Serving the High Plains

Articles written by Patti Dobson


Sorted by date  Results 1 - 25 of 25

  • Welcome to our new housemate, Ruby

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Jun 5, 2024

    Usually, I’m alone with my thoughts on the early drive to work. A few weeks ago, bleary-eyed and in need of a jolt of caffeine, I drove down the county road and saw a little head pop out of the tall grass. I blink. Nothing. Blink again. Head pops up. A puppy. I pulled over and got out, trying to see if the pup was OK. The pup was OK enough to dart across the road into an abandoned, overgrown property. The skeletal pup took refuge underneath an old truck, and just looked at me, then disappeared. I spent a few minutes trying to coax the pup out,...

  • Head Acres is the land of misfit critters

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|May 1, 2024

    We could learn a lot from the animal kingdom. Hundreds of critters have passed through the gates of Head Acres over the years. We’ve had Spanish bulls, emus, hogs, ducks, horses, snakes, chickens, lots and lots of chickens, chickens, feral cats, and most recently a “not-my-peacock” named Chicky. Chicky’s screeches did take some getting used to but now we look forward to his call. Some of our animal friends were destined to go on to rescue; we were a safe albeit temporary place for them to land. Others were destined to stay, whether they we...

  • I love the feel of the dirt and possibilities

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Apr 3, 2024

    Spring fever is in full bloom at Head Acres, evidenced by tissue boxes, allergy meds and decongestants. There are also dozens of little plantlets growing in cut-down toilet tissue holders, and peat cups scattered around the house. They all look alike to me, but my husband Wayne can tell me what’s in each little set. We’ve tried longer than not to get tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers of all kinds, and various other veggies to grow with fair to little success. The other day, Wayne surprised me with an assortment of sunflower seeds, in beautiful sha...

  • Photos are a little gift from the past

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Mar 6, 2024

    I’m glad I grew up before cell phones were so much of a thing. I think the pressure of having every moment, good or bad, recorded for the world to see would be too much. I already have a blooper reel, in my mind, of all the less-than-smart things I did as a kid. Sort of like having a personal “Ridiculousness” of missteps, trips, and fails. I’m not a fan of having my own photo taken to begin with, especially when it’s for something goofy. Growing up, I would turn out my grandmothers’ jewelry boxes on my bed, and sort through the pieces and...

  • Make your heart happy: Dream big

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Feb 7, 2024

    Double digits. Gavin, aka The Dad’s mini-me, is turning 10. How. Did. That. Happen? I remember when Gavin was born. I blinked, and now he’s 10. I have a million and one memories of this munchkin’s shenanigans in my brain. Some of my favorites are of my dad and Gavin. We have a photo of my dad as a toddler, and Gavin as a toddler. They look identical, which makes me laugh since they acted alike as well. Just a few decades in between kiddo and ‘grrrrrrampa.’ Even though Dad isn’t physically here with us, his mini-me sure keeps us on our toes. G...

  • Hope we can counter darkness with light in new year

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Jan 3, 2024

    So 2023 is in the rearview, a little tattered and torn, thoughtfully packed away with all the bits and pieces tucked into their proper spaces. It’s hard to jump into the new year with old business cluttering the path. It’s also hard to reach for something new when our hands are filled with baggage from the past. Change is hard for most of us. Sometimes, it’s easier to keep holding on to something that no longer serves us than it is to find something new that fits. While wearing the expectations and opinions of other people can weigh us down,...

  • Baking therapy connects past to present

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Dec 6, 2023

    When the world weighs on me, I pull out a tattered cookbook and thumb through the pages. Baking therapy. The old book has recipes from decades and people long past. There’s something soothing about those pages, and revisiting family stories. I don’t know that it’s a family history so much as a hodgepodge of memories. Past celebrations. Past holidays. Past conversations. I replay conversations with my dad over and over again. When things are especially trying, I picture him in my mind and listen to his words of wisdom, or snarkiness. He was good...

  • We have choice to be part of love in world

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Nov 1, 2023

    Sometimes the weight of the world is overwhelming. We see so many ugly things going on around us, whether on television, print, social media or just the messy things people say or do. The good in the world is often drowned out by the noise of bad behavior. It can be soul-crushing, especially as we try to continue on our path while dodging the arrows slung our way. When I find myself in that space, I always think of my dad. He had a no-nonsense way of being in the world. When I’d talk about nonsensical things that people would do, he’d alw...

  • Treasure the gift of love from Charlie

    Patti Dobson Religion columnist|Oct 4, 2023

    I had a Charlie (Broz) moment this past week; a few of them actually. I am a mad scientist baker. I see new photos and I take them as personal challenges. Most times, that works out just fine. Not the same with cooking. A few days ago, I decided to try a new Mediterranean chicken dish. It was sort of a jacked-up cacciatore thing with some fancy spices. The photo was beautiful. I thought this was something I could make without setting the oven on fire. I mostly followed the recipe and was rather surprised it came out so well. Without skipping a...

  • We don't always end up where we think we will

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Sep 6, 2023

    We don’t always end up where we think we’ll be when we start out on our journey. For some, the journey is straightforward. I think about the people in my life who knew what they wanted to do and be, and then set out to make it happen. For others, myself included, there were more twists and turns than the normal straightaway. It isn’t just that plans change, but that we change. Or our situations change. Or we discover what we thought we wanted, just didn’t work for us. Or it just took longer to find our path. Everyone has a special bit of work...

  • Spending another of Dad's birthdays without him

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Aug 2, 2023

    I’m spending the dog days of summer complaining about the soul-sapping heat, and tweaking my teaching materials for the fall. Because of that, I’ve fallen into a rabbit hole of sorts. I always reference my dad in leadership presentations, as an example of honor and integrity, and doing the right thing even when it’s hard. Memories flooded my mind while I worked on my slides. I take those unexpected moments as a gift, a hug from heaven. I’m grateful to have another chance to lose myself in these flickers from the past. The other evening as I wa...

  • This holiday marks puppy anniversary

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Jul 5, 2023

    The “dog days of summer” has an extra special meaning this year. This July 4 weekend marked an entire year with SassyPants, the great Pyr, patrolling the grounds. While just a pup, she would regularly come down the road to visit. The giant fluffball would saunter down for a cookie and a belly rub, and an occasional hot dog. She also had quite a crush on the senior dog in the front, OtterPup; and just like OtterPup, we fell in love with the fluffer the first time she ventured into the yard. OtterPup had been pretty glum in the months prior to th...

  • Trying to honor my father in all I do

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Jun 7, 2023

    Father’s Day is sneaking up on me. Since my dad died, there is a hint of sadness tied in with the gratitude I feel remembering my dad. This year, it’s compounded by the passing of my father-in-law George Head, who died a day before the fifth anniversary of my own dad’s passing. And about a month and a half before that, my brother-in-law George died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. This past weekend, generations of family gathered in Kingman, Ariz., to celebrate the lives of both Georges. As these things go, there were equal amounts...

  • Godspeed to my dear Baaaaad Papa

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|May 3, 2023

    This has been a tough year for losses. In February, my husband Wayne lost his brother, George, to Alzheimer’s. Then, a day before the fifth anniversary of my dad’s passing, Wayne’s dad, George Jeston Head, died, leaving us mired in a pit of grief. There are so many similarities between our two fathers. Both had very distinct visions of right and wrong. Both served their countries proudly, without question. Both were spiritual men of honor and integrity, who loved their families without hesitation. Often, Wayne would look at his father, and s...

  • Scatter seeds like wishes, and love will grow

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Apr 5, 2023

    I love spring. I’m antsy to clean up garden areas, and plant things. There are green blobs already sprouting in various tubs throughout the yards. Could be weeds. Could be flowers. Could be one of a thousand seeds I planted last year coming back to life. There’s a sense of promise in the air. Anticipation. Hope. As a kid, I’d all but throw a party when the seed packets showed up in store aisles. I’d have to pick up and read each packet, explore the garden pots, the figurines, windchimes, the works. Fast forward a few decades, and not a lot has...

  • Baking an entire cookbook in honor of Dad

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Mar 1, 2023

    Grief is a sneaky beast. There I was, scrolling through social media mostly minding my own business, when it hit. It started out innocently enough. I was knee-deep in fancy chocolate blends and extracts. Google seems to think I have a baking problem, and regularly throws things of interest my way. This time it was a cookbook. A triple layer chocolate something or other flashed on the screen, topped with the title, “50 Things to Bake Before You Die.” Challenge accepted, I thought. And then I immediately thought of my dad, who lived by the “tw...

  • Still enjoying the moment with our tree

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Feb 1, 2023

    Our Christmas tree is still up. Neither one of us is in any great hurry to take it apart and put it in the duct-taped box. Clearly, since it’s February. In the wee hours each morning, I open the curtains and plug in the tree. I putter around the living room, caffeinating myself, in the glow of multi-colored lights. I find them as peaceful as they are beautiful. When I was a kid, it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r for Christmas to get here. Or longer. Now, I blink and Valentine’s stuff is on the store shelves, this year before Dec. 25. The season hit so qui...

  • Looking forward to 2023's adventures

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Jan 4, 2023

    Now that 2022 is in my rearview, I’m looking forward to whatever adventures 2023 holds. Nothing says “new year celebration” like sitting outside being sandblasted by intense winds and trying to convince a little brown semi-feral pup that I’m not an ax murderer. So far, it’s not going well. When his people moved out a couple weeks or so ago, the little dog that we call Brown Brown was left behind. He limped up to our place, and I immediately put food and water out. My husband Wayne configured some fencing so that we could shut him into our...

  • Change can come from grown-up Christmas list

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Dec 7, 2022

    Christmas was simpler when I was a little kid. Maybe it was just that my wishes were simpler back then. I didn’t wish for world peace so much as I just believed it already existed. And I didn’t wish that people would get along, because in my rosy little world, they did. Cue a 1970s “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” moment here. I also believed in the magic of Christmas. Still do. I believe that rather than name-calling and fighting, we need to remember that we belong to one another, brothers and sisters. I believe that rather than sepa...

  • Finding my roots already planted in Tucumcari

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Nov 2, 2022

    I blinked, and it’s November. Along with our usual flurry of activity with jobs and life and an eclectic crew of animals, my husband Wayne and I have had the added joy of serving as commissioned pastors of First Presbyterian Church in Tucumcari. We’ve been making the trip for just about six months now. It’s a labor of love for us. We’d left our long-time church back in 2020. It’s never an easy choice to leave a church, especially when you’ve established roots. There’s a saying attributed to Sean Patrick Flanery: “Do not ask God to guide your f...

  • Smart watches may be smarter than me

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Oct 5, 2022

    I need to hire a kid. STAT! I had the bright idea to get smart watches for us after seeing a news story about a woman whose watch alerted her to a dangerous medical condition. The watch detected an unusual heart rhythm and periods of an alarmingly high pulse rate. She ended up in an ER, and then ICU where doctors were able to address an undiagnosed heart condition. The same story talked about the different types of “things” a smart watch would show, like stress levels, steps walked, fitness levels, blood pressure, sleep rates, to name but a f...

  • Hoping to keep walking in echo of father's footsteps

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Sep 7, 2022

    Growing up, we were taught to always do the right thing, no matter how difficult. We were taught that if we succeeded in something but did so by being dishonest or causing harm to another person or their reputation, we failed, and our credibility took a hit. Dad didn’t take himself too seriously, but he was very serious about being a dad. He taught us to treat people with respect, to try to find the good in everything, and everyone. He taught us to forgive, to love, to brush ourselves off and keep trying. He taught us to forge our own path, t...

  • August means double helping of memories

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Aug 3, 2022

    I’ve been thinking about my dad more so than usual. Probably because it’s August, his birth month. August has always been a time of celebration because of my dad’s birthday. I’d start practi-baking the beginning of the month for the grand shindig on the 31st. Even though it’s been a little over four years since he’s been gone, that practice hasn’t stopped. I always make my Grandma Sarah’s spice cake during this time of year. This recipe is about a hundred years old. It belonged to my great-grandmother, as the story goes. I always feel connected...

  • Ailing dog keeps living in the present

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Jul 6, 2022

    Patchie, a beautiful white and black heeler, is our resident grouch. We’ve had her almost 10 years and she was probably about 2, give or take, when we found each other. Like so many past and present residents of Head Acres, she came to us through no fault of her own. She was abandoned and fending for herself on a trash pile in the fields behind the house. I found her while taking a walk in December 2013. She was a mess. Skeletal with open wounds. Fearful. Starving. Shivering. Because of her condition, we knew we had to get her as quickly as p...

  • Hoping toads, frogs come back for sprinkle or two

    Patti Dobson, Religion columnist|Jun 1, 2022

    June … it’s June. Usually by now, the toads and frogs are back. It’s oddly quiet out here at Head Acres. I don’t know if it’s because it’s so dry or if there’s some other toad/frog thing I don’t know about. Whatever it is, I miss them. They add a lot of personality to the garden. Last year, when I’d water in mornings and evenings I’d have a collection of groupies waiting for a sprinkle. We’d even find them buried in the potted plants, cooling off in the dirt. This year, nothing. But, what we lack in toads and frogs, we’ve made up for in...