Most will concede that Portales isn’t the Taos of the High Plains, but—like anywhere—it’s our drinking buddies that count.
I have lived in beautiful places: A tropical island in the South Pacific, by mesmerizing white beaches in Pensacola, Fla., and, in my 20s, was a newspaper editor in the pictorial Arkansas Ozarks retirement community of Cherokee Village.
The town boasted two golf courses, five lakes, rolling hills and white-water rafting.
For $150 per month, I lived in a picturesque, window-dominated house surrounded by towering oaks carpeting the endless yard in a potpourri of fall foliage—with deer and squirrels sniffing around like they owned the joint.
Of course, as a single young man, I was quite popular with the predominantly Northern widows—though not necessarily with the widowers.
My popularity peaked when I played the hayseed lead in “Hillbilly Nights,” a locally-written play.
In an ad-libbed scene, I kissed a young hair-stylist shipped in from a neighboring hamlet to play the beautiful, scantily-clad temptress.
Gasps erupted throughout the packed house, with elderly widows and widowers fanning themselves furiously with mimeographed programs.
In the review I penned myself for the next Cherokee Villager, I wrote:
“The kissing scene brought back long-forgotten memories for most of the vintage crowd. Paramedics will be on hand for any of Sloan’s future performances.”