After the reception at Tucumcari Historical Museum in recognition of the publication of our book, I loaded Aggie into the car the next day and headed to the canyons in order to enjoy the memories and to return to reality.
As most of you know, I go out home during mental emergencies or no emergencies at all just to be alone for a few hours. Those few hours are always most precious and most appreciated. Once we left Ragland, we didn’t see another vehicle until our return. Of course, that always makes driving most pleasant because we can go at our own speed and just gaze at the beautiful scenery. Chasing the mirages provides the only needed entertainment, and they were really showing off that day.
Our first stop as always was at the site of the Ima Store. We walked from there to the edge of the canyon so we could look down at Grandmother’s house and relax while thinking about the wonderful years we spent there. Just listening to the sounds of nature and looking into the canyon caused all tension to disappear and pleasant thoughts to appear. We are standing near the site on which our grandparents built a couple of picket houses above Black Jack’s cave. I recalled some of the stories Grandmother used to tell about their life in those small huts and could just imagine how she must have felt when she and Baby Herman were the only ones there for days at a time. She had to be one hardy person!
We then drove to the other side of the canyon to look directly down at the remains of the house and kitchen and to continue thinking about the joys of the reception as well as those of the past. I could see the road down to our first home and could remember a few trips down it before it washed out. From then on until we were ready to move to Tucumcari, we walked up and down a rather treacherous trail or walked across the canyon to visit with Grandmother. That trail was bad enough in the day time, but it was even worse in the dark because it was very narrow, steep, and just a bit dangerous if one missed a step. At least, it was fairly short in comparison to the road; thus, we could be inside that little adobe house in a matter of minutes, especially if we slid down the last sand rock.
After those memories, Aggie and I were hungry and decided to drive to the edge of the Alamogordo Valley to eat our lunch. She was ready for both food and water, and I was ready to sit quietly while looking into the valley and remembering the friends who used to live there. We walked around for a while longer in order to have a little exercise and to continue enjoying the scenery.
Time came for our return trip, and we stopped several times along the way to admire antelope or to check on a few items of interest. We did have one dizzying experience as we headed toward the wind farm and saw all those giant blades turning. I hadn’t seen that before and had to pause to clear the head after watching them a little too closely. I finally just gazed at the side of the road as we drove south and was much relieved when we reached Freeman Corner so we could change directions. I’ll know not to look at them if they are turning during our next trip.
The mind went from dugouts to wind farms in a flash, and I realized one more time how fortunate I was to have been able to see so much change as well as to remember quieter times. At least, I can still go to that quiet place, calm the nerves, and return to the changes during a fairly short drive. What a privilege!