May 24, 2002
Dear Subscriber:

If there's any discord in our house, it's over the replacement
of worn-out items.

Peggy likes new things. I'm surprised she's kept ME around as
long as she has.

I like to keep an appliance until it is dead beyond all help.
I'll rewire it, replace its parts, duct-tape it, and pray over
it until eventually there's no sign of life.

When that time comes, I'll dramatically rip off my mask, tear
off my head-cap, take a deep breath, look up at the big clock
on the wall and declare the time of death.

Our 12-year-old Ford Bronco II wasn't dead, but it was ready for
the rest home. Besides, it was a left-over from our lives in
Lubbock...a two-wheel drive (a two-wheel drive in the mountains
is begging for trouble). The air conditioner was iffy. It was
cold-natured in the winter. It ran like a Singer, but Peggy was
sick of it. We decided to give it to a friend's son in Texas
who could tinker with it and use it to drive back and forth from

We needed a new vehicle...one that Peggy could drive without
worry of it breaking down.

Peggy went on the internet to research the best vehicle for her
purposes within our price range.

She brought me the read-outs. The vehicle of choice was a
2001 Mitsubishi Montero Sport 4WD. Further research introduced
her to a comparable vehicle in Lubbock with a little over 20,000
miles on it (we both agreed we didn't want to buy a brand new
vehicle). Through our daughter in Lubbock, we located and
purchased the Mitsubishi.

We drove to Lubbock last week to pick up our "new" car.

I was driving. On the way, I was making small talk.

"Did you know that Mitsubishi produced the "Zero"...the
Japanese airplane that attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941?"

Peggy was reading a book. She looked up, twisted her face in
thought, and after a moment said, "So?"

She was right. Let bygones be bygones.

It was a nice vehicle, but all the functions were different
from our good old built-in-the-USA Ford pickup.

After we got the car, we had to fill it with gas. I pulled into
the gas station, whipped out my credit card, swiped it through
the quick-pay and spent another 15 minutes trying to figure out
how to open the gas tank door.

After consulting the manual (why is my life so full of manuals
lately?), I found the little lever that opens the gas tank door.
It was next to the driver's seat. It's all for the sake of
security. Who knows who might come along and open your gas
tank lid and insert a time-bomb? Happens all the time, doesn't

I'm sure the Japanese researched the US market and discovered
we're a bunch of paranoids, hence the gas tank you can't fill
until after you've read the manual.

The new car has an automatic transmission, but the shift is on
the floor. I guess the stick is supposed to make you feel like
you're driving a sports car. The Ford pickup we drive has an
automatic shift on the column like it has been since they
invented automatic transmissions.

So now, when I get into the Mitsubishi, start it and try and
shift into Drive (using the column shift)...all I do is turn on
the windshield wiper/washers.

We've had the new car 2 weeks, and I've washed that windshield
40 times.

There are other things that bother me about this new car.

I've changed lots of flat tires in my life. To me, that's the
most important part of a vehicle's support system...a good jack
and tire changing tools.

I located the tire-changing equipment on the Mitsubishi. I was
appalled. A little stick for a lug-nut wrench. A jack that
looked like a toy.

If I have a flat, I'll call the guys in Tokyo and have them come
and change it. I'll call them on my Japanese cellular phone.

I'm not a mechanical genius, but when I was younger I owned a
1955 Chevrolet and I could fix things on it. I replaced the
valve cover gaskets, rebuilt the carburetor and replaced the
brakes on it. I also had foam rubber dice hanging from the
rear view mirror, but we won't talk about that.

Nowadays there are no carburetors on cars...there are electronic
fuel injections. Everything is computer-controlled. You have
to have a Doctor Degree and a million dollars in diagnostic
equipment to fix one. The mechanics that work on them have
country club memberships and send their kids to private schools.

Boy, I wish I had that old '55 back. I think I paid 500 bucks
for it back in 1964.

You can buy a reconditioned '55 Chevy nowadays for about thirty
grand (and that's without the foam rubber dice)...but you could
fill it with gas without consulting the owner's manual.

Don Vanlandingham

A good steady rain Monday morning and some sprinkles here and
there. It has served to green things up a bit, but is not
considered enough to break the drought.

Highs in the low to mid-70s. Lows around 40.
The village Fire Chief has issued a fire defense directive above
what the Forest Service has issued. No outdoor smoking and no
outdoor fires of any kind (including propane grills)

Lincoln National Forest is closed to all activities including
camping and hiking. The Village of Cloudcroft remains open to
visitors and all shops and services are open as usual.

While camping is out for the time being, there are lots of
cabins available and the air is cool and fragrant.
In scenic Cloudcroft, walk to the end of Burro Street and you
will find the Antique Mercantile. Enter and discover a cozy and
warm ambiance in this store filled with an eclectic mix of
treasures of years gone bye. We have antiques and collectibles.

See the link to the Antique Mercantile web site on the Shopping
Page of Cloudcroft.com:


A day-trip from Cloudcroft.


Q - Are campfires allowed at Silver Lake Campgrounds and
Deerhead Campgrounds? -- Christy Moya

A - At this time, no. All Forest areas are closed to visitors
because of the extreme fire danger. The Forest Service is aware
of the importance of tourist commerce to the area and will 
re-open the forest as soon as enough moisture makes it feasible.

Q - Please enlighten us about the Light Opera in 
Cloudcroft. -- Beth Scott.

A - The Cloudcroft Light Opera Company (CLOC) is an
organization of local volunteers that put on regular melodramas
at the Open-air Pavilion near Zenith Park on a regular basis
during the summer. They are also involved in the Murder Mystery
series at The Lodge.

See the "Coming Events" section of the Newsletter for
performance dates.
May 15-31 -- Cloudcroft Art Society Annual Miniature Art Show.
At Cloudcroft Gallery & Gifts in the Burro Street Exchange
(Suite 111).

May 18, 19 -- High Altitude Classic Mountain Bike Race.

May 18 -- NMSU-A Community Choir. Flickenger Center,
Alamogordo. 7:30pm.

May 18 -- 26th annual Saturday in the Park. Alamogordo.

May 24-26 -- Cloudcroft Light Opera Company Melodrama.
Zenith Park Pavilion, 7:30pm.
For information call (505) 682-3317

May 25 -- Melodrama. Timberon Little Theater. The
Timberon Lodge Annex. 7pm.

May 25 -- Academy of Ballet. Flickenger Center.
Alamogordo. 7:30pm.

May 25-26 -- Mayfair. Juried Arts and Crafts Show.
Zenith Park, 10am to 5pm. Horseshoe Tournament, Food, Drinks.
For information call (505) 682-2733.

May 25, 26 -- Full Moon Nights. White Sands.

May 25 -- Street Dance, 7-11pm. Music by Country Line.

May 25-27 -- Wimsatt Rodeo. Gordon Wimsatt Memorial Arena,
7 miles east of Cloudcroft on Hwy 82. 1:30pm daily.

May 31 -- Melodrama. 7pm. Open air pavilion.

June 1 -- National Trails Day. 10K walk.
For information call (505) 682-3040.

June 1 -- Lake Lucero Tour. White Sands. Reservations
required. Call (505) 479-6124.

June 7, 8 -- Miss New Mexico Scholarship Pageant. Flickinger
Center. Alamogordo.

June 7, 8 -- Melodrama (CLOC). Open Air Pavilion, Zenith

June 8 -- Kiwanis Bingo. Community Center

June 9 -- Big Band swing. Alamogordo Ballroom. 2-5pm.

June 9 -- Father's Day brunch. Call (505) 682-2566 for details.

June 14-16 -- Western Roundup. Parade, pie auction, BBQ.
Street dance Saturday 7-11pm.

June 15-16 -- Cherry Festival. High Rolls. Arts, food.

June 28-30 -- Bluegrass Festival. Music all day.
Open Air Pavilion, Camp Chimney Springs.

July 4 -- Celebration of Independence Day in Cloudcroft.
Check with the Chamber of Commerce for events. (505) 682-2733.

July 6 -- July 4th weekend celebration. Zenith Park

July 7 -- Crystal River at Cloudcroft United Methodist Church.
This will be a patriotic service. 10:45am. 

July 7 - Crystal River Return Engagement. Pavilion in Zenith
Park, 2pm.

July 12-13 -- Melodrama. Covered Pavilion.

July 13-14 -- July Jamboree.

July 13 -- Flower Show at the Community Center, l-5pm.

July 14 -- Street Dance. Burro Avenue.

July 27 -- Train Load of Talent. Covered Pavilion.

July 27 -- Chili Cook-off. Ski Cloudcroft.

August 16, 17, 18 -- Singing in the Clouds.

August 31-Sept. 2 -- Labor Day Fiesta.

August 31 -- Street Dance. Burro Avenue.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the second Sunday of each month,
2-4pm, in the Old Red Brick School House. Call (505) 682-2494
for more information. (Note day of the month change.)

Cloudcroft Gallery & Gifts is offering Pastel Workshops by
Norma Riley June 3-7, June 10-14, and June 17-21. For more
information, ask in the Gallery in the Burro Street Exchange
or call (505) 682-2630.

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 8:30am every Tuesday morning.

Free Vitals Clinic. Second Saturday of each month, 11am to 1pm.
James Canyon Fire Department, 2346 Highway 82.

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:

My husband and I have been coming to the beautiful mountains for
many years as "part-timers" - however, we took the plunge and
moved in to become "full-timers" in December of last year.

Needless to say, this was our first experience with being
evacuated from our home because of fire danger. It was quite
an experience and one I hope we won't have to go through again.
Our home is located in the general area of mile marker 29, so
our area was in real danger of being lost. Our neighbors and
friends were so wonderful to us and gave us much needed moral
support throughout the ordeal - Thank You! 

I do not know how one can ever repay all of the fire fighters
who worked so hard in our area to save not only our home, but
all of the other homes that were in danger. Thank you seems so
little, but hopefully it helps in some little way to express
our sincere gratitude for their hard work.

Joy & James Owen
Mayhill, NM

Dear Newsletter:

Jed and I own Cool Pines RV Park located just before mile marker
30 on Highway 82. We live in Tucson, but were at our park
preparing it for the camping season when the fire broke out.

On Wednesday and Thursday we were both convinced our beautiful
trees were going to burn as the fire was directly south and west
of us within an 1/8 of a mile.

The slurry planes and helicopters flew directly over us for
hours working to contain the fire.

We're so grateful to the pilots, the Hot Shots, and the local
fire crews, sheriffs and others who worked around the clock to
reduce the destruction.

I'm happy to say our 15 acres of beautiful NM trees and meadows
escaped any damage. We sympathize with those property owners who
were not so lucky.

....and we pray that we'll get some rain soon to give the land
a drink.

Cathie Bryan

Dear Newsletter:

Many, many thanks for your coverage and great information with 
regards to the Penasco Fire.

Keep up the good work and God bless you.

Ignacio & Elva Cisneros

Dear Newsletter:

Discovered why we lost our subscription to your newsletter.
Changed email addresses and forgot to notify you.

All is well now.

Thanks, and thanks as well for printing Tom Polakis' letter in
the newsletter. We are glad to have survived too--the fire came
to within a few feet Thursday evening and we had to evacuate
down the mountain to avoid being trapped on top of Mt Joy

Lynn Rice,
New Mexico Skies Guest Observatory

Dear Newsletter:

Thank you for the update on the cats. Cat persons always want
to hear about how their alter-ego friends are getting along.

I remember a wise comment from my dog trainer many years ago,
"just remember, she is only a dog, she will react like a dog"
and "always trust your dog." OK, I always trusted my German
Shepherd, her protective instincts were always right - she knew
when someone was up to no-good.

On the other hand, she was only a dog, and would herd, and dig,
and do all of those things from her primordial instincts. Cats
will also do things that hurt our feelings, and make it
difficult to love their primordial instincts. 

Mine recently used the down comforter for her litter box. We
haven't a clue, but, my husband has threatened them within an
inch of their lives. Now the bedroom door is closed to them,
there is no purring beside my pillow at night, and we wonder
what territorial problems were involved in the incident. We
continue to wonder, they are only cats.

Beth Scott
Tampa, Fl.

Dear Newsletter:

Have been reading the newsletter for a while now and always
enjoy it--sort of a "virtual " trip to Cloudcroft.

Unfortunately, when it's 100 degrees here, the "virtual" trip
doesn't cool us off much. Oh well....

I read with interest your article about the cats and the
hummingbirds. We live in the country outside of San Marcos,
Texas,and have a spayed female that started doing the same
thing. The interesting thing was that all but once, out of
five or six times, she caught them and carried them in through
the pet door without hurting them.

We would find them flying against the glass of the window trying
to fly out. We would just gently grasp them, carry them to the
door, open the hand and off they would go.

If you've never held one in your hand, it is amazing! You see it
there in your hand, but it is so soft and so light that it feels
as if there is nothing there!

We certainly didn't want this to continue, so we have stopped
putting out the feeders for a while, but some still come around
the flowers, which is nice.

Wish we were there in the cool mountains again,
John and Marilyn Arhelger
San Marcos, Tx

Dear Newsletter:

Thanks for the newsletter. Sounds like you guys have an
interesting life with all of the different animals. That must
be a pretty fast cat to catch a hummingbird.

Good luck with all of the animals. Hope Tom, Dick, and Harry
catch all of the mice for you guys.

Thanks again!
Shirley Myers

Dear Newsletter:

Time is relative! It's all a matter of one's perspective.

Approximately seven years ago, I promised my wife Pat that I
would retire in ten years. At the time I had no idea what I
would do after retirement. The very concept of retirement
actually frightened me. How could we live if I didn't work?
What would I do from day to day? Where would I go? Five years
screamed by like a runaway train down a steep mountain towards a
rocky valley, and I felt like I was strapped to the front of
the train, watching my impending doom. 

I would become one of those men I've seen in the malls. Not
really a man, more like the shell of a man, just an empty
container. You know the ones I'm talking about. The older guys
wearing striped Polo shirts with plaid slacks and house
slippers. They stand in the isles gazing out through the store
at nothing in particular (in the Army we called it the thousand
yard stare.) They just stand there holding bags while their
wives shop. Maybe a little drool running down their chin from
one corner of their mouth. Sorry, I got a little carried away
with the description.

Now don't confuse the above description with the younger married
man stoop! You've seen them in the malls also, yes I agree the
difference is slight. Only another married man would even
notice. But the younger married man shows a wee bit of hope in
his eyes as he gazes in the direction of the auto, hardware or
sporting good sections of the store, even though in his heart
he knows he can never go there. A few times I've been able to
sneak into the hardware department only to be stopped by the
sales clerk. Sir! I couldn't help but notice you ring. Does your
wife know you're here?

Well, approximately two years ago or so, my sister Wanda (OOPS)
invited Pat and I over to see the cabin she was buying in a
place called Cloudcroft, New Mexico. Sissy told us the place
was covered with trees and she was sure we would love it. You
see my sister knew I was looking for a place in the mountains
of Arizona. But the problem in Arizona is that there is so
little private land, that what is for sale isn't that wonderful
and it is priced as if there was gold or oil to be found on the

So we packed up the Jeep and followed the directions Wanda had
given us. We took Interstate 10 southeast from Phoenix. The
desert between Phoenix and Tucson is, let see, how can I say
this, I know, UGLY! The view gets a little better from Tucson
to the New Mexico border, but after we crossed over into New
Mexico it was beyond description. Lets just say God must have
made the southwestern portion of New Mexico last and ran out of
things to decorate with.

I was born and raised in the southwest, so the scenery was not
a surprise to me, not yet anyway. I had check the map before
leaving on this trip and knew that it was approximately 500
miles to Cloudcroft (give or take a mile or two). So as we were
driving through Alamogordo I knew we where within 20 miles or
so of our target destination.

Now at this point it would be helpful for you to know that my
wife has a less than favorable feeling for the desert. When
looking at potential retirement property anything less than a
totally pine tree cover lot is not a good thing. So when we
turned onto 82 off of 70, I knew three things. First we were
within 16 miles of Cloudcroft. Secondly I couldn't see anything
that looked remotely like a tree at the top of the mountain we
were ascending. And thirdly and most importantly Pat was also
beginning to notice.

Wanda was getting even with me for all those years we were
children living together. What would later be called "dragging"
my wife across 500 miles of desert to spend a weekend in a high
desert location would not be one of those moments I would write
fondly about in my memoirs.

But the ascent up that mountain was, well what can I say. If
you're reading the newsletter, then there is nothing I can say
that you don't already know. We loved it so much we purchased
some land right off the bat. And now that I have something to
look forward to in my retirement, that run away train I mention
earlier, has turned into a five-ton rock being pulled up hill
in deep sand by a three-legged dog.

Bill White 
Phoenix, Arizona

PS. I was sorry to hear about the homes that were lost due to
the fire. But I was very glad to hear that there was no
additional loss of life and or injuries. "Good Job!" and
"Thank You!" to all those involved in the fire fighting and to
those who cared for the fire fighters and people displaced by
the fire. And finally, "Thank you!" Peg, Don and Dave for keeping
us informed. May you never have to do it again....

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Copyright © 2002 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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