When this woman from lma hears from another native of that community,
memories of the past become overwhelming. Very few of us related to those original settlers remain, and when we have an opportunity to visit with each other, at least one of us feels very privileged.
Last week, Lee Otis Sparks called from his home in Joplin, Mo. to strike up a conversation after more years than either of us could count. We saw each other briefly at a Sparks family gathering several years ago, but we really haven’t done much visiting since we rode the school bus to House in the mid-1940s. Obviously, much has happened in our lives since then, but we began visiting as if we had just gotten on the bus that morning.
Our laughter might not have compared to the giggles we had in those years, but it certainly was just as much fun. We recalled all sorts of events and experiences and could have continued talking for many more hours. He remembered having helped Mother drive our car during the times when the roads were almost too muddy to allow us to do more than to make a lot of crooked tracks.
That car was our school bus during one year, and when it wasn’t getting stuck in the mud or snow, it was having at least one flat per week. Otis was an expert at changing tires and had plenty of practice that year.
He explained that he had taught for a number of years and had then decided to become the owner of a fleet of trucks in order to make a little money. He is now spending much of his time writing a book about those years at Ima. Of course, that was good news as I am always eager to hear more about life in our county. I just hope he will hurry with that project and send a copy as soon as possible. He could at least send a rough draft to let me begin reading his version of our history.
We both talked much about the time spent in the canyons around Grandmother’s house. Grandmother Moncus always had time to spend with any of the young people in the community and was happy to share a meal with them when they would take the time to visit with her. I can remember seeing many members of the Sparks family in those canyons. Sometimes, they would appear to help with brandings, to help with butchering, to help with harvest, or to have a picnic at Black Jack’s Cave before walking across the canyon to the house.
Hearing from someone who has known me all my life is a major event on this corner. Very few such people still exist, and each of them is truly a treasure!
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun at 461-1952.