By Lynn Moncus
Leslie H. (Bob) Mead, one of our own natives of Quay County, recently published “Get That Gate!,” a book containing many of his memories of the good and bad times he has had throughout his life.
Joanne M. Mead, his wife, illustrated many of the stories, and his daughter and her husband, Lynn and Chris, readied the work for publication.
Leslie had let me read a rough draft some time ago, but seeing the final publication was a major privilege because I know how hard the whole family worked to reach this point and certainly have some idea as to how thrilled they are to see the results. When families work together so closely on such a project, we know they really care and can also glimpse just how they have worked together all along.
In his Preface, Leslie writes, “This book is intended to bring a little joy to each one who reads it, a smile to your lips, and even to make you laugh right out loud at times.” It does all three, beginning with the title.
Those of us who grew up in the country heard that sentence from the time we could listen and hit the ground running when we heard it because we knew we were in trouble it we let one animal slip through a gate which we had probably left open in the first place.
Leslie is a natural story teller and has the ability to turn stories about really hard times into stories of adventure.
Although the reader is aware of just how hard some of those times were, he just naturally smiles at a writer who has the ability to smile at his won troubles.
Because I have known Leslie most of my life, I was able to recognize many of the people about whom he wrote and to remember other stories about them.
Just turning the pages to get to the next experience was most pleasant, and Joanne’s sketches captured the scenes about which the stories were written.
Although many of the stories are about Quay County, others are about his life in other parts of the state, especially at his home in the Taos area.
Unless the reader is paying close attention, he may miss the fact that Leslie was President of the New Mexico Angus Association and is well known throughout the state and other states for his work in that and for his Angus herd.
He sort of hid that information in stories about some of the problems he had at Angus shows.
Joanne was also President of the Ladies Angus Auxiliary, and they were sent to the national convention in Chicago. He closes that story by recalling that he had been mentioned by Frank Jester in his book, “Where the Coyote Howls,” as having been educated at House.
Leslie ended that segment by writing, “Above all, it was a real compliment to have gotten my education at House, NM!”
When we are privileged to know a writer, we enjoy his work because we can hear his voice as he tells his stories.
I could also hear his laughter, especially when he was laughing at himself. No doubt, this book will be available here before long, and those of you who know the area and her people are in for a treat, especially if you grew up the hard way and forgot to “get that gate.”