October 26, 2001
Dear Subscriber:

Ray just dropped by to say good-bye.

He said he was headed to Del Rio where he owns a home. Ray
also owns a home in Cloudcroft where he spends much of the
warm-weather months.

Ray is a bit of a loner. I think he was married once, but not
now. He spends his time in the mountains just helping out
others. Every day he packs a lunch, hops into his jeep and
shows up where he might be needed. He seems to be sound
financially and he never asks to be paid. I think he does it
mainly for the company of friends.

Ray is a raging Chauvinist, but the ladies seem to tolerate
him anyway. By his own admission, he doesn't date much, but he
says he's still looking.

I was a little surprised at his announcement that he was
leaving. He had told me a few weeks ago that he had made the
decision to live year 'round in Cloudcroft. After a little
prodding he finally told me what was going on.

"It looks like I'm being called up," he said.

You see, Ray had a long career as a Federal Marshal. He worked
as an airline Sky Marshal back in the 70s during this country's
rash of skyjackings. He later worked as an agent in the
Federal Witness Protection Program.

The US government needs people with Ray's training and they
need them now. At the age of 58, Ray is, in effect, being

OK, the US has no draft (let alone a draft that would include
58-year-old guys), but if Ray is asked to go back into federal
service, he won't say no. If he is indeed reinstated, he will
cover the duties where he is needed in the war on terrorism
until a new generation of agents can be trained for the job.

The people fighting this war aren't just the ones wearing camo
and carrying assault rifles. They could just as easily be the
guy sitting next to you in a movie theater or the lady behind
you in the grocery check out...or Ray...the retired Federal
Marshal that thought his career was over until 9-11-01, when he
and the rest of us had our lives turned upside down.

After just over a month, the war had finally come to my

"Well, God Bless...and tell that ol' lady of yours I said

For the first time since I met him, Ray was showing a hint of
sentimentality. He was having a hard time making eye contact.

"I will, Ray, and God speed to you," I said.

For a fleeting moment I thought he might hug me, but he didn't.
Ray doesn't hug guys.

He headed back to his Jeep and left.

He'll have some interesting stories to tell when he gets back
and I'll hug him when I see him, whether he likes it or not.

Don Vanlandingham

It has been a dry week. Not a hint of rain in 10 days. Dust
has become an adversary again. The days continue to be crisp
and full of glorious color. Highs are around 60. Night-time
lows are near 30.
The legal wrangling between the Village of Cloudcroft and the
lessees of Ski Cloudcroft may not be settled until after the
Christmas holidays (according to the Mountain Monthly).

The Aspen Motel and Restaurant, one of Cloudcroft's most
established businesses, closed earlier this month. It is
expected to re-open under new ownership but an opening date
has not been announced.
The Estate is an upscale resale shop featuring high-quality
vintage and estate clothing and accessories for men and women.
The Estate specializes in unique vests and sweaters, evening
and cocktail dresses, Hawaiian shirts and vintage hats. Call
(505) 682-3900 or email ragdealer@aol.com.
http://www.nmculture.org/ will take you to a complete list of
things to do and see around the state.
Q - Is the bear population around Cloudcroft growing?

A - Experts say yes, but not by alarming numbers. It seems we
keep repeating ourselves, but we will say again...there have
been no bear attacks on humans in the Sacramento Mountains in
recent memory. Bears feed primarily on vegetation (and the
stuff in unsecured dumpsters).
October 27 -- Harvestfest. Pumpkin carving, hay rides.
For more information call (505) 682-2733.

October 27 -- Pumpkin races, Burro Avenue, 9am-4pm.

October 31 -- Trick or Treat Costume Contest, Burro Ave.
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

October 31 -- Halloween Carnival. Middle School.

November 2, 3, 4 -- Lodge Murder Mystery.
For more information, call (505) 682-2566.

November 8, 9, 10 -- Santa's Workshop, Elk's Lodge, Alamogordo.

November 9, 10, 11 -- Lodge Murder Mystery.
For more information, call (505) 682-2566.

November 10, 11 -- Civic Center Fair, Alamogordo.
For more information, call (505) 439-4142.

November 23 -- Santa Town. Zenith Park, 5-7pm.

November 24 -- Late Night Shopping. 5-7pm.

November 30 -- Chamber of Commerce Banquet, Middle School.

December 15 -- Santa Town. Zenith Park, 5-7pm.

December 1 -- Christmas Parade. Alamogordo, 6pm.
For more information, call (505) 437-6120.

December 13 -- Preschool Christmas Program.
Cloudcroft Methodist Church. 6pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2266

December 16 -- Community Cantata.
Cloudcroft Methodist Church. 4pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2266.

December 21 -- Late Night Shopping. 5-7pm.

December 21, 22 -- Cloudcroft Light Opera Company. Free!
For more information, call (505) 682-3317.

December 22 -- Caroling in the Clouds. First Baptist Church.

December 22 -- Santa Town. Zenith Park, 5-7pm.

December 24 -- Christmas Eve Service.
Cloudcroft Methodist Church. 7pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2266.

December 31 -- Torch Lighting Parade. Ski Cloudcroft
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the first Sunday of each month,
2-4pm, in the Old Red Brick School House. The November 4
meeting will present Kathie Mongaraz demonstrating silk
painting. No meeting in December. Call (505) 682-2494 for
more information.

Community Cantata practice meets at the High School Music
Room from 5:30-6:30pm every Tuesday.

Senior Van from Timberon to Alamogordo leaves the Timberon
Lodge promptly at 8:30am 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:

Do you have any updates about the endangered butterfly and
what the consequences will be for Cloudcroft if it's listed?

Judy Hungerford
Cloudcroft (also Houston, Tx!)

[Email us if you have specific information on this.]

Dear Newsletter:

I enjoyed your item on the parade in Las Cruces for a special
reason. I am retired (Emeritus Professor) from NMSU College of
Education, and was a faculty member during the entire time
Gerald Thomas was President. Not only did I appreciate his
professional leadership, but I appreciated both his and Jean's
attitude to faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community.
The Thomas's are truly great people.

When I retired in 1988, I went to the University of Zimbabwe,
Harare, Zimbabwe for a couple of years as a Visiting Professor
on a USAID project. At UZ, I had some contact with faculty
beyond the Faculty of Education. One day, when visiting with
a faculty member in the Department of Agriculture, he was
surprised to find that I was from NMSU. He immediately asked,
"Do you know Dr. Gerald Thomas?" When I assured him that I did,
he couldn't wait to tell me how much good how been brought to
Africa in the area of "arid lands" through Gerald Thomas'
knowledge and leadership throughout the world. 

Later, I found myself on another USAID project as Curriculum
Coordinator for the Ministry of Education in Gaborone,
Botswana. During the 3 years I was there, I constantly came
across Batswana who not only knew of Gerald Thomas, but who had
earned degrees from the College of Agriculture at NMSU.

Needless to say, my stature in the eyes of many of the people
with whom I came in contact in both Botswana and Zimbabwe was
much enhanced as as result of your father and father-in-law!

We have enjoyed our place at Twin Forks for a period of 29
years, but now spend more time at our home in Sun City West,
Arizona. The Newsletter helps keep us aware of events and
weather in the Cloudcroft area.

Thanks for your good work.
Jerald Reece

Dear Newsletter:

I really do enjoy your newsletters. We love Cloudcroft, Weed
and Mayhill. We try to spend every summer weekend in that area.

I really did enjoy your story about the Las Cruces Whole
Enchilada Fiesta Parade. The Grand Marshall has been a favorite
to me for several years.

My Daddy is retired from NMSU Cooperative Extension Service and
my husband works for the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service. 
Dr. Gerald Thomas is such a joy to listen to and to visit with.
I could listen to him give a speech anytime.

My favorite story that he tells is the one about his attempts
to change out the folded toilet paper to the rolled toilet
paper on the NMSU Campus. It is so true of trying to do
something practical in government! Anyone that has not worked
for city, county, state or federal government really cannot
appreciate his story--but it is my favorite.

I want to let him know how proud I am of him and his service to
NMSU! He received a very distinguished honor at the National
Association of County Agricultural Agents this past August in
Albuquerque at their Annual Meeting. He was honored with the
Distinguished Service to American Agriculture Award! This is
a fantastic honor for him and I am so proud to be able to say
that I know him and he is deserving of the honor.

I do not know his wife as well, but we all know that behind
every successful man, is a wonderful woman that gives him the
strength and support to be successful!

Keep up the great newsletters!

Bobby Ann Dictson
Las Cruces, NM

Dear Newsletter:

How could you?! It snowed last Friday--the first snow of the
season--and you didn't put out a special bulletin to all of us
living in the hot zones where it never snows!

Please consider putting out snow bulletins from now on so we
in the hot lowlands can let out a collective SIGH--and wish
even more that we were there to see it!

Sharon Swanson
Harlingen, TX

Dear Newsletter:

It is Friday October 19, 2001 about 5 o'clock in the morning
and 68 degrees outside. In reading this morning's Cloudcroft
newsletter, I see snow has flown (is that a word?) for the
first time this year in the mountains. Per Mr. Schuller of
Ruidoso, they've had their first hard freeze of the year.

I know there is little reason for New Mexico mountain people
to care about the weather in the flatlands of Phoenix,
Arizona. But since I have pointed out the hot temperature
in prior e-mails, I thought it would be nice to pass along
a weather update.

Winter has finally come to the Valley of the Sun. It is only
mid-October and already the temperatures during the day time
have dropped down into the mid-nineties. The overnight lows
are hitting the high 60s and people are starting to wear
clothing over their underwear....

If this trend keeps up, we might not be able to have our
Christmas swimming party this year. Darn!

You all take care,
Bill White
Sitting in sweat at his desk in Phoenix AZ.

PS: Just 1402 days until retirement, but who's counting....

Dear Newsletter:

You've done it again. Probably just struck a common nerve
running throughout all of us (at least the 86% of us). These
are words my Sunday School class will hear this weekend. I
believe they will be inspiring. I will be certain that you are
not plagiarized.

Thanks, Don
Joen Jan from Dallas

Dear Newsletter:

We will miss our Nov. visit to our second home in Cloudcroft
this year.

Our twice-a-year visits are a great escape from my demanding
Texas State job. The mental imagines of the tall timbers, the
cool weather and the mountain air aromas keep me going in
between our visits.

This year I was reactivated to active duty. My family is at our
Austin home, I am somewhere else (still state-side) and
Cloudcroft seems farther away then ever for this year. 

I would agree with one of your respondents, try not to worry.
There are many folks at all levels watching out for us.

I always thought if something bad really happened, we could
always go up to the mountains and weather the situation out.
You are strategically in the optimum location already. 

You all take care, from our son Southern, my wife Sarah and
your servant,

MSgt. Jesus Longoria 
Security Force Protection 

Dear Newsletter:

Right on re: your observations on "fear". I remember sailing
around on an aircraft carrier off Vietnam. I worried that
everyone might not do their job and the results thereof.

Then one day, when making an arrested landing on the deck of
that vessel, I realized that the pilot was well trained, the
people on that flattop were well trained and I was probably
the only one onboard who wasn't cool. That did not speak well
of me, I realized.

From then on I tried hard to concern myself only with what
I had the power to change. Who was it that said, "fear is an
oppressive master?" (I think it was me.)

Hope to see you all when in town the next few months.

Take care,
Al Cornelius

Dear Newsletter:

Cloudcroft is an area we've always enjoyed visiting for the
many outdoor activities, the cool climate and, of course, the
beauty of the Sacramentos. So, after some house hunting and a
little creative financing, I am happy to say we are now
Cloudcroft citizens! I know we're going to enjoy our home here
and we look forward to making new friends.

Your newsletter editorial concerning fear being the weapon of
choice for terrorists was right on. After all, terror and fear
are synonymous. My Webster's defines terrorism as "the 
systematic use of terror as a means of coercion". In other
words, it is their goal to make us afraid and coerce us into
doing what they want us to do - abandon our beliefs, change our
policies, etc. Of course, if we do this, it would only reward
their efforts and invite more terrorism by showing that it
works. And it would dishonor the many victims of these attacks.

But from what I've seen so far, it appears that they have
failed miserably! Instead of people filled with fear, I see
people filled with patriotism. People filled with renewed love
for their country, their family, and their faith. I see people
filled with determination to fight for what they believe in as
a country: freedom. That is the common denominator of all
Americans, regardless of gender, race, or religion. It is what
we were founded on, what brought immigrants here from all over
the world, and what we have fought for over and over again. And
it is what we must now defend.

So if this is a match between fear and freedom, my guess is the
odds in Vegas don't look so good right now for the other guys!

Keep the newsletters coming.

Tom Scott

Dear Newsletter:

As my husband would have said, "Good on you, Don," to decide
not to spend more time worrying about white powder and box
cutters and rumors. 

While most of us have never had to experience anything like
the horror visited on New York and Washington, my generation
has lived and worried through some pretty scary times. 

We're old enough to have lived before the discovery of the
antibiotics which would have saved the lives of my father,
who died of flu, and my husband's father, who died of blood
poisoning as a result of an infected foot. I survived measles
and whooping cough unscathed before there were vaccines for
those very dangerous childhood diseases. 

We're old enough to remember WWII and to have heard Roosevelt's
"We have nothing to fear but fear itself" speech. And you're
right -- it certainly wasn't just something you had to memorize
in history class. There were many times in the early years of
that war when we were scared spitless that the Allies wouldn't
win. I was a little girl then and I was terrified that Germans
would find a way to drop bombs on San Antonio and might kill my
family and my beloved dog. After that war, we lived with the
realization that the world had changed and that we faced the
threat forevermore of atomic warfare. 

During my high school years and into the 1950's, polio
epidemics swept the country. Schools closed and people died
because there was no vaccine. The boy who sat in front of me
in my junior English class died. 

Then came Korea and the possibility that the Chinese would
enter the war and World War III might erupt. My husband was
drafted as we were beginning our senior year of college and I
could imagine that I might become a widow before I had much of
a chance to become a wife. 

Remember the Cuban missile crisis? That was a fun time. I had an
infant and my mother, who was in the finance office at Kelly
Field, called me at midnight one night and told me to put my
baby and emergency supplies in the car and head for Carlsbad.
The troops were being paid and were shipping out for the East
Coast. We were within a hair's breadth of going to war with
Russia, and Cuba was close enough that San Antonio would
probably become a prime target. 

Viet Nam brought new dangers. We might end up with China and
Russia both taking an active part in that conflict and the
specter of atomic warfare loomed again. Society underwent an
almost cataclysmic upheaval in response to a war we didn't
understand, young people who rebelled against almost everything
we had been brought up to admire, a drug culture that grew
beyond all bounds, hate groups that sprang up or resurged like
poisonous mushrooms, a federal government that we discovered
we couldn't entirely trust. 

Somewhere along the way, fairly early on, I too became weary
of hand-wringing. I realized that none of the worst demons I
feared had materialized; that we had been incredibly lucky. If
I continued to conjure up catastrophe and became paralyzed by
it, one day I would be an old woman and would have wasted my
life in fear. 

I AM an old woman now. And I'm smart enough to know that the
world is full of very real dangers, most of which are totally
beyond my ability to mitigate. I do what I can to protect myself
and my family. Then I smell the flowers, listen to the birds,
watch the sunset, visit Cloudcroft, enjoy my children and
grandchildren, and read and work and learn and LIVE. And thank
God to have allowed us to be born and live in this wonderful
country with all its quirks and foibles and shortcomings. We
have always risen to whatever challenge has come our way. May
we continue to do so and not let the #%&*@~ds get us down. 

Austin, Texas 

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