March 11, 2005
Dear Subscriber:

I've always been uneasy about owning a bird.

I personally wouldn't like living in a cage...especially if I
knew how to fly. A cramping of one's style and a pretty boring
existence, I would think.

Peggy really likes parakeets, though, so I knew a while ago when
she would occasionally mention getting a parakeet that it was
only a matter of time, even though she knew I wasn't too keen on
the idea.

I do have to admire the sly way she did it.

She bought the parakeet as a gift for our daughter. She didn't
ask Amy if she wanted a bird. She just assumed she did. Peggy
makes occasional assumptions.

Amy had the bird for a couple of weeks when she called Peggy and
said it just didn't fit into her life style. That's all right,
said Peggy. She said she would just take the bird for a few
weeks. Amy agreed...knowing what I knew...that the bird would
be a permanent addition to our animal house.

We re-named the blue parakeet Rocky. Amy called him Parker. I
have no idea why, except it had something to do with a previous
boyfriend. I was curious, but I've decided not to go there.

Rocky moved in a year ago in a standard bird cage with the
standard bird cage furnishings. A food feeder and a water
feeder and a mirror and three perches. I don't know if he was
happy with his cage arrangement or not. Rocky and I didn't
discuss it much. After all, it had nothing to do with what he
or I liked.

Peggy's favorite pass time is re-decorating. Rocky's cage was
an irresistible project. Before long he was surrounded in a
maze of tasty hanging seed pies, more mirrors than in a
carnival fun house and more bells than at Westminster Abbey.

I like Rocky, but Peggy and that bird have developed a real
bond over the past year.

Their special time is in the morning. Peggy does all her
primping and making up at the kitchen table...just a few steps
from Rocky's cage. I can hear them in there talking. Rocky's
still young and doesn't talk much but he has a healthy set of
lungs. His chirp can be heard at the state line. Peggy lets
him out of his cage but he's pretty much a home-body. He plays
on top of his cage...sliding up and down the opaque roof...all
the while whistling and chirping. He never seems to mind when
it's time to go back behind bars. He slides right in off of
Peggy's finger and commences his primping thing...seemingly
somewhat relieved to be back inside his protective cocoon.
Maybe my attitude about being caged is just an overreaction.

Rocky is our sentry. Our look out. His cage is next to the
window overlooking the drive. He has a special loud chirp when
a strange dog or a car comes around. We no longer need a door-

He'll get on my finger and nip at my nose but it's obvious
Peggy is his favorite. Often, when he's feeling less than
social, he'll see my index finger coming into the cage and he'll
run and hide behind one of his many mirrors. I withdraw my
digital invitation. I can take a hint.

Rocky has started talking. He talks in low tones. "Pretty
bird" and "Rocky" and "hello"...the standard bird lingo and it's
barely audible, like he's talking to himself. When I hear him
I'll go to the cage and start talking back to him but he just
ducks behind his mirror like I've interrupted some kind of self-
awareness exercise.

The dogs tolerate Rocky's presence, which is to say they pretty
much ignore him. Tommy the cat had preliminary designs on him
as a possible entree, but when Peggy caught him pawing the cage
one day, he found himself on his back halfway across the room
and Peggy standing over him with her hands on her hips and he
has decided stalking Rocky is not worth the potential penalty.

I've been trying to teach Rocky "I tought I saw a Pootty Tatt"
but I'm not holding out much hope.

I like Rocky. Laughing is good and Rocky makes me laugh.

I'm thinking about taking a page from his book and getting
myself a big mirror I can hide behind when I want to get away
from it all.

Don Vanlandingham

Some moisture this week but mostly sunny and warm.

High 52.1 at 11am March 9.

Low 25.1 at 7:06am March 7.

Total annual precipitation -- 6.48 inches

Total 10 year average precipitation (through Feb) 3.29 inches

See a complete compilation of Cloudcroft current conditions and
local weather history at Cloudcroft.com. It's a free service.


The paving of the Sacramento River Road (The Timberon Road)
should be completed before May of this year.
Mountain DOVE Realty. Serving YOU who desire to be a step ahead
of the crowd. LAND, LAND, Cabins, Homes, Ranches, Commercial
(retirement - recreational) in the Forested Mountains. See the
link to our PHOTO web site on the Real Estate page of


The site of the first detonation of an atomic bomb in the world.
The next scheduled tour is April 2.


Q - Is there internet service available in Cloudcroft?

A - Yes, there are several providers, both dial-up and DSL.
They're listed in the local Yellow Pages.
March 26 -- Easter Egg hunt. Cloudcroft.

March 26 -- Easter Bonnet parade. Cloudcroft. 2pm.

May 6-7 -- 2005 Organ Mountain Film Festival. New Mexico Farm
and Ranch Heritage Museum. 4100 Dripping Springs, Las Cruces.

May 7 -- Old Timer's reunion. Cloudcroft.

May 28, 29 -- Mayfest. Cloudcroft.

June 17, 18, 19 -- Western Roundup. Cloudcroft.

June 18-19 -- 2005 High Rolls Cherry Festival. 9am - 5pm. High
Rolls Community Center. Follow the highway signs to local
(weather permitting) cherries, cherry pies, over 60 arts/crafts
venders, food and drink, near-continuous local entertainment,
and children's activities. www.highrollsfestivals.com or call
(505) 682-1151. As always, parking and admission are free.

July 9 and 10 -- July Jamboree. Cloudcroft.

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 Wednesday morning.
Free Vitals Clinic. Cloudcroft Senior Citizens Center, every
Wednesday. High Rolls Senior Citizens Center, first Thursday
of each month.

For information on upcoming events at the Nivison Public
Library in Cloudcroft, contact library director Joyce Komraus.
(505) 682-1111.
Dear Newsletter:

Yes, aren't dogs wonderful? We have wood floors for the same
ease of care reasons, and yes, our two four legged family
members never seem to learn the hard left into the kitchen
either! Back legs pumping like pistons, nails trying to grab
on for traction, advancing inches instead of feet, and then
finally……..pile up on 82! They do make us laugh!
D. Mills

Dear Newsletter:

Just wanted to say thank you for the laughs today. We forget
many times to just sit back and have a good laugh. Laughing
is good for the soul.

Keep the laughs coming, we out here in the e-mail world love
Wayne Cave

Dear Newsletter:

Be careful of your dogs running through the house. When my boys
were little, they would chase our dog around the house. One
night the dog slid on the tile in the front hall, hit a door
jam and pulled a leg out of socket. The pain he was in was
awful. After that day, he never liked going to the vet as he
associated the pain of getting it put back in place with the

As my husband and I have a second home in Cloudcroft we always
enjoy keeping up with the news from there and look forward to
our Thursday newsletter. Keep up the good work.
Judy Daily
Midland, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

I really like reading the newsletter, especially in the winter,
when we are not there. We love our home in Cloudcroft, but are
too chicken to spend the winter there! 

Just a comment about the the state song of New Mexico. When I
was a child in Santa Fe, we sang the song every morning, right
after the pledge to the flag. Only the first two verses though.
It brought back great memories. I have been singing it all day.

Bette Foster Spoonts

Dear Newsletter:

I was touched by your letter about your Mom and Sister. Keep
us updated on how they are doing. Your family has new prayers
added to their list.

Jimmy McDowell
Houma, Louisiana

Dear Newsletter:

I wanted to respond to a couple of the letters to the Editor
from the March 4 Newsletter.

To the family from Red Lodge in Suffolk England: Welcome to
the States, and to the Cloudcroft area in particular! I have
an affinity for your part of the world, even for your corner
of Suffolk. My family ties originate in Suffolk and Norfolk
(over a century ago!) and there are still a lot of Canhams in
the area between Cambridge and Bury St Edmond. 

I remember Red Lodge because it's not that far from the little
hamlet of Cavenham (if I remember correctly). Cavenham (with
approximate pronunciation of "Cawnum") is the old surname for

We visited this part of Suffolk in June 2003 and had a
wonderful time exploring your area. History, culture, and
architecture buffs could not fail to enjoy the UK, and yes, 
there's often beautiful scenery and tasty food too (maybe if
you skip the meat pies).

To Ron Creek from Las Cruces: Like so many others out there, we
lost our moms too early -- when we were 30-something or 
40-something -- after our mom suffered an illness. My mom died
March 18, 1993 when I was 37, after a year or so of mysterious
but increasingly serious symptoms that finally resolved into a
diagnosis only 6 months before she died. 

She died of Lou Gehrig's disease -- not the version that strikes
younger people, but a special case that affects people more
advanced in age. But my special mom died when she was 71 -- too
young -- and we felt that she and we were robbed. I also wonder
at the fact that later this month, it will be 12 years since she
died, which as you said, doesn't seem possible. Always treasure
the moments with your loved ones since you never know when they
could leave you. My dad died before I returned from the UK
vacation in the summer of 2003.

Lyn Canham
Sandia Park, NM

Dear Newsletter:

Another familiar image you've presented for us Don… Having dogs
most of my life, I can see in my minds eye the legs moving at
40 MPH while the body only moves a few feet during the entire
When my youngest daughter first went away to college she was
concerned about Penny our (or her) Toy Poodle. Penny was a puppy
at the same Amanda was, so naturally Penny became "her" dog.
Penny was thirteen years old when Amanda left for college and
the books she had read about Poodles said that 13 years was 
about the expected life span of a Toy Poodle. We also have a
Rhodesian Ridge-Back. It was still young and crazy when Amanda
left, so much so that it spend most of its life in the backyard
re-landscaping my property.
One day while Amanda was away, I went over to the Home Depot and
purchased a mop-head, you know that white stringy thing. I
brought it home and grabbed my digital camera. Going into the
backyard, Duchess (the above described Rhodesian Ridge-Back)
came running over to me with a Pigeon in her mouth, dropped it
at my feet and asked if I was going to play with her. She
apologized for knocking me into the bushes the last time we 
played stating that she had removed the offending bushes so 
that it wouldn't happen again.
Duchess was beside herself with joy at the sight of the 
mop-head. I turned on my camera and threw the mop-head across
the yard. Duchess didn't let me down. She was across the yard
before the mop-head could hit the ground. Like the Pigeon she
had before, Duchess grabbed the mop-head right out of the air
and began to re-arrange its original structure. While Duchess
did her thing, I snapped off pictures, one after another until
the mop-head was no more.
After cleaning up the remains of the mop-head and listing to
Duchess apologize for her momentary loss of control, I went into
the house and up to my computer desk to begin the process of 
putting together a slid-show for Amanda. The title was "Duchess
and Penny learn to play together." I won't share the return 
e-mail I received from my normally sweet daughter. Anyway Penny
is almost 18 years old now and looks as if she'll out live me. 
Duchess can't catch Pigeons in the air anymore and my 
landscaping has grown back. 
I was sitting in the living room last evening drinking a glass of
huh... water, that's it, a glass of water… Anyway this is my
quiet time. That time which occurs between my arriving home from
work and my wife getting home from work. With the daughters out
and on their own I've learned to enjoy this mini vacation I take
within my head.
Well, last evening my mind took me forward in time 172 days, to
the day I retire and move to the Cloudcroft area full time. I
began to think about not working anymore, not having anyplace to
go each day. Not dealing with the hustle and bustle of the city
any longer.
This is the place, the city and state I was born in and grew up
in, the place I spent my childhood and my adult working life,
this would all become just a past memory. I started to become a
little sad and maybe a little panic over the insecurity of it
all. Moisture began to swell up in my eyes as I poured myself
another glass of huh... water! My wife came in about this time
and began to console me;
"What's wrong with you now, you big baby! And what's for
She has always been great at bring me back to earth.
This morning while driving in to work, dodging the kamikaze
pilots and suicidal race car drivers on the parking lot of a
Freeway, I began to wonder, am I going to make it another 171
days in this God forsaken place?
Bill White
Phoenix, AZ

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Copyright © 2005 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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