Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Of Our 50 Is Missing...

Someone wrote to me and said, "New Mexico is such a barren state you need to just leave."

I actually started to post several times, but I was getting so upset at the assumption that the answer to this problem was simply telling a woman without money to wonder off into other state to become a permanent bag lady, leaving family, property and pets behind I wanted to scream: "If the situation is bad, let's make it worse" isn't something I desire.

Today I am a little calmer, but an explanation as to "where I am" geographically may be needed. The photographs I use on this blog are taken locally. But this post may dispel doubt and stop me from talking about the 9 degree weather I woke up to this morning. Or the absolute dread I have in facing going to Tulerosa for the remainder of the supplies, fearing that I won't be able to get them before the deadline and I will lose several hundred dollars- again.

Sierra Blanca (also called the White Mountains) is a range of volcanic mountains in Lincoln and Otero counties of south-central New Mexico. The range is about 40 miles (64 km) from north to south and 20 miles (32 km) wide, and is dominated by Sierra Blanca Peak, whose highest point is at 11,981 ft (3,652 m). The peak is located 10 miles (16 km) west-northwest of Ruidoso and 30 miles (48 km) north-northeast of Alamogordo.

The majority of the Sierra Blanca range is within the Lincoln National Forest, and part of this is protected as the White Mountain Wilderness Area. However, much of the southern half of the range, including the summit of Sierra Blanca Peak, is part of the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, and requires a permit for access. To the south, across the valley of the Rio Tularosa, lie the Sacramento Mountains. To the north is Carrizo Mountain, and to the northeast lie the Capitan Mountains. On the west side, the range rises high above the Tularosa Basin.

The range serves as the headwaters for the Rio Ruidoso, Rio Tularosa, and Rio Bonito, as well as numerous arroyos draining into the Tularosa Basin, including Nogal Arroyo at the north end of the range.

Sierra Blanca Peak is the highest point in southern New Mexico, and is one of the southernmost points at which alpine ecosystems occur in the United States. Rising 8000 feet (2400 m) above the adjacent Tularosa Basin, it has the highest prominence in the state, and is the southernmost high peak in the contiguous United States (all higher peaks are farther north). The peak can be seen for many miles, particularly within the Tularosa Basin, and is visible from as far away as Sandia Crest near Albuquerque.

The eastern foothills of the Sierra Blanca range include the town of Ruidoso, and the area has a number of popular hiking and camping destinations. The ski resort located on Sierra Blanca Peak (which is located mostly within the Lincoln National Forest and managed by the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation) is called Ski Apache, and it is one of southern New Mexico's two ski resorts, the other called Ski Cloudcroft.

In 2000 the population of Lincoln County was 19,411. Its county seat is Carrizozo, while its largest community is Ruidoso. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,831 square miles (12,513 k), of which 4,831 square miles (12,512 km²) is land and 0 square miles (1 km²) (0.01%) is water.

It was once the largest county in the United States. In the late 1870s the so-called Lincoln County War broke out between ranchers and the owners of the county's largest general store. William Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid, became involved on the side of the ranchers after his friend and employer was killed. In the end, Bonney killed the deputy that killed his friend, another deputy, and the county sheriff. Several other people were slain in the conflict, which included the other leader of the rancher faction. His death ended the conflict. In 1878, the new territorial governor, retired Union General Lew Wallace, offered an amnesty to the combatants in order to bring a long-lasting truce between the factions.

Today, Lincoln County is a much more peaceful county. Most of the population is centered in the southern portion of the county in the Greater Ruidoso Area. The town of Carrizozo serves as the county seat and is located in the Tularosa Basin northwest of Ruidoso. Ruidoso boasts several small suburbs and neighbor communities including Ruidoso Downs, Hollywood, Mescalero, and Alto which contribute to the Ruidoso Micropolitan Statistical Area's population of 21,224. Ruidoso serves as the second largest city in south central New Mexico behind Alamogordo which is 46 miles southwest of the village. Ruidoso Downs located on the southern end of the county and southeast of Ruidoso operates the Ruidoso Down Racetrack and Casino. The track hosts both thoroughbred and quarter horse racing, notably the All American Futurity, the richest race in quarter horse racing. Historical figures from Lincoln County include Billy The Kid and Smokey Bear, whose names help drive the tourism trade that is heavily popularized within the county.

I have children who have been raised in Lincoln County, and grand-children born here. The population has literally tripled since we arrived here decades ago, and so much has changed. But the rest of world still thinks we are in Mexico, not the United States. The New Mexico Magazine provides a column titled "One of our 50 is missing."

Two decades after its launch, the One of Our Fifty Is Missing humor column the magazine's most popular recurring department.

While writing this blog I made several phone calls to make find out what time we were meeting Jan in Tulerosa to pick up the building supplies, and found out that she isn't going. It's been a frantic time trying to find a 25 ft long flatbed trailer, at the 12th hour, ( between 6.30 am and 7.30 am when we had scheduled to be in Tulerosa around 9 am ) without success.

With time running short to pick up the supplies I have already purchased, that awful feeling of swimming upstream against the odds overwhelms me. As though no matter how much effort or energy I put into trying to put this home & barn together I will never have a hope in hell of ever having a home again. I feel so defeated.

The heart of a mother is always the heart of a mother, no matter what our personal circumstances. Yesterday a friend handed me 3 lottery tickets. I clutched onto those lottery tickets for hours yesterday, praying with diligence that the Lord would open this avenue to give me a home. To restore the stolen money.

But then my heart turned to my own children and the financial struggles they have just trying not to sink beneath the waves. So I started praying for a home for myself AND the means to pay off the mortgages and put some financial security under their feet.

A 3 bedroom home for 6 people isn't comfortable, so I started praying for the funds to buy my oldest daughter & son-in-law a home big enough for their family. Then I thought about my youngest daughter and her family, and realized that she had always wanted a horse farm.. so I prayed for enough funds to cover a small facility too.

By the time I had finished praying a dozen or more people had new homes, but come sun-up I was still sat in the shed and the winning lottery tickets were not in MY hand.

You've got to take the bitter with the sour. ~ Samuel Goldwyn