Janie and I met in Red River, New Mexico, in July of 1962. She was a tourist teenager from Tulsa. I was the son/grandson of business owners (“summers only” at the time) and part of a network of town boys who kept each other informed regarding the arrival of comely lasses from Oklahoma and Texas (states which, in our estimation, comprised the entire observable universe)…and any relevant details such as the demeanor of their parents and the size and potential combativeness of any big brothers.
Despite the fact that September found me back in school in Nashville, Tennessee and she went back to Tulsa, our summer romance (duration: 4 days) stuck. She actually responded to my letters. Every time. Two years later, by sheer coincidence (or as my evangelical buddies remind me, “divine intervention”) Janie’s Dad was transferred to Nashville during our senior year of high school. We parted ways for college; she went off to the University of Kentucky and became a sorority girl and a talented academician. I went to West Point where my most significant distinction was surviving. We got married the day after I graduated. She had kept responding to my letters!
In our 40+ years of marriage we’ve moved almost 20 times. For both of us, Red River has been one of the most significant anchors of our lives.
From This Valley
by Mike Taylor
Published: December 11, 2012.
These essays are mostly a backward look at my teen years in the 60’s in Red River, New Mexico, working for my folks and grandfolks (Taylors, Carnetts, and Grindstaffs) when we owned the Red River Laundry, the Green Mountain Lodge, and Patrick’s Sport Shop. The hope is to pass along the fun and joy I had of knowing this valley, its people and visitors for more than six decades now.
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