Thursday, February 22, 2007

More Scanner Fun and Memories of New Mexico

If I can be honest for a moment (and I usually am), I never really liked living in Lovington, New Mexico-population 9000-the second time around.

Yes, we lived there twice.

This really isn’t a secret to my family and a few other people. I guess it wasn’t anybody’s fault. I really liked living in Big Spring. For what I was interested in at the time it was like a smaller version of Austin.

We lived on the bottom of the hill in Big Spring that runs through town. And below the neighborhood were trails all over the place, so I took the first BMX bike in West Texas (this was the late 70s) and made those trails my home. And Austin has the greenbelt and all these cool places to ride mountain bikes-except in this day and age I’m no longer the only one that thinks this is a good idea.

Lovington, on the other hand, is flatter than a one-sided pancake, and just as dry and desolate as West Texas but worse. If you try to dig a hole in Lovington, you’ll hit rock about 4 ft down. I have personal experience surrounding this. I heard you could dig your way through the Earth and end up in China, and I thought that China had to be better than Lovington.

In Big Spring I was really connected to the people in school and had some really cool stuff going on. I really looked forward to being in the Big Spring Steers High School Band. My family moved after my seventh grade year started, so not only was I the new kid, but I was the new kid after school had already gotten started.

It was kind of like being really late to school and realizing you forgot to put your pants on, plus there’s all this homework that you’ve missed and the test is tomorrow. Oh, and there is a part of the school that you’ve never been to and one of your classes is there and you’ve never even been in that part of the building, and you get hopelessly lost and you need to meet with your teacher to try to salvage your grade…I’ve had a lot of dreams like that-then and many years afterwards.

There were of course some bright spots for me. One of those bright spots was Heath, pictured above. Heath and I liked cars, and we debated religion. Another light was Mary who tried to keep Heath and I from debating religion and to just get along with each other. He became a Methodist minister and now lives somewhere in Colorado, last I heard. I just became a preacher’s kid with a bad attitude. We had fun though. Once Heath took me and some other people over to John Carlberg’s Episcopal(?) church to go square dancing. This didn’t square to well with my dad and I did not dosey doe there but once. I also used to go to Heath’s church on Sunday nights when I didn’t want to hang out with the youth group at the church I was supposed to be going to.

Come to think of it, I didn’t go to Heath’s church as much as all of that. There weren’t many times that I did want to go to the church that I was supposed to go to, but I went anyway. I’m not sure if my dad was thrilled about me playing hooky like this or not, but I now know God was trying to give me a little bit of grace there towards the end.

It’s the rare church that does not lose focus and is able to minister to the people of its congregation effectively, and does not get into petty politics about this, that or the other. God has given each of us inside what we look so desperately to other people for. I admire my sister Deana and Chad for being this rare kind of people. I just hope and pray that whatever situation they are in that their value will not be bulldozed and squeezed out of them. Thankfully, churches are becoming to be more interested in individuality, which is a good sign.

Just for the record, I can’t blame this particular church for anything directly, it was just a hard time for a lot of people-not just me-and everybody was doing the best they could. Many that I won’t name were exceptionally wonderful. The Henard’s were our grandparents away from home.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress.

Heath came over to see us on our last day in New Mexico, on this, my favorite day in Lovington. In the top picture, the one where I’m smiling, notice the reflection in the window behind us. An orange Allied Van Lines moving van. Moving us AWAY, to Beaumont, TX, home of my grandparents and my aunt and uncle, where we visited every summer.

I never convinced Heath that it wasn’t ok to get baptized by speaking Jesus into your heart, and he never convinced me that it was ok to have musical instruments in the church.

That all came much later for me. He is still probably speaking Jesus into his heart and for many others, and I’ll bet he’s doing a great job at it.

The second picture is of a 1973 Dodge Dart Sport that I drove in Lovington. I really loved these kinds of cars. It didn’t have a/c so we sold it when we left New Mexico.

The next picture is another memory for anyone in this part of the country, AstroWorld. This was taken during our move from Lovington to Beaumont. Another good reason to move-there was stuff happening there.

Many people my sister and I went to school with in Beaumont renamed it BORE-mont. Not us. It was such a relief to live in a town with a freeway, mall, rain, tall trees, and green stuff. Besides, we lived just down the street from my grandparents. Any time of the day or night, I could go into their back bedroom and sleep to my heart’s content. It had the world’s best sounding a/c window unit.

In Beaumont, it’s not the dry, yellow grass that crunches under your feet, but pine cones. And the beach was only an hour away. In Lovington we had to drive 2 hours to go to Lubbock and we thought we had really gone somewhere. Hey, they had a Wendy’s!! And who knew that we were driving right past Chad’s house in Brownfield en route?

I think I heard once that there were about 900 people in Lovington High School at the time I was there, 300 per grade. After I moved to Beaumont there were 1500 people in the High School there, about 750 per grade. I was more or less completely lost. It was wonderful!!!

A few years after we left Lovington I heard the feds found out about and shut down ‘the pink house’. The pink house?! No one ever told me about a pink house in Lovington!

Well, I did overhear about it once, but that’s another story for another time.

Here’s to you Lovington, 700 miles away!!!