If you take all of the posts that I have ever written about my life in NNM, you know that I had a great life there. But I was also raised in small town Texas where everyone went to church and behaved accordingly. Strong values were instilled in us. My brother and I were and are strong characters even as teen-agers growing up in RR. There are lots of strong characters in RR who were not sucked in to the alcohol and drug use that is so pulling. But Red River is a resort town. There is a party spirit. It can all be fun or it can be deadly. Marriages fall all around youdo to the partying. Young people struggle and often fall into the snare of the party spirit, and they are not strong enough to make the right decisions. It is a generational curse that gets worse with each generation.
I loved my life in RR, but I hated seeing my friend’s lives falling apart. I hated seeing their marriages fail. I hated seeing Bo and Jesse’s friends and my students grow up to the same drinking and partying trap even to the point of dying. How many kids need to die before you realize that things need to change? That is what made leaving NM so hard. You want to help, you want to make a difference, you want it to be okay. But are you willing to sacrifice your children for life in the mountains? Will your children be sucked into the drinking and drugs or will they be oddities. Will they survive? We were not willing to chance that.
I can look back on my life in NNM and think, “Wow, there was so much fun there!” Even today there is a pull to return to the mountains like a lover who calls to you and reminds you of the joy you had together. I have to remind myself of why that relationship fell apart. Now then, I can go back for short vacations and enjoy old friends and hike the trails or ski the slopes with a certain detachment. But sometimes while I am visiting, I hear things like “So-in-so’s son was arrested for drunk driving; he hit a woman with his vehicle…” or “Another group of kids wrecked while racing down the canyon: two were killed…” or “Fred and Jane are getting a divorce; she was having an affair with Jo…Jo and his wife are struggling...” and I thank God that I am not there anymore and my children are safer and stronger for our move.
Yes, those things are everywhere - in every town in America. You hear about such stuff on the news every night, but now then here in OK, it is not up-close and personal. It is not happening to my best friends and acquaintances. Although those things do touch my life now and then, they don’t slap me in the face anymore.
This photo was taken in about 1985 while we were visiting RR and getting together with friends who I grew up with in RR and have remained good friends through the years. Blaine (on the left) is getting married this weekend in Lubbock. Blaine and his parents lived next door to us in RR. He is Mrs. Bear's son. They moved to West Texas in the early 90's to raise their children. We are driving out to the wedding, which should be lots of fun with old friends from RR in attendance. That is Jesse on the right. The boy in the middle is Will, a kid that I had a special relationship with - someone I loved. I have a great story about him that I may share someday. He died a few years ago before his 21st birthday in a stupid accident with alcohol involved. I would like to say that the boys in the car with him, were awakened to their stupidity, but they were not. There is always hope that the young men will change, but they don’t have the tools to do so or the atmosphere to encourage them. They love their life even unto death.