Comments from the Canyons: Grandmother knew best

By Lynn Moncus: QCS columnist

On occasion, I have written about Grandmother Moncus and have mentioned how close we were from the time I can remember.

She was the one who planted the seed for my becoming a teacher because she so loved teaching.

Although I was not privileged to be in one of her classes, I was most definitely one of her most devoted and loving students.

Frequently, I wish I had asked her more questions about life, but I just didn’t take the time. As I have aged, I surely wish I had asked her more about the aging process and what she thought about it. For some reason, I don’t recall her talking very much about it, and that makes me wish even more that I had questioned her.

I knew that she showed her age early in life because that was explained by some of her children. Of course, I never knew her when she was young because she was already 60 when I arrived and was in her early 60s when I first remember her and became her student.

She was not very tall, and that appealed to the little girl in those canyons because I felt I was almost her size. She taught me much about nature in those canyons and had me saying the names of many of the wild plants and flowers by the time I was a toddler. She also helped me to distinguish among the birds and to learn their names.

She and Mother worked to teach me to talk and later to read and write. They were patient teachers and spent much of their valuable time trying to turn me into some kind of person.

I can still see Grandmother walking across that deep canyon to spend the day with me in our little home while my parents went elsewhere for the day. That walk seemed as nothing to her, but I know I didn’t make it that easily when I was that age.

She was about the age I am now when she left those canyons for the last time, and she was still able to walk up and down that steep hill, walk to the post office through two shallow canyons unless she wanted to take more time to go around them, and was still carrying water, milking the cow, tending her beautiful garden, and doing the laundry with the use of a rub board.

I may need to rest for a while as I think of all she did in one day!

Yes, I know she was still that active because she remained active every day of her life. She didn’t take time to do much resting until the last few years of her life when she lived with some of her children and let them do most of the work.

Had I asked her about the aging process, she would have looked at me as if I didn’t have good sense and would have replied that she never really thought about it because she hadn’t taken time off from her activities.

Not only had she kept active physically, but she had remained active mentally and was eager to continue learning.

She often expressed amazement at all the changes she had seen throughout her life. She was delighted to watch television and became a devotee of the Westerns. She was particularly pleased to watch any programs having to do with the pioneer era because that was her main era and the time in which she arrived in this area.

I don’t think she would have spent much time talking to me about aging because she would have wanted me to experience it on my own and because she thought I had sense enough to proceed.

Well, I’d still like to know how she felt and believe she might have told me that she really didn’t feel a lot different from year to year except that she slowed down physically and had a few more health problems than she had during her younger years.

I know she would now give me a lecture for not remaining physically active and spending time climbing around in those canyons. After all, they gave all of us strength and the feeling for this land.

She would have also explained that my mind needs more exercise because I tend to avoid deep thought much of the time. Of course, she would be right as always!

Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.