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The present library and the bank drive-through were shut down for safety reasons. People dressed up for a party came in droves, packing the streets and sidewalks, setting up their umbrellas, camp chairs and tripods. People lined both sides of the highway from the railroad tracks all the way to Richardson and stood on the roof of the First American Bank, all waiting. It was a hot day, but they stayed, occasionally walking to McDonalds to get a cold drink or a snack and take another picture with their cameras and cell phones from a different angle. Across the street from the library, Lois Oliver Real Estate invited people in to have a bite to eat, something to drink and the chance to cool off. Artesia had thrown a welcome party. People had started gathering the day before to watch the roof come off, applauding when it happened. for the new space to be built, waiting until August 29th, 2013.

CROSSING THE PECOS At last it was time—there was one more loading and unloading, one more river to cross. This time it was the Pecos River, a New Mexico river, and Mr. Hurd’s mural would be home. Moving took basically the same, precise, time-consuming steps that had been used before, but the trip

from Midland to Artesia had its own challenges. The forecast of rain delayed the move by a day. The diverting of our law enforcement escort stopped us in Eunice overnight. The next morning there were detours onto dirt streets with mammoth potholes. We traveled the potash roads west of Andrews toward Artesia, where we were held up again for almost two hours. A truck just in front of us had high-centered, dumping gravel onto the highway. We got to Artesia by 1:00 p.m., only a little later than the train that passes through about that time.

It was a historic trip. It was a trip that Mr. Hurd could have been predicting for his mural even before he painted it, spanning the Gulf Coast plains across the prairie and central plains to West Texas and into New Mexico. Driving so far, for so long, even with two other people in the car, there were times when the conversation lulled, sputtered, came to a complete halt. Sometimes the only sounds were

FALL 2013 | A COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

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Focus on Artesia Fall 2013