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Piecing a living together — hometown boys

Have you noticed? Summer is here and work is picking up again. The winters are long and lean, but come summer, jobs start happening and money starts moving.

With two or three jobs the people of Pagosa piece a living together. They work here for two days and there for two days and still look for work. They are not lazy. In fact they work hard and will do about anything to keep food on the table. It’s all the price of making it one more year in Pagosa.

What keeps people in Pagosa? The hometown boys know it best. I believe one of our grandsons will always be one of those boys. He said he would never leave Pagosa. He might get as far away as Fort Lewis College in Durango, but he will always come home. He has found something others look for their whole life. He is planted in the rich soil of Pagosa and one day he too will try to dig out a living.

He shot his first turkey this spring, got his first job and learned to drive on the backcountry roads. He has been included in all the sports in the high school. He skis Wolf Creek, soaks in the hot springs, rafts in the river and eats green chile burgers at Dorothy’s.

What more could a 16-year-old boy want?

Maybe it’s an opportunity to play in the softball summer league with his dad, which he is doing. I don’t know who is more proud, him or his dad. Even in their cutoff sleeveless cowboy shirt known as their “uniforms,” they are a team and play their hearts out.

Week nights, after a hard day’s work in the hot sun, a bunch of scruffy, overweight big boys get together and act like kids again. Their wives with a passel of kids, girlfriends in their short shorts and flipflops sit in the bleachers and cheer on their heroes, the hometown boys of Pagosa.

Some sit on the back hill with the tailgate down looking at the games while the players squint and fight the sun in their eyes, but it is all part of being a local, being from Pagosa.

Fourth of July is the biggest event of the year. Each year everyone packs in for the Fourth of July parade. There are those we see every year but some we missed this year. I missed seeing Arsenia walk by. She was very special to me. But this is also part of our little town, the people we love come and go and we have to let them go.

There are always a couple of tailgate parties before the fireworks at the high school. Whoever is cooking hotdogs and hamburgers invite strangers walking by to join them. As much as everyone struggles to put food on the table, they always have enough to share with their neighbors. Pagosa is a generous people.

We have had several groups of guests this year. They are all appreciative and envious of what we have. We cover up the holes in our shoes, buy an outfit or two from the thrift store and spiff up for summer guests. We pray our vehicles will make it one more year on these rough roads.

The traffic increases and we don’t like it, but we know it is part of the money flowing in Pagosa. We secretly yearn for the slow pace of winter again, even if it is shoveling snow off of rooftops just to piece a living together.

So what is it that keeps hometown boys home?

I think it is a sense of well being and belonging. Money isn’t everything and cannot buy what we have in our little town. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: “I love the people of Pagosa, they are unpretentious and they let us be real.”

Final brushstroke: For some of us, Pagosa is our vineyard. We have been planted where only we can bloom. Root us up and we will die.

Artist’s quote

“The difference between extraordinary people and ordinary people is as simple as the difference between the two words. Extraordinary people are committed to doing the extra things that ordinary people won’t.” — Christine Kinney.

Readers comments

Dear Betty:

I read your article on Rogaine. I’m glad I didn’t buy him Viagra, you would have written about it.


Albuquerque, N.M.


After reading about Rogaine, I want to say, “Al is a saint.”



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See my work on and read other articles from the Artist’s Lane on Coming shortly, “The Mysterious Life of Mary Magdalene.”

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