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Category Archives: New Mexico

Goodbye and Hello

One of my very first ‘real’ jobs was working at Hustler Press, owned by Orval Ricketts.  I was a senior in high school in Farmington, New Mexico and Mr. Ricketts was one of the finest men I’ve ever met.

The memories . . .

The goodbyes and the hellos . . .

Mr. Ricketts’ poem, “Looking at Another Year” is in his book of poetry, My Window on the Mesa.

there’s something about a cowboy

Why, in history books of old
have tales of heroes thus been told,
of  Wyatt, Doc, Bat Masterson,
men who lived life by the gun?

Are they recorded true to fact
or will the honesty come back,
to haunt them in their shallow grave,
or prove them gallant, strong, and brave?

Sometimes the heroes of the west
were polished criminals at best,
exaggerated in dime-store books,
but little more than common crooks.

Maybe those heroes of the past
had reputations meant to last,
no matter whether right or wrong,
strummed on guitars in a song.

But as for me, I’d rather dwell
on cowboys God won’t send to hell,
of men who earned love and devotion,
helped out more than on a notion,

Who cared more for their fellow man
than drifting cross an untamed land,
cared about the golden rule,
and never acted like a fool.

I’ll worship men of their kind,
for I am of another mind,
to honor cowboys who fought for me,
and made this country proud and free.

– Ronald Reagan

newspaper folks – Tucumcari, New Mexico

The Tucumcari Daily News Staff

probably about 1944

Earl Grau and Richard Hindley owned the newspaper at this time (I *think*)

Again – I *think* the Tucumcari Daily News was established in 1933.


snippets from books

For many who came during the Dust Bowl years, Pie Town was intended only as a stopover on the way to California.  Mrs. Lewis West with her father and mother headed west on U.S. 60 in 1935.  Five of their chickens suffocated in the Texas dust the morning they left.  On their first night in Pie Town, ten more chickens died of mountain cold.  her father was ill with heart trouble, so he and his wife and five children settled into a half-dugout and began to raise pinto beans and maize for cornmeal.

For hopeful immigrants from the choking Dust Bowl areas of Texas and Oklahoma, the reality of homesteading on the Zuni Plateau failed to live up to their drams.  The Pie Town area was unpromising for farming.  The mountains were wooded, and the rolling valleys were covered with thick rabbitbrush, or chamisa, that made hand-clearing the land a tedious and back-breaking job.  The growing season was usually too short with light frosts in early June and again in mid-September.  Moisture was unreliable.  Some years, when there was enough rain and snow, homesteaders might grow fine vegetable gardens and enough pinto beans or corn to sell for the necessities they could not grow themselves.  Other years, the moisture was inadequate, and the rabbits, elk, or grasshoppers ate most of what was planted.  Many homesteaders gave up and moved on to the cities where they joined the unemployment lines.  By the 1940s, when Russell Lee arrived to take his photographs for the FSA, the community had already declined from its 1935 peak to about two hundred families.

Savoring Russell Lee’s Pie Town Photographs

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Whinery and their five children in their dugout. Pie Town, New Mexico. Mr. Whinery had worked on farms in Texas for wages until homesteading one year ago. He arrived in Pie Town with thirty cents which he spent for nails to build his dugout. He donates his services as a preacher to the church.  [Library of Congress photographs]

“She did not simply visit this world, she made a difference.”

Bart and Lynn Holaday

She did not simply visit this world, she made a difference. – Bart Holaday

I leave this life grateful and fulfilled.  I am at peace; I am not afraid. – Lynn Buckingham Holaday



Happy Birthday, Son

remembering the birthdays

The best birthdays of all are those that haven’t arrived yet.
– Robert Orben

Hey, old friend

Hey, old friends . . .