Archives for category: Hobbs

When we first moved to Hobbs, New Mexico, we were in a little duplex on Sunset Circle. Our neighbor was Allen Williamson’s grandmother, I endlessly kicked a soccer ball against our brick front wall, and I discovered the joy of catching horny toads and getting sprayed with eye blood. Hobbs wasn’t really the worst, although many of us that have left like to proclaim it as such. One sunshiny day I watched as two kids swooshed past my window down the street… BIKES!

I quickly got mine from behind my rock tumbler (YES, I HAD A ROCK TUMBLER – BACK OFF ME) and pedaled to see who they were. It was Prissy Priscilla Lawson-Whitaker and her brother Bill. We quickly became friends, rode our bikes to the Town and Country every afternoon for bubble gum shaped like burgers, atomic fireballs and popsicles. I remember she had a little boom box and she would play George Michael – but like, the kind of dirty songs so we thought we were being bad (and also somehow still thought he was straight. Eighties gaydar was SUPER bad, you guys). My favorite favorite memory of Prissy was being invited for a sleep over at her house. Her mom had long pink nails and longer Virginia Slims. She rented us (on VHS) Dirty Dancing and Top Gun. Little bro Bill kept making gross noises during all the kissing scenes and when we tried to do cool dance moves, her mom show-stopped that party, got on the living room table and showed us how to shake from your toes to your head and go go dance. She was amazing. We had so much fun…it was the summer before sixth grade – the summer before all girls start feeling weirdly self conscious and before we moved and she moved and we wouldn’t see each other again until high school when everyone is battling their own teenage angst. Things like those iconic movies though, bike rides, Prissy had the coolest fashion and knew how to curl hair…how long feather earrings looked better than the kid stuff I was wearing… Prissy changed my life. She made me aware of fun, modern things, she helped me be cool and girly when I did not know how.


All of that is why when we reconnected on here and I saw her gorgeous daughters I realized she did that for them too. She’s a spitfire and I am pretty sure no one should cross her 😉 and I am so lucky to have had her in my youth.

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(the family I knew, and beautiful Priscilla and her daughters now)

I am not speaking out of turn when I say that Hobbs, New Mexico in the nineties was filled with some of the most inspiring, loving, mind-blowing teachers that a public school system could have. I’m also not speaking out of turn when I say that if you had Mr. Sam Nichols, he was one of your favorites. Sam taught high school science. I had him for Human Anatomy and Physiology my Junior Year. He looked just like Dr. Green on ER (which also means he looks like Goose!), and was equally as endearing, as tempered, and engaging. I have to speak to the things that gripped my 16 year old brain and never left, of course – like our fruit fly DNA experiment showing how creatures evolve and how scientists can “see” DNA through gel electrophoresis, the live birth video which ensured I did not get pregnant until I was 34 (seriously, thank you Sam hahaha), the MTV experiment where we learned that the human brain retains images even when they are flashed at rapid speed- how rods and cones record and send all that stuff in there – how it can change what you think is real, the idea that deja vu may be triggered by similarity pushing your moment over an already created neuro-pathway, that in all the science and all the systems, there is something deeper. That humans start out as good little lumps of cells, and we have a million ways to be shaped and shape our own lives. Sam taught science as common sense, not as something reserved for an elite group – observe and question, test, fail, test again, hypothesize, prove, question, test….the cycle of learning that keeps us curious and discovering, keeping us the explorers that our ancestry ingrained in us. We all come from people who made it through lots and lots of stuff.

Sam went on to be a biology professor at the local college before retiring. He adopted a guard cat named Migs. He kept the title of explorer and has traveled extensively around the world seeing what makes us all tick. He has amazing stories of places and love and loss, of music (his concert T-shirt collection kicks ALL of your concert T-shirt collection’s ass), how the universe moves us all and why.

I have the very surreal and lucky honor of being Sam’s friend now. Not just former student. Not just “click like” on a photo…we are friends who share experiences and thoughts with one another. Seeing a former teacher as a person with a complete sphere of life around them is one of those cool things about “adulting.” He is a private person (and so you only get a photo of Green for reference hahaha), he is someone who deeply cares about individuals, and treats people with genuine respect and kindness.
Get back to Zermatt, Sam, keep traveling, and know that every one of your former students is a better adapted person to their world because of you.

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What is more throw back on this ‪#‎tbt‬ than Homecoming? And what is more fun than the parades, the bands, the giant mums if you’re from the Southwest, the football game and –
the Queen?!
Everybody run. The Homecoming Queen’s Gotta Gun…
Songs have been written about that wonderful phenomenon known as Homecoming Queen. Our’s was Melissa Dooley.

I originally met Melissa when we both started at Highland Jr. High. We had several classes together over the years, and ran in different circles, and even went to NMSU together. She was always undeniably wonderful to me. Specifically she was SO encouraging… She told me I should run for Student Council (and I did, and I won). She told me to try out for cheerleader (and I didn’t …and thank god I spared myself that embarrassment)… In some weird “Tai to her Cher in Clueless” move, she BELIEVED in me -and you guys, I was an awkward mess for a large chunk of 7th-10th. I think Melissa believed in everyone. It’s no wonder she went on to become a teacher – and now the MOST amazing mom to two little cuties. She has this unwavering belief that you can be more than what you are. And she. is. HILARIOUS. Which I did not know fully until she and I traded baby and birth stories behind the scenes. Her tell-it-like-it-is approach helped me through the worst of the worst post C-section. Her sense of humor has to have played a part in her own AMAZING and very difficult pregnancies that she handled with unbelievable grace and spirit. And it for SURE played a part as she may or may not have attended NKOTB concerts as an adult….. (she totally did). She is all about family, fun, giving back, caring about those around her, and keeping it really really real. What more could you want in a Queen?  So from Hobbs Royalty to her beautiful home/husband/kids and beagle, I am so proud to call Melissa my friend.

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She may kill me but here is yearbook proof – with super cutie Brandon Harper… 

homecoming

and then proof that she literally has not aged a day – the Melissa 2.0 upgrade with super cutie Troy Aikman.  😀

melissa

Robin Behl​ is too big to fit into this font. She is too big to be explained. She is too big to be “summed up” in my little project. She’s a tea kettle, so much is packed into that tiny frame, heated up and bursting forth into life. I’ll just try to harness a little bit of the whistle.
We met in Hobbs. I have her prom picture she handed to me in 1994 at my graduation, – she a Sophomore who was going to miss me. We had no idea we would become lifelong friends. And then we were friends at New Mexico State. Then I went to her wedding where she was whisked away on a Mesilla Valley Fire Department engine with what became her true marriage when the first dissolved – a family of men she fought fires with, a family of men she grieved with upon losing one of her own, her family of heroes. And she became an EMT. And she saved lives and told me to stop smoking. And then she jumped in a little car named Frankie and drove all over North America. Then she stayed in a little ice hut in Greenland. She became a Physician’s Assistant. And she saved more lives, and she worked in cardiology, and she was just brought on to Columbia Med Cardiology Department in New York City.   Little Robin Behl with the magnanimous giant heart, healing hearts.
She is a nature lover. She is an adventurer. An explorer. Strength beyond her body, world-view beyond her sight.
She is the most expressive mover. She is a dancer. She is an artist. She is a human poem.
I cannot say enough about my friend Robin, because she is too much for this. And there is so much more that will need to be written and added as her fluid movement never stops.
If you are lucky enough to also have her as a friend in your life, you know.  Tiny little Robin is as big as the towering skyscrapers she dances between.  behl

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Douglas Webb Doug and I met playing trumpet together as Hobbs Eagles. He became one of my closest friends – we all spent a lot of nights at the North 40, or the track, or Sonic, or the movie theater…summers in the parks on swing sets trying to smoke Swisher Sweets. We’d play Trivial Pursuit at my house, watch MST3K at Shannon’s, pick up Alma and Thera and Oscar and cruise out to look at that glowing tombstone in Monument. He drove a little sports car that I will never forget the look of but cannot think of the name! We called him Dougie, Doogie, Dougie Fresh…he was so bright and focused.
We all moved along into “adult life” and I went away to NMSU. Doug worked at the Correctional Facility in Hobbs where he met the love of his life – thankfully it was his now wife and not an inmate. 😀
I lost touch with him for a while…learned that he joined the Army, and by the time I found him on Facebook he was deep in Afghanistan with Thelma holding home base at the frozen tundra of Fort Drum. Thankfully, Doug is back home, retired from a life of defending all of us, and a true Southern Gentleman as he always has been. He came back with a solid head on his shoulders because he was born with a solid head on his shoulders, he is surrounded by strong men and women and is what anyone would want in a son (I know your family is so proud of you!). He’s the guy that kisses his mamma and takes his beautiful lady country dancing.
And even with all the guns you own, I still love you enough to put up this picture of us, on our incredibly fun road trip to the Horde Festival in 1996 – at a roadside stop in Cloudcroft. Always the one in the white hat 😉

doug
And I’m serious…about any zombie attacks or world order shit…I’m coming back to NM- and I’ll call on you for defense initiatives while I rewrite our nation’s documents by memory.

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Have you found that person yet – you know the one – from grade school that just vanished one year?  And everyone asked what ever happened to so and so?  And then you see them miraculously appear on Facebook and you say Holy Hotness Batman because they grew up to be a cowboy straight out of a Sandy Bullock/Reese Witherspoon RomCom?     NO?   Well then you didn’t go to elementary school with Stacy Shepherd, did you?!  Look at this!  stacy

Amiright ladies?

Well it turns out Ol Stacy got himself a nice little slice a heaven in the desert of Arizona (I do not know why I went full Western narration so I’ll stop).    Here is the deal.  I met Stacy in Mrs. Stewart’s 5th grade class.  We went on to spend 6th grade in Mr. Buck Walker’s class (The OG…the man the myth the legend that inspired Stacy to be the kind of guy that tips his hat and opens doors)   – this is Stacy with Mr. Walker, as he sat in my memory for the good part of 25 years –

stacy3

Isn’t he a cutie?  That tie…the smile…  and…Stacy wasn’t too bad either.  😉  Every single girl had a crush on him.  He was funny, warm, inviting, and for me personally he was memorable and kind.   My hair and I had a pretty rough go of it for 6th and 7th grade.  I mean…really I was beyond awkward.  Tall, a perm that should not have happened, the fashion sense of …well no one sensible, it was the Wonder Years for me.  The Paul Wonder Years.   I still do not allow pictures from that time to be released from the vault.  Stacy carried my books for me one particularly rough day in 6th grade, because he obviously has a momma who taught him how to be decent.  He sat next to me in Mrs. Cearly’s 7th grade Life Skills class and we would joke about things, he’d fill me in on Horror films I didn’t watch, he would do his Woody Woodpecker impersonation.  He never once made me feel as dorked out as I looked (haha).  He never once treated me like I was different.  That made a big impression on me – and it was a sad sad day when we arrived after the summer to an 8th grade with no Shepherd.

Time marches on, and here we are – Stacy now a business owner for over a decade and I met him just in time for quite a life change leap.  He is a Team Roper (that means he is one of the guys on a big Quarter with cow sense fah dayyysss and he lassos and/or ties a steer), and has decided to go Pro and start a ministry along with it (I think you should call it HOLY COW but… your idea is probably better).  stacy2

He is centered, focused, traditional.  I asked him to tell me a little about his past and he said “I’ve been in love” which was like AWWWWEEE because it takes a special person to note that as a marker in their life.  Stacy is special.  I think back to him making my time on the blue marble easier, and I can see that he has honed those gifts and makes a lot of people feel that same way today.

All of life’s blessings to you, Stacy!  The universe is about to release the gate…

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Todd J Davis and I met the way people do when on summer break from college in the southwest –

At the Hobbs Walmart!

(said with full twang)
He was standing behind me in line, I think it was the summer of 95 or 96 and I recognized his uncanny glow of ginger-fabuloso immediately. I’d seen him walking the NMSU campus – what on Earth was he doing at the Hobbs Walmart? Well, I asked him, he answered (he was from Lovington, and Lovington people, when in need of doing something, go to the Hobbs Walmart…or the Hobbs movie theater.)
We became fast friends. Todd is an instantly likable and sweet soul. He is dashing, SUPAH BUFF (he works out, like hard you guys), and I do not think he has been sans beard or some play on facial hair since I met him (remember your jet black hair?! You were so cool, Todd!!! You are so cool Todd!)

todd
Todd went on to work for Disney (if I remember you first went to cruise ships and then settled in Orlando!) which is perfect because if there is a magical kingdom it is the hilarity and mind of Mr. Davis. He documented a trip home to Lea County once and I cry-laughed at his church selfies – his dinosaur cowboy museum breakdown… I also cry laughed at his on point facial photo-shopping into every horror movie ever for the month of October.

todd2
Todd and I haven’t seen each other since the 90’s, and I stalk him on Facebook when I need a lift to my day.
He has a little boxer girl furbaby, a brightly painted killa home, his hair stands tall, red and proud, and his eyes smile even when his mouth doesn’t. I’m super happy to know you, I’m super happy we met at that there Walmart, and I’m super happy to see you so happy in your life. SO MANY HAPPYS, I’m out!
Love hugs and all the goods!

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