I want my readers to understand the magic of RR and the love affair I had (have) with the mountains. Where to start is the question. Should I tell stories in chronological order or just tell stories as they come to mind. I’m leaning toward the latter. There are so many stories to tell about growing up in Red River, but this will give you a basic timeline of our years in RR.
Every year of my life my family went to Red River, NM as soon as school was out for the summer, and we stayed until August when it was time for Dad to go back to work as a teacher. From other posts, you know that my parents met in RR in 1953, married in 1955, and started building a cabin up Bitter Creek Canyon soon after. You also know I was born in March of 1958. Since I was only about four months old, I did not get to go to RR that summer. Mom says they left me with my grandmother while they took my brother (who was about 18 months old) to RR to work on the cabin. When my little brother, Pete, was born in April of 1963, my parents took all three of us to RR for the summer. There are pictures of Craig and I standing in front of the cabin holding baby Pete. The cabin was up and dried in, but certainly not finished. In fact, Dad did not "finish" the cabin while we owned it. He sold it to my Uncle Gene (not really an uncle, but might as well be) who finished the cabin. Uncle Gene still lives in RR and could be mentioned again in my stories. Dad bought the Green Mountain Lodge and laundry in town where he put Craig and I to work giving change in the laundry at the ages of 8 and 9 years old. Mom turned two of the hotel rooms into her beauty shop – I believe that about 1966. My parents owned several other homes and businesses through the years including half of the Zuni Cabins during my high school years. The Zuni had three sets of cabins – one cabin we turned into a gift shop and lived in the other two. We spent most of our winter breaks in RR and lived in RR fulltime for awhile. Those years may require some more explanation later. Toby and I married in RR on June 27, 1977 and spent several summers working there while going to college. We moved back to RR in 1986 after living all over Texas and lived in RR until 1997. I cried hard as we left my mountains and my dream home.
My dad had an old 55’GMC pickup truck. I have great memories and great stories of "Old Blue." It was a two tone blue, four on the floor monster truck – or so it seemed to me when I was little. Dad had homemade sideboards on the bed of the truck to hold in all the junk we hauled to the mountains each summer. My place was standing next to Dad’s shoulder where he could protect me with his arm. I always rode with Dad when I could because I was a Daddy’s girl. Later, Craig and I learned to drive in that truck. I had to keep a pillow in the truck so that I could reach the pedals easier. That truck was well known in RR. Many a young teen-ager learned to drive in Dad’s GMC up and down Main Street in RR. Now is a good time to mention that Dad had a way with teen-agers too. He was as popular as his truck. Ray Wylie Hubbard used to borrow the truck now and then – I often wondered if he was thinking of Dad’s truck when he wrote "Redneck Mother" – then again maybe not. Watch his video for a real hoot! I need to work on posting videos.
I may have told this story, but I could not find it on my blog, so here it is again:
One year Dad had Old Blue loaded down with furniture and such for the cabin up Bitter Creek including a refrigerator. My grandmother (Dad’s mom) was riding in the car with Mom and my brothers while I rode with Dad in Old Blue. I had several kittens in a box that I was playing with on the trip. We had had several flats on Old Blue that trip. Later Mom explained that Dad did not want to have to buy a new tire, so he kept patching this old tire and hoping we would make it to RR. It was a big hassle. Dad was worried that it would blowout before we got to RR, but he kept patching and going. Those are things that little kids don’t understand – the undercurrents, the hardships, the worries, etc. We were about a mile from starting up Bobcat Pass into RR (the Pass is a steep, winding, dangerous road up and over the mountain) when Old Blue shot out across the pasture near Moreno Ranch. We went through the barbed-wire fence before coming to a rest out in the pasture. I threw kittens everywhere in the bumpy ride. When we came to a stop, Dad put his head on the steering wheel and started laughing. Mom came up and was yelling at him. Nanny, who was never ruffled, was freaked out, and I was wondering what the heck was happening. The tire had finally blown. With the heavy furniture and fridge in the truck, the balance of the truck was off causing us to fly out into the pasture. Dad was laughing because the blowout had happened while we were still on the flat road. Another mile and we could have been shot out over the edge of the Pass and probably killed. Mom was mad because Dad was laughing and she had been scared to death when she saw us dive off the road. There were lots of emotions going on. I just wanted to find my kittens. It was a trip that still stands out in my mind.