as she snatched the plastic from 
his hand. She examined it. "Where'd you get this?" she asked.

"Where do you normally get a driver's license?" he mused. "Got
it yesterday. Or maybe it was the day before."

The rest of the family passed the new license around, looking 
at it as if it was a rabbit Dad had just pulled from his hat.

"You didn't have to take a test?" I asked him.

"Do I need a rest?" he said back to me.

"Test, Dad. Never mind."

"I just don't know what the big deal is." He said. He leaned
back in his chair and turned the volume back up on the TV...
a signal that the subject was closed.

We don't know how he pulled it off but there it was...a 
bonafide Mew Mexico Motor Vehicle Operator's Permit. For the 
time being, Dad would be able to live his life his and Sammy's 

The subject of "assisted care" would be relegated to another 
day. We all hoped it wouldn't be anytime soon.

A short time later we got into our cars and left Dad sitting on
the bottom step of his porch scratching Sammy's neck and
searching his pockets for his tin of Skoal. He acted hurt that
we couldn't stay longer but my guess is we had barely driven 
out of sight before he and Sammy headed down to the neighborhood
bar and his afternoon beer and a story to tell his bar friends 
about how he's still smarter than the rest of his family.

Don Vanlandingham

The rain has finally beaten down the fire danger. As of 
Wednesday, it had rained 4 days in a row. The Forest Service 
has lowered the fire danger to "HIGH," but smoking and campfire
restrictions are still in place. Highs in the upper-70s. Lows
in the mid-40s.
The Cloudcroft summer reading program and the Cloudcroft Summer
Youth program are underway. For more details contact Sarah
Welch. (505) 682-2044.
Charming, modern, 2 bedroom, 2 bath, modified A-frame cabin on
the edge of the village. Two decks, 2 TVs, jetted tub, grill,
microwave, fireplace, propane heat, washer/dryer, spiral
staircase, cathedral ceiling. Easy access, walking distance to
shops, but private, with a nice view. Sleeps 6 comfortably; 
non-smoking, but will consider pets. For rates and reservations
please call Steve (505) 524-0122 or email sklinger@zianet.com.
Credit cards accepted. For more information, see their website
link on Cloudcroft.com.
The NMSO is maturing into a nationally recognized symphony. In
both 1977 and 1978, the ASCAP presented the NMSO with the
"Adventuresome Programming of Contemporary Music" award, making
the NMSO the only metropolitan symphony to win the award two
years in a row. In September 1979, Conductor Takeda was awarded
the Governor's Award for Achievement and Excellence in the Arts
in the music category. The Symphony had expanded its audience
from Albuquerque to many communities across the state. During 
the 1978-79 season, the NMSO expanded its audience to children. 
NMSO ensemble programs presented music to first, second, third 
grade and special education students in Albuquerque and Santa 
Q - There are several Sacramento Mountains campgrounds closed
for repairs. Can you tell us which ones?

A - The list, including opening dates and closing dates, varies.
Your most accurate source of information is the Forest Service.
Their Cloudcroft number is (505) 682-2551.
June 30 -- Fiddling Contest -- Open Air Pavilion
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

June 30 -- Fourth of July Parade and Craft Fair, Timberon.
10:30am. For more information, call (505) 987-2258.

July 1 -- Gospel Concert featuring Crystal River. 
11am at Cloudcroft United Methodist Church. 

July 1 -- Gospel Concert featuring Crystal River.
2pm at Zenith Park. Please bring your folding chairs.

July 4 -- Fireworks Display, Space Center, Alamogordo.
For more information, call (505) 437-6120.

July 7 -- Lumberjack Contest. Zenith Park, 11am.
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

July 13-14 -- Melodrama. Open Air Pavilion.

July 14-15 -- July Jamboree. Zenith Park. Crafts Fair, 
Horseshoe Competition, Street Dance.
For more information, call (505) 682-2733. 

July 20-21 -- Melodrama. Open Air Pavilion.

July 20-22 - Bluegrass Festival. Weed, New Mexico.
For more information, call (505) 687-3648.

July 28 -- Chili Cook-off. Ski Cloudcroft.
For more information, call (505) 437-6259.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the second Thursday of each month
in the Old Red Brick School House. Call (505) 682-2494 for 
more information.

Senior Van from Timberon to Alamogordo leaves the Timberon
Lodge promptly at 8:30 every Tuesday morning.

If you have news of public events in the Cloudcroft area, email

For an online calendar of area events, click the Events Calendar
link in the left column of our home page:


Dear Newsletter:

Just a quick thank you note for the weekly Cloudcroft 
Newsletter. I enjoy your sense of humor and delightful 
stories...and so does my sister, Donna Bruton of San Angelo.

At least twice a year or more, her and her husband Bruce, visit
your wonderful Cloudcroft. Last October, they invited me. I 
had the best time of my life. The weather was terrific, the
mountains beautiful, and the people so gracious. I didn't want 
to face reality that I would be leaving in four short days. I 
hope to return soon, hopefully, this fall.

Thanks again for your stories.

Penny R. Evans
Fort Worth, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

I'm not your Mother, but I'm telling you, you have to write a 
book! You make some of the most common things come to life, 
and so full of humor. I'm always sorry when I get to the end of
your opening article, but you are also very good at great ending


Sorry you have been invaded, but it is beautiful!

Carolynne Priore
Lake Kiowa, TX

Dear Newsletter:

In the mid-1940s there was a full sized bowling alley in what 
is now the Lodge Pavilion. I remember going there with my date
and another couple.

Too many senior moments since then to remember details.

R. L. Posey
Mayhill NM

Dear Newsletter:

My brother Mike Jones was a pinsetter at the Cloudcroft Bowling
Alley in the early 60's. I bet he could never find a job to 
match that one again!

Roxana Jones

Dear Newsletter:

I grew up in Odessa in the 50s and 60s and my dad, a small 
business man without the freedom to take long vacations, took 
us to Cloudcroft 3 or 4 times/summer as our only vacations.

We always stayed with the Boyds at Pinecrest Cabins. I have 
bowled many a game at the bowling alley (on the road to The 
Lodge) and was amazed the very first time that pin-boys reset
the pins.

I am 53 now and I am returning next week to Cloudcroft for the
first time since my dad past away in '96. The golf course at 
The Lodge was my dad's favorite place on earth because it was
high and cool in contrast to the heat and dust of his daily 
life. I can't wait to stand on that first tee box and breathe
in the memories.

Tom Akins
Denison, Tx

Dear Newsletter:

Have been receiving your newsletter for over a year and enjoy 
it very much. However, I am wondering why you did not let those
of us who plan vacations in the National Forest Campgrounds 
know that they were closed for repairs. We only found out, 
quite by accident, from friends who had been to Cloudcroft. 

We called and now have reservations at an RV park, but it would
have been nice to know in advance about the closings. In the 
future please consider all your readers and keep us posted on
the changes taking place in the area.

Bo Fryar
Big Spring, TX

Dear Newsletter:

One of your recent articles and some letters back to you 
triggered a forgotten memory of my first encounter of your 
wonderful village.

In June of 1965, my family was traveling to Arizona and we 
stopped for a couple of days in Cloudcroft. Being flatlanders,
it was very different than anything we had been to before. I
remember so well my father opening the door to the cabin we 
rented and immediately getting red-faced. He stomped to the 
office and demanded to know why we had been given a room 
without air conditioning! The owner was very nice and said we
could use all the firewood we needed that night (which we did 
because it got cold).

I never forgot about the little town with the friendly people,
and I brought my daughters to experience the beauty, the 
people, and the slow pace of life.

My wife and I come every year now, and we plan to stay for a 
month this summer with the intention of finding a home to buy.
We have been waiting 11 excruciating months to be able to relax
in your beautiful part of the world.

David and Sandy Hanebutt
Stephenville, Tx

Dear Newsletter:

When I was stationed at Holloman AFB from 70 to 73, a 
psychologist lived down the street who worked with the monkeys.
There was a building on the NE corner, near the sled track,
where the monkeys were studied. The building had an outside 
area that had a moat around it. Ham could have been there 
sometime, I am sure.

Dale Tyler
Killeen, Tx

Dear Newsletter:

I read your newsletter regularly and find information here that
I have neither read nor heard about from any other source. I
appreciate your unbiased opinions on many topics. Therefore, I
feel I can expect an honest answer to the following question.

"Are the water restrictions being mandated to us 'common folk'
the result of trying to fill that monster of a water tank for
The Woodlands?"

Thank you in advance for your response.

A concerned village dweller,
Nita I. Frost

[We will publish any reader's comments on this issue that we

Dear Newsletter:

Mr. Vanlandingham speaks the truth about the t-shirts with one
exception: the plain shirt. The plain shirt was a favorite of 
mine back in middle school. Or, to say it another way: the plain
shirt was a favorite of mine when I was extremely insecure and 
didn't want any attention directed my way.

Plain shirts camouflage you on the sidewalk just as corporate 
logo-ed shirts pronounce your love for... advertising(?).

The unique shirts are the best for me, my favorites coming 
from thrift stores. Cheap and yet somehow an insight into the 
owner's personality, these shirts are both the cheapest and 
most acclaimed fashion I've come across in my vast 20 years of

Who'd have guessed we'd put this much thought into t-shirts.

Very excited about my first visit to Cloudcroft this summer,
Matt Wright

Dear Newsletter:

Minor correction. The County of Otero does not maintain an 
animal shelter. The City of Alamogordo does, (located on the 
corner of Fairgrounds Road & N. Florida. The County contracts
with the shelter for the housing of strays picked up by the 
County Animal Control Officers.

Animals are kept there for 3 days, and if not claimed, they 
are put to sleep.

The only "Rescue" Program I am aware of for dogs & cats is run
by Jean Schaeffer (former owner of "Woof Woof World"). Her 
contact # is (505) 443-1613. Some of our local Vets also will 
assist in finding homes for lost/abandoned animals.

George & Connie Collins

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Copyright © 2001 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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