When the Board of Directors of Tucumcari Historical Research Institute decide to hold a reception for one of their members, they surely do a first class job. While celebrating the publication of our book, they also celebrated one of our traditions of gathering for an afternoon of most relaxed visiting. People of all ages attended, and many stayed throughout the time exchanging stories and talking much about our history.
For instance, Stanley Jennings, Walt Eastland, and James Crocker spent much time identifying members of our early-day National Guard and remembering some of the war years. Just watching the two veterans looking at the pictures was quite an experience because we could see how engrossed they were in sharing their memories.
Earlier in the day, I had mentioned to Mrs. Donah Cooper that I surely wished she could attend as I really needed the company of someone from our home area. No sooner had we finished that conversation than Walt Eastland and his sister, Teresa Eastland Pickett and their spouses appeared to let me know the area would be well represented as they had come from Santa Rosa and Los Alamos to be present for the occasion. Teresa had helped much with the book by providing numerous pictures of her pioneer family who settled in the Cuneva Basin.
Although Barbara Copeland had feared she would be unable to attend, she dashed in from a meeting in Roy in time to receive recognition for her beautiful painting that graces the dust jacket of the book. We had teased Stanley Jennings by saying he had to pretend to be his Cousin Barbara, and he seemed rather relieved when she appeared so she could take her rightful place in the celebration.
As most people know, this woman from Ima does not like to be the center of attention and didn’t have to be because most people in attendance had participated in one way or another in the project, whether by sharing pictures, stories, or being the offspring of the pioneers about whom much of the book was written. Of course, Dorothy Randals knew that I might cut and run at any minute and kept me on a short leash by giving me permission to walk to the edge of the porch but no farther. As a most gracious hostess, she kept me occupied by seeing that I had the opportunity to visit with all who entered the annex.
Despite the tension I had managed to build, I had one of the most pleasant afternoons of a life time. Just listening to the many kind remarks about our book was a major thrill as well as very humbling. Putting the book together was truly a labor of love, and during those two hours, I felt that the people there love our county as much as I do.
I want to thank each of you who attended the reception. Alter all, we were really honoring each other and just enjoying a major tradition in our county of spending time together in order to visit about the latest happenings as well as the most distant ones.
Please remember that the proceeds from the book will go to the museum to help to preserve our past. We don’t have major fund drives, but we appreciate your help in selling the books in order to build our funds for future needs at the museum.