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Palabras Pintorescas - What treasures await in what we call junk?

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By Editha Bartley

In the “Are there additions or corrections to the columns” section of the Optic where my “Palabras Pinturescas” column pops up, I need to follow up on some of my recent stories.

I mentioned the book “He Heard His Brother Call His Name” by Patsy Dorris Hale. I was told it was only available on Amazon, and that was before I visited my favorite bookstore, Tome on the Range. They have copies on order as we speak.

I also learned that “Pilgrim’s Wilderness” by Tom Kizzia is selling well there. Both books are about Bob Hale, our renegade hippie neighbor who led a very different life here, hidden in our remote Morphy Canyon. That Hale era was interesting to many of us, and these books put a good light on their upbringing and lifestyles.

I am still being thanked for donating the white fir Christmas tree that graced downtown Las Vegas last month. The greater credit should go to my son John, who manages this big ranch operation. He tramped through the woods and found three trees that would work.

The city crews picked the winner, brought a big truck and trailer and helped John carefully cut it down, so no branches were broken. All of us here at the ranch are delighted to be able to share this beautiful gentle giant with Las Vegas.

And John just dropped off a box of old junk from storage in my yard. The very small photograph was in a very fancy frame and the glass was covered with thick layers of dust. It is not easy to clean a photo without doing some damage, but I succeeded in getting it out of its dusty environs.

To my very real surprise, my mother had written on the back of the sealed frame: “Hannah Margeret Eteson, wife of the reverend Frank B. Eteson.” The Rev. Eteson was pastor of our St. Paul’s Episcopal Church here for years and the Etesons lived in the church rectory, right next door, between the church and Faith Hall. Hannah Eteson was my godmother, and I was baptized by Frank Eteson at Valmora in 1935.

The Etesons were from England, and I’m sure the ceremony was very proper British, because both mother and the Eteson’s wouldn’t have it any other way. I was probably 6 months old at the time. Sweet Brother Bill enjoyed the same ceremony two years later and he and I both joked the we didn’t remember anything at all about these parties centered around us.

This photograph of Hana Eteson personifies how a British-to-the-bone lady looked for in the 1930s or before. She had clear blue eyes and I never saw a hair out of place on her perfectly braided and coiffed head. She was a perfect example of what a ministers wife should be.

She served tea and crumpets at exactly 4 p.m. at the rectory. When our gravel road to Valmora was impossible because of the deep snow (in the 1940s) my parents would have me stay with the Eteson’s because I was not allowed to miss school at Las Vegas High School. The Etesons probably have much inter-reaction with children, other than at Sunday school.

Now I wonder ... what treasures will I find in the next box of old stuff, commonly called junk, that John drops off!

Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.