By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
He had a curious nature. He loved to learn about animals. At bedtime, he told his parents, “I love you to the moon and back,” then, “I love you to Jupiter and back.”
James Hammer was 5 when he died in a ranching accident last week in Roy. He lived a full life.
“He got along with both the young and old,” said Amanda Hammer, the boy’s mother. “He was more of a little adult.”
James was outgoing and loved to perform, Amanda said.
He sang with the St. Anne’s choir and with Carlos Chavez with the Eastern New Mexico Bluegrass & Old Tyme Association.
“James lived 50 years in his little lifetime,” Amanda said.
His family spent the Fourth of July weekend in Raton fishing at Lake Maloya. Amanda said James stayed behind with his grandparents, Dickie and Carol Hammer of Mosquero, and then went to stay with his grandparents Richard and Barbara Shaw of Roy.
“He loved to spend time out at the ranch with his grandparents,” said Jimmy Hammer, James’ father. “He loved to brand, feed the cows and fix fence.”
James died on July 7 when a pickup backed over him in a field, his mother said.
“He was helping his grandpa fix a pipeline. He was riding on the back of a flat-bed truck. We think he fell off and the pickup backed up over him,” Amanda said.
Jimmy said he was working in Roy when he heard the ambulance had been called to his father-in-law’s ranch. At first he said he feared his father-in-law might have fallen ill and he followed the ambulance to the ranch.
“It was James,” Jimmy said. “I rode back with him in the ambulance. The paramedics did all they could but James’ heart would not go into rhythm on its own.”
Amanda said her son told his grandmother that July 6 was the best day of his young life.
“He had worked cattle in the morning with the Hammers and later he went riding on bicycles with his grandma,” Amanda said. “They rode through a mud puddle and later that night he helped to cook fried chicken.”
Amanda said James loved to read and learn and he spent a lot of time at the Tucumcari Historical Museum and the Mesalands Community College’s Dinosaur Museum.
“He loved to dig up the bones at the museum and bury them for other kids to find,” Amanda said.
Amanda said James was always excited about school.
“He had just graduated from kindergarten,” she said. “He was a very good student and already knew how to read, add and subtract. He was a Rattler — that was his school and his favorite teams.”
He also loved to interact with his younger sister Laine.
“They would do everything together,” Amanda said. “Running, playing, swinging — he even tried to teach her to ride a tricycle.”