Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Short Notice BBQ In Southwestern NM

This interesting remembrance came in today from Tom Mobley...

The short notice for the BBQ and Steve’s story in The Westerner this morning about his 1967 pack trip in the Gila reminded me of another short notice BBQ—of sorts.

1966 was the 50th anniversary year of the Farm Credit System. I was manager of the Federal Land Bank Association here in Las Cruces and Dick Jewkes managed the Production Credit Association. Our service areas were Hidalgo, Grant, Luna, Sierra, Otero, and Dona Ana Counties. That was back in the days before the two entities were combined for operating purposes. Though separate entities with individual boards, PCA and FLBA actually came under the control of a district board of directors headquartered in Wichita, Kansas. Sherwood Culberson from Hidalgo County was a member of the district board.

In the summer of 1966 the district board scheduled a meeting in Las Cruces which was to include a tour of the lending area so the district directors could become more familiar with the distinctions between southwestern New Mexico and the rest of the District, namely Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Sherwood, Dick and I were charged with arranging tours representative of agriculture in the six counties.  It was a big deal and we wanted to do it right.

For the first tour, the buses would leave Las Cruces in time to tour the farms north of Las Cruces and Hatch, then go over the Black Range to view the ranching country of Sierra, Grant, and part of Hidalgo.  Lunch was scheduled at the Black Range Hotel in Kingston. After breakfast in Las Cruces we telephoned the hotel to confirm everything was okay. No answer and none on repeated calls. Sherwood decided to call Jimmy Bason and ask him to drive up to Kingston and make sure there was no problem. After a while, not really long enough to drive to Kingston and return, Jimmy called back. He said everything was a go and to come on.

As we approached the Bason Ranch headquarters on the highway between Hillsboro and Kingston, the lead bus started to slow down and we could see someone waving their arms in the middle of the highway. It was Jimmy, directing the buses to drive up to his headquarters. Turned out the Black Range Hotel went out of business two weeks before our scheduled lunch. Jimmy knew that when Sherwood called, but he needed a little to time to talk to Sue and call a few neighbors, including Mary Jane Nunn. That stop and the lunch turned out to be the highlight of the entire three days of touring. The folks from the Midwest became so engaged in talking with our hosts that we barely got them back on the buses to go on with the tour. It wasn’t a BBQ, but you can be sure there was beef, beans, potatoes, greens, and cobbler.

So, Steve, if the caterer lets you down, you know how to get it done. Just let us know.

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