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A cookie is a quick fix–– eat it and you have nothing

My daughter called and said, “I got this Chinese proverb out of my fortune cookie and I thought it would make for a great article.”

She read it to me and we both laughed. I told her it was so funny and I’d have to think about it.

“Hungry is the man whose salvation is in a cookie.” I am sure whoever wrote this didn’t write it to be funny but to unearth a deep hidden message.

What’s the message?

I went to Al to keep it on the lighter side.

His response? “If your salvation is in a cookie and you eat it, you have nothing. You’ll be hungry again.” Pretty simple!

That covers it, but of course I had to give my two cents.

So I searched the archives of my mind for a story. There had to be a story about hunger and survival. This story has nothing to do with art but it sure has a lot to do with life.

Pagosa almost did us in. Like many families, we came to Pagosa in the late ’70s. Al wanted to hunt and I wanted to paint, a perfect place for both. We wanted a second home to enjoy the mountains and leave the city’s heat. We eventually moved here full time.

Financially, we were doing well in Arizona. We had everything money could buy. We drove a new gold Cadillac with my prestige plate that read BJS on the bumper. We drove up to church with our four little children and our bumper hung over the sidewalk for everyone to see. We thought we were doing God a favor by showing up, I am sure God was glad to see us at church.

We left the brass ring in Arizona. We were going for the better life and all that the country could give a growing family. We had no idea where this was taking us.

There were few homes on the Downer Blanco; we had no phone for two years. To communicate with friends, I sent a message with the kids on the school bus and they gave it to their friends to give to their mothers.

Several of our good friends divorced and left the area in separate cars. I always felt that Pagosa brought the best out of a person and the worst. For our family, we continued to hold on. It made no sense. It was almost impossible to make a living in Pagosa during those years. One by one all those golden idols were pulled out of our hands, including our gold Cadillac. The country roads literally beat our gold Cadillac to death. The car went to the repair shop but the bill was too much to redeem it. We left it and it went out of town the following month crushed on a big semi truck.

The winters of our lives! They were hard years. A pot belly wood stove was the only means of heat and it had to be fed continuously. The water in the commodes was frozen every morning and the well continued to freeze. The kids walked two miles to the highway to catch the school bus. Al ended up having a nervous break down and I took care of four teenagers. All this happened in Pagosa, the land of our dreams.

The kids worked at The Hub, which many of you remember, and they took care of their own expenses. They learned to work and we became better for all we went through together. But good things were going on in the midst of all the trials. We learned family values and Who we had to trust in for survival. There was no one else we could trust in, everything else slipped out of our fingers.

Let’s just say, by the time Pagosa got through with us, we were driving a ’64 Falcon with the back window broken out by a fallen cottonwood. We taped it up with clear plastic and drove it that way.

Al found work in Albuquerque and after a year of driving back and forth, fixing every thing on the weekend, we were forced to move there for a few years. We drove our Falcon Ford with the taped window and I am sure that the city folk thought a bunch of hillbillies had just moved into the neighborhood. Believe it or not, someone stole that car from us. I guess they saw it as a classic and would be glad to replace the back window or just it as parts.

This year, the winter months have been hard on most. We have survived some hard times in Pagosa and others have too. Just remember there is no shame in being in that place. We look back and reminisce and have some great stories to tell. Our children learned how to provide for themselves and they are all healthy productive adults.

I don’t know if we could have learned any other way but by life in Pagosa. We are indeed grateful for this little town in the mountains. My painting has thrived and Al gets to hunt. It has brought the best out of us. We love Pagosa and we don’t belong anywhere else.

We wanted a cookie but we got substance. Your salvation is more than just a “cookie.” A cookie will not fulfill your inner needs.

The final brushstroke: The lesson we learned is this, if we put our salvation in a cookie we will always be hungry.

Readers’ comments

Dear Betty:

Hi, Betty, More fading glory, I want you to know I have been learning from your writing. I need to write too. It is screaming within me and I can’t find time to ease it out, as if I opened the door full wide it might all fly away from me. But if I let things come through the hole a bit at a time ... well, you know.  You say it better than I can.

I’ll pass this on to my dear daughter, my Robin, who is 30, and now divorced. She needs to hear this from you, another mother, as I cannot express it as well as you.  Thanks for being another voice in the wilderness of becoming mature in Christ. Love with much gratitude.




Re: Unimportance is freeing!

 ”Who you are when you’re alone is who you really are.” I’ll share a personal story simply for consideration. In our home there is only myself and my husband and this small story is about us and our importance.

 Importance has a value! However that value has to be estimated by something or someone. Any day in our home is of great importance because we are important. Why do I say this? Well for instance, when we are having company over we want to make things really special. (right!)  So daily at our home when preparing to sit down to eat together, I bring out the pretty dishes, small containers for jelly, etc. My husband always asks, “Who is coming to eat?” And I answer, “Some very important persons.” He asks “who?” And I say, “Us two!”

 Why are we important? It’s because we value each others presence. We are not eating together because we have to, but simply because we are free to do so.  

 So, Betty Slade ... you’re not important because you think you are not important or others say or think you are. Your importance is when you know who you are and therefore free!  We hear and listen to so many voices and we forget to focus on being and when we focus on being then we are!! I do not know about anyone else. But this I do know, I am Important simply because I am me!

 Created in His Image and crowned with His glory. Therefore we are important !

 Keep on doing what you’re doing .You are important.


Clovis, N.M.

Artist’s Quote

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” — James Allen.