Though imperfect, trip worth the effort

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

When I awoke Thanksgiving morning it was snowing steadily and a good skiff was on the ground and clinging to the boughs of the pine trees. Truly a glorious sight.

I knew when I went to bed the forecast was still calling for snow but that wasn’t what caused me to rise so early. It was the 10-pound ham that had been slow cooking in the oven all night.

It’s one of my favorite ways to be tortured, trying to sleep in while my mother’s holiday ham is in the oven. The aroma drifts down the hall and under the bedroom doors until you can’t stand it anymore.

This Thanksgiving it all happened on a family retreat in Ruidoso. Something we’ve done a few times over the last few years but never on Thanksgiving. The dinner and all the comforts of a holiday at home — movies, Mexican Train dominoes and a few other board games were hauled to a rented home Wednesday night.

The idea was that if we all got away there would be fewer distractions and we would get to enjoy time together a little more. That idea worked pretty well to an extent and everyone had a pretty good time.

There were a few problems though. Knowing my wife and I would be arriving after dark on Wednesday, we had checked out how to find the house we were renting in the daylight a few weeks earlier while at the Ram football game in Ruidoso. We didn’t bother to hang onto the directions for a refresher and instead blundered into the darkness.

I zigged when I should have zagged early during the blind navigation but quickly righted myself. A couple of more U-turns and I was sure I had located the house at the top of a long gravel driveway. I headed up the lane slinging gravel as I went, only to find that none of the vehicles we expected to see were at the top.

From the top of the driveway we could see a huge display of Christmas lights below and remarked about them. Out of the driveway, I made a mile-long loop and came upon the house with the lights again. Directly across the street was the place we were looking for. We probably could have seen it from the top if we hadn’t been blinded by the Griswold-like display.

We had one bed malfunction during the stay that was worked out the next morning. I’m not gonna say something fishy was going on, but it was the most newly wed of the couples in the house whose bed gave way and put them on the floor.

Thursday I rode downtown with the brother-in-law to guide a nephew into the place in the dark. As we were coming back brother-in-law took a wrong turn himself and we explored the rest of the neighborhood in the dark.

As we all sat down to Thanksgiving dinner we looked out the window and found we had an audience of sorts. A herd of mule deer was munching away, no doubt thankful for the forbs and grasses they were enjoying and looking up occasionally to check the human family on the other side of the window, stuffing themselves as well.

Karl Terry is managing editor for the Portales News-Tribune. Contact him at 356-4483 or by e-mail: