By Lynn Moncus: Local columnist
Recently Janice Howard a high school classmate, ambled in this direction from her home near Texico to spend the day just visiting and sharing ideas. She always surprises me by showing up at the table in Del’s before I arrive so she can be ignored because I rarely recognize her when I enter and go to another table instead. We then disturb those in the area by making more noise than necessary.
Because she hadn’t done that in several months, we had much conversing to do and many ideas to share. She surely is one person who hasn’t let age interfere with hard work and delights in telling about her latest escapades. She has now become an expert at driving one of those huge tractors and enjoys floating along in the air-conditioned cab while listening to music and watching the hawks swoop to capture the mice and rats she disturbs. She also drives grain trucks and had much experience during our wet season in maneuvering such monsters in the mud.
Those of you who know her are aware that she is rather short and must look like a little gnat atop the tractor or inside a truck, but her stature has never gotten in her way because she has used it as a challenge to be able to do whatever taller people can do. She pointed out that she has to take twice as many steps as we do when she is waking, but she rises above many of us when she hops into the tractor cab and looks down on the world.
As always, we recalled many of our experiences while we were in school here and laughed much at the humorous ones. She then became pensive for a moment to say that she didn’t think our elders had told us the truth when they said, “Wisdom comes with age.” She explained that she has been searching for wisdom for 70 years and hasn’t found it yet! We agreed that we may have learned a few things since we walked across that stage in the auditorium to receive our diplomas, but we really haven’t made much headway toward wisdom. On the other hand, we have gained enough wisdom to be aware of just how little we know and how far we are from being wise!
After talking our way through lunch, we toured the streets so she could see the murals and appreciate all that has been added. As an artist herself, she really appreciated all the work that went into those creations and is eager to come back when others are ready to be viewed. She was particularly interested in the minute details and kept us walking a lot as we admired the Quarels’ efforts to show off our area.
We then wandered to Tucumcari Historical Museum to spend quite a while in the past to remember our school days in the main building. We were much aware that we were able to run up and down the stars once, but have not slowed a bit — she not as much as I because she has remained active. Of course, we exchanged stories about many of the items we viewed and just enjoyed delving into the past. She was particularly interested in the quilt collection because she is also a quilter and showed me one of her works in progress.
As long-time friends, we can say whatever comes to mind and not have to worry about the other person’s reactions because we know we aren’t about to hurt any feelings. We talked about serious subjects along the way and agreed that we were most fortunate to grow up here when we did. A day with a good friend is a most valuable gift.