My turn: Holiday’s best part? Arrival

Last weekend’s snow reminded me of the Thanksgiving I almost missed 33 years ago.

I was a freshman at ENMU, and while I hardly suffered from homesickness, I was eager for my first extended holiday, especially since it was to be shared with a visiting Rotary exchange student from New Zealand, Mandy, who became part of our family during her year in Portales.

Betty Williamson

Betty Williamson

Mandy jinxed the visit with her fervent desire for snow. As a resident of the southern hemisphere, November was early summer in her country, a time for beach visits not snowball fights. She wanted her American Thanksgiving to be a frosty one.

Mother Nature granted Mandy’s wish with a whopper of a blizzard that week, filling our four miles of dirt road from bank to bank. Impassable. I was heartbroken, and had visions of us sitting alone in Bernalillo Hall, nibbling Ramen noodles.

But this is a day for happy endings. By Wednesday, the paved roads were bladed, and my car made it — slowly — to a farmhouse several miles away. I wonder if Karl Cox, Jr., remembers packing two teenage girls into his tractor and ferrying us south to meet my dad, who had driven across pastures to meet him and bring us home.

I can’t recall the menu that year, but I will never forget the joy of making it home.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Betty Williamson hopes you are where you want to be today. You may reach her at

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