Through the years, we have visited much about the many privileges of small-town life and have usually agreed that we are most fortunate to live in our little corner of the Southwest.
One morning last week was an example of the joy of being a native of these parts when a number of former Tucumcari HIgh School Rattlers greeted each other at Kix on 66. As I entered, the Criswell sisters, Ginger and Jackie, greeted me very warmly. Ginger, a 1956 graduate, reported that she had retired from teaching after 42 years and was feeling a little lost. Jackie, a 1960 graduate, reminded me that she joined the Golden Rattlers this year and made me feel my age as I recalled her presence in class.
General “Si” Reid, now retired, and his wife Glenda, both former Rattlers, came in for breakfast and some visiting. Because “Si” was making some kind remarks about his THS English teacher, Mrs. Kathryn Stephenson, I decided to give her a call in Edmond, Okla. to let her hear the voice of one of her students. She and I understand the meaning of hearing from our former students and the privilege of having had a small part to play in their lives. Suddenly, the General became the young student as he talked to his teacher, giving this observer the pleasure of watching that sudden transformation.
We were also joined by one of the most recent graduates of THS, Chase Waters, class of 2010, who settled right in with the senior members of the Rattler Alumni. He is aware of the pleasures of living in a small town and enjoys knowing so many of the citizens. I think each of us felt the bond of our being THS graduates. “Si” and I also felt the privilege of having had some of the teachers of the past. Coach C.O. Criswell, father of Ginger and Jackie, was one of my teachers at THS and certainly became a part of my thoughts that morning as I visited with his daughters.
A major part of the privilege of living in our small town is the continuity we feel as we meet and greet friends each day. Wherever we turn, we see someone from our past as well as new friends from the present. The past remains much alive in our memories as we visit with each other and realize just how much we have in common. As we look though the list of names in the Golden Rattler Directory or browse through our yearbooks, we stand just a little taller as we recognize classmates, teachers and friends of a lifetime. On that particular day, we had graduates from 1942 through the 50s, 60s, 70s right to the present, and each of us felt at home in the other’s company. Aren’t we fortunate!