A sad loss conjures happy memories of life in the canyons

Although this woman from Ima had been wanting to take a trip to the canyons, I certainly hadn’t anticipated going under such sad circumstances.

Last Saturday, funeral services were held for two of the brothers of one of the earliest families of homesteaders in the lma community Avrit G.(Sandy) Sparks and his brother, Lee Otis Sparks.

Sandy was one of our WWII heroes and retired from the Army Air Force. He had spent much of the war in the Pacific and flew under dreadful conditions. He was admired by the people of the area for all he did to help keep us free.

He settled in Colorado after the war but returned to lma frequently to visit family and friends. He then moved to Truth or Consequences where he passed away.

The Sparks family enjoyed music, and all sang or played stringed instruments. Sandy liked to sing and became well known for his performances with his brother, Rex, as they entertained at the Hassell Reunions.

Lee Otis and I rode the school bus together to House and just had fun growing up. He moved to Missouri and owned a trucking company. He came through the area on occasion and was very pleased when the road was paved from Santa Rosa on through Quay County because he could drive his big trucks over those roads on some of his trips. He passed away last year and had his ashes sent home to be buried with the rest of his family.

As I stood among the Sparks family and friends at the lma Cemetery, I was overwhelmed with memories of the past and could remember attending such services there during my earliest childhood. When a minister wasn’t available, Howard Bragg, grandfather of the Sparks family, would read the Scriptures and give brief talks about the deceased. I realized that I was one of the few in the gathering who had attended such services and was also very aware that I was the last member of our family to have lived at Ima.

To hear the congregation singing Sandy’s favorite hymn, “Hallelujah Square.” and to have the services closed with the playing of “Taps” made me much aware of how fortunate I am to have begun life in those canyons.

Although I was invited to the luncheon following the services, I declined because I had to go to the canyons to try to collect my emotions and to enjoy a couple of hours alone with Prissy, my black lab, while we roamed and I recalled the past and the joy of having lived in those canyons.

The combination of sad and happy memories can be overwhelming, but they represent our lives; thus, we can laugh and cry simultaneously as we recall the highs and lows of the past. I am very proud to be a part of that past.


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

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