Will Rogers said long ago that even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. How right he was, and as I review the past month, there is no way I or anyone could just sit there because there has been so much to do in our big area. Yes, it is time to say thank you in so many ways for all of the nonprofits, the community organizations that work tirelessly year-round helping out so many in so many ways.
We may groan about meeting, greeting just one more ticket seller asking for a contribution to buy coats for kids, to fund scholarships, to keep Big Brothers Big Sisters right here for another year, to buy horse feed for Ride for Pride, to sell local history at CCHP and to serve hot meals for those in need.
This is only a partial list of community needs to be met, and I know so many of you continue to contribute in time, money and by just lending a hand whenever you are asked. Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about, actually? We who live in small towns and nearby are noted for generosity, generosity far beyond that of some big cities where neighbors don’t even know their next-door neighbor. How sad.
Our yard is again full of Christmas trees. Most of them will travel to neighboring towns, from Albuquerque to Lubbock, to decorate homes and businesses who prefer live, cut trees. A total of 120 of those trees will again be fitted into a giant steel frame to make the huge tree in the Old Town Plaza in Albuquerque. This is a large weeding project carefully planned out by foresters who continue to work with us here on the ranch, all in the interest of forest health.
The upper yard here sports an automated wood splitter that can crank out a cord of split firewood in an hour. This is yet another face of the big forest thinning project in full swing here. The trees that are cut, culled, end up heating someone’s house and wood stoves need no electricity to produce heat.
Those not in the know ask me what we do during the winter here. Between putting up, then storing thousands of bales of hay, working cattle that have come down from the higher pastures, running the firewood mill, plotting the next forest-thinning project and cutting Christmas trees, my family never stops from daylight to dark. What a healthy life this is, even if some jobs are physically challenging when the winds clock in at 50 mph or it is freezing cold out there.
Back in the day, it always snowed Thanksgiving weekend. That is why so many of us country folk don’t make big plans to go somewhere for the annual feast. The turkey will be cooked in the old wood range here. Nothing has changed here in the last 70 years when it comes to cooking on a wood stove. And I cannot end this without mentioning the Montezuma skating pond, which, in the old day, almost always opened up for skaters on Thanksgiving. What earth-shattering events will it take to get the largest outdoor, once lighted, skating pond in New Mexico back? Ice skating is not a dead sport, and I know a bunch of us still have skates stored in a cabinet, just waiting for the pond to skate on.
Ah, yes, happy, happy Thanksgiving in our beautiful Land of Enchantment.
Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.