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2016

FOCUS ON CARLSBAD • FOCUS ON ARTESIA • FOCUS ON ROSWELL • FOCUS ON LEA COUNTY • FOCUS ON LINCOLN COUNTY


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WHAT’S INSIDE?

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS CALENDAR OF EVENTS

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ALL ABOARD! A NEW ROSWELL HOLIDAY TRADITION

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HOLIDAY COOKING WITH A DASH OF DIVINE INSPIRATION

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CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD

23 28

YOU GET A BIKE & YOU GET A BIKE!

30

LIVE NATIVITY: THE STORY THAT NEVER CHANGES

35

CHRISTMAS IS A TIME FOR MUSIC

42

15 YEARS AND COUNTING: RUIDOSO’S FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS CONTINUES TO DAZZLE

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CHRISTMAS WITH FAMILY

52 58

RINGING THE BELLS: MAKING CHRISTMAS

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HOLIDAY TRIVIA

CHRISTMAS AT THE PARKS

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Focus on the Holidays Regional Special Edition 2016 Lajuana Martinez, Publisher Kyle Marksteiner, Editor • Leroy Smith, Editor • Staci Guy, Editor Rachel Hughes, Kristy Crockett & Adrian Martinez, Advertising Photography by Special Contributors & Submitted Special Contributors: Beverly Kodesh, Lajuana Martinez, Adrian Martinez Jamie McKinney, Cindi Davis, Leah LM Wingert, Gina Kelley & Alyx Duncan FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS 2016 IS PUBLISHED BY AD VENTURE MARKETING

Ad Venture Marketing, Ltd. Co. • 866.207.0821 • ad-venturemarketing.com All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission of the publisher is prohibited. Every effort was made to ensure accuracy of the information provided. The publisher assumes no responsibility or liability for errors, changes or omissions.

2016 | FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS

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what’s inside?

by Kyle Marksteiner

nce upon a time, we were all in this together. By we, I mean the whole of Southeastern New Mexico. Even just a century ago, most of this area was all just one big rangeland. The cowboys and ranchers battled each other for turf while fighting off bandits. It was a rough area and, collectively, we set the tone for a whole bunch of Westerns. For example, we learned from 1999’s “Wild Wild West” that we need Will Smith’s help to fight off giant steampunk spiders. That’s probably a bad example. Over time, we, the communities of the area, went our separate ways. We settled down a little bit and worked out our rivalries on the football field and basketball court, for the most part. We became Carlsbad and Artesia, Roswell and Lincoln County, Hobbs and Lovington. We did our own thing. It would take an act of God to bring us all together, right? How about Christmas? That’s about as good as you can get. And so, welcome to a very special, commemorative, crossover, holiday edition of Focus Magazine!

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

For those of you who are new to what we do, we are a quarterly magazine that began with Focus on Carlsbad in 2007. Focus on Artesia began in 2013 and Focus on Lea County started the following year. Focus on Roswell came in 2015 and we’re proud to say that Focus on Lincoln County is getting off the ground. You can learn all about us at FocusNM.com. Today Southeastern New Mexico, tomorrow the world!

{ L ET ’S L O O K I N S I DE } Starting with our newest edition in Lincoln County, Leroy Smith introduces us to the legend of San Pasqual and zeroes in on Ruidoso’s Festival of Lights. Moving over to Roswell, Staci Guy introduces a brand new holiday tradition and Jamie McKinney celebrates Christmas with family. Moving east to Lea County, I take a look at an event that celebrates Christmas traditions around the world, while Leah

Wingert focuses on the Salvation Army. Over in Artesia, Beverly Kodesh covers the Ride for Bikes program while Staci Guy visits one Artesia church’s special Christmas celebration. I interview a number of our local musicians in Carlsbad, and last, but certainly not least, talk about some of the special holiday programs available at our local state and national parks. Of course, these are only a few of the Christmas traditions and activities unique to southeastern New Mexico, so check out our events calendar for a more complete list. Along the way, we have recipes – of the passed down from generation to generation variety – and a few of our own special Christmas memories. We’ll be back to our normal communityspecific magazines in the spring, but please enjoy this special edition and have a very merry Christmas!

FOCUSNM.COM


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2016 NOVEMBER 11-13

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Roswell Community Little Theatre 1717 S. Union Ave, Roswell, NM 575-622-1982, 7:30-9:30pm

NOVEMBER 11-13

Christmas Jubilee Ruidoso Convention Center Fri. Noon-6, Sat. 10am-6pm & Sun. 11am-4pm, $2 admission

NOVEMBER 15

Christmas Joy Holiday Showcase Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St. Session 1, 1:30pm; Session 2, 6:30pm, For more info call (575) 623-3210

NOVEMBER 18

Carlsbad Community Theatre “Blazing Guns at Roaring Gulch” National Parks Highway, 7:30pm $15 for adults, $7 for students

NOVEMBER 18

Holly-Day Magic Art & Craft Show Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St., All Day

NOVEMBER 19

Carlsbad Community Theatre “Blazing Guns at Roaring Gulch” National Parks Highway, 7:30pm $15 for adults, $7 for students

NOVEMBER 19

Holly-Day Magic Art & Craft Show Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St., All Day

NOVEMBER 24

Opening Day: Ski Apache (tentative) 1286 Ski Run Rd, Alto, 9am-5pm

NOVEMBER 24

Opening Day: Ruidoso Winter Park Tubing and Family Fun 1200 Ski Run Rd, Ruidoso, NM 88345 9am-5pm (open until 8pm on certain nights)

NOVEMBER 24

Llano Estacado Arts Association Christmas Art Gallery Broadmoor Mall, 1401 N Turner

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NOVEMBER 25

Horse-drawn sleigh rides through downtown Ruidoso begin 101 Vision Drive, Ruidoso, NM check website for times $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under

NOVEMBER 25

Opening Day: Christmas on the Pecos Pecos River Village , 711 Muscatel Check website for times www.christmasonthepecos.com

NOVEMBER 25

Llano Estacado Arts Association Christmas Art Gallery Broadmoor Mall, 1401 N. Turner NOVEMBER 25-26 Christmas Fantasy Arts & Crafts Fair Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St., 10am- 5pm, 9am-4pm

DECEMBER 1

Christmas in the Park Schoolhouse Park, 6pm, Free

DECEMBER 1

Business After Hours Holiday Party Hurd-La Rinconada Gallery (Patricio, NM), 5-7pm, Free

DECEMBER 1

Christmas Tradions Around The World, Western Heritage Museum, 1 Thunderbird Circle, 6:30-9pm

Winter Wine Festival Pecos River Village Conference Center, 6-9pm and Noon to 6pm

DECEMBER 2-4

Holiday Bells Concert Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park - Visitor’s Center, 11am

Electric Light Parade Halagueno Arts Park & Downtown 4pm vendors, 7pm parade “Christmas with a Silver Flare”

DECEMBER 3

NOVEMBER 25-27

Festival of Lights Parade Midtown Ruidoso, 5:30pm

NOVEMBER 29

Carlsbad Wind Sympony Carlsbad Museum & Art Center 7:30pm, Canned Good Donation

DECEMBER 1

Light Up Artesia 5-8pm, Begins with a parade, then pictures with Santa, Main Street vendors will offer late-night shopping.

FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

Electric Light Parade / Cookies & Cocoa with Santa Downtown Lovington

DECEMBER 8-11

DECEMBER 8-10

DECEMBER 3

Roswell Christmas Railway Roswell Zoo, 5pm-9pm (last train leaves at 8:30pm) Check website for more info: RoswellChristmasRailway.com

DECEMBER 8

DECEMBER 2-3

First Friday Downtown Market Downtwon Roswell, 5-8pm

NOVEMBER 26 NOVEMBER 26

All Saints Christmas Pageant Assumption Catholic Church, 2808 North Kentucky Ave., TBD allsaintsroswell.com

DECEMBER 2

Small Business Saturday/ Shop Small for the Holidays, Downtown Carlsbad 2-9pm “One Stop Shop” downtown Small Business Saturday/ Shop Small for the Holidays

DECEMBER 6

Twas The Fight Before Christmas Hobbs Community Playhouse, 1700 N. Grimes, 8-10pm nightly except December 11, 2-4pm

Roswell Christmas Railway Roswell Zoo, 5-9pm (last train leaves at 8:30pm) Check website for more info: RoswellChristmasRailway.com

NOVEMBER 26

Calendar of Events

Electric Light Parade Downtown Roswell, 6pm

DECEMBER 3

Journey to Bethlehem Paradise Ranch Church, 74 Pueblo Rd Every 15 minutes from 6pm, Free, but RSVP needed to (575) 200-5665

DECEMBER 9-11

Roswell Christmas Railway Roswell Zoo, 5-9pm (last train leaves at 8:30pm) Check website for more info: RoswellChristmasRailway.com

DECEMBER 9-10

Rock of Ages/Historical Tour Carlsbad Caverns National Park 5:30-7:30pm, $10 RSVP to (575) 785-2232

DECEMBER 9-11

Singing Christmas Tree Taylor Memorial Baptist 1700 E. Yeso Dr., 6:30pm

DECEMBER 3

DECEMBER 10-11

DECEMBER 5

DECEMBER 10

SENM Historical Society “Creation Stories” Carlsbad Library Annex, 7pm, Free

Christmas with the Animals Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park, Visitor’s Center, 1-3pm

DECEMBER 6

DECEMBER 10

Open Mic Night Center for the Arts 122 W. Broadway, 6-8pm

Holiday Choir Concert PR Leyva Auditorium, 7pm Donations welcome

A Carlsbad Christmas Concert First Baptist Church, 112 N. Alameda St., 7pm, Free

Christmas at the Center IV Center for the Arts, 122 W. Broadway 6-8pm

FOCUSNM.COM


DATE COLOR CODE INDICATES EVENT LOCATION CARLSBAD AREA DECEMBER 16-17

Rock of Ages/Historical Tour Carlsbad Caverns National Park 5:30-7:30pm, $10, RSVP to (575) 785-2232

DECEMBER 17

Branson On The Road Ocotillo Performaing Arts Center 2pm & 7pm

DECEMBER 17

Roswell Christmas Railway Roswell Zoo, 5-9pm (last train leaves at 8:30pm) Check website for more info: RoswellChristmasRailway.com

DECEMBER 17-18

ARTESIA AREA

LEA CO. AREA

DECEMBER 28-30

JANUARY 12

DECEMBER 30

JANUARY 13-15

Hobbs Holiday Basketball Tournament Tasker Arena/ Hobbs High School Family New Year’s Eve Celebration Ocotillo Performaing Arts Center, 7pm - Fun Family Event!

DECEMBER 31

Final Day: Christmas on the Pecos Pecos River Village , 711 Muscatel Ave., Check website for times christmasonthepecos.com

2017

Ruidoso Dance Ensemble: “The Nutcracker”, Spencer Theater, 108 Spencer Drive, Alto

JANUARY 1-2 Cowboy Junction Church 10:00am & 11:30am

DECEMBER 18

JANUARY 6

Live Nativity, First United Methodist Church, 500 W. Grand Ave., 6:30pm

DECEMBER 18-23

Roswell Christmas Railway Roswell Zoo, 5pm-9pm (last train leaves at 8:30pm) Check website for more info: RoswellChristmasRailway.com

ROSWELL AREA

Travis Tritt Live in Concert Lea County Event Center, 6pm Roswell Community Little Theatre “Paradise Lost and Found” 1717 S Union Ave, Roswell (575) 622-1982, 7:30-9:30pm

JANUARY 14

NMJC Faculty & Student Art Show Center for the Arts, 122 W. Broadway 5-7pm

RUIDOSO AREA

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First Friday Downtown Market Downtwon Roswell, 5-8pm

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DECEMBER 20

Polar Express Ocotillo Performaing Arts Center 11am-1pm, Movie, Pajamas, Hot Chocolate, and Santa Claus!

DECEMBER 22

Asleep at the Wheel: “Merry Christmas, Y’all!” Spencer Theater, 108 Spencer Drive, Alto

DECEMBER 23

Christmas Eve Eve Service featuring Chris August, Tydings Auditorum Hobbs High School, 6:30pm

DECEMBER 24

Final Day: Roswell Christmas Railway, Roswell Zoo, 5-9pm (last train leaves at 8:30pm), Check website RoswellChristmasRailway.com

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Annual Artesia Events Main Event Car Show & Cruise

Smokin’ on the Pecos BBQ Championship

Fourth of July Celebration

Last Weekend in March

July 4th

Last Weekend in June

Red Dirt Black Gold Festival

Last Weekend in August

Clays Crusher Fun Shoot

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Balloons & Tunes

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Third Weekend in October

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All Aboard!

A New Roswell Holiday Tradition

by Staci Guy | FO CUS O N RO S W E LL C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R & E D I TO R

F

or the past couple of years, Jacob Roebuck and his wife, Laura, would load up their children and make the hour and a half drive to Carlsbad to experience Christmas magic and create lasting memories for their family to cherish. Christmas on the Pecos was the closest thing to Roswell the Roebuck family could find when it came to experiencing holiday magic. With a Christmas village and a boat ride down the Pecos River to view Christmas lights, it’s a tradition that many people in Southeastern New Mexico have come to love. “It’s a neat event, but I thought, ‘We need something in Roswell that we can do as a family for the holidays, especially Christmas’.” An independent filmmaker by profession, Roebuck, a California native, and Laura, a Roswell native, moved to Roswell five years ago after starting their family together. After spending a couple of years in the Land of Enchantment and adding three new Roebucks to the clan, they decided they “probably weren’t going anywhere any time soon;” and so

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began their quest to try and figure out ways to improve and give back to their community. He was certain he could put his creative energies to use and come up with something just as magical as Christmas on the Pecos

train as the cornerstone of a Christmas experience, we can do something really cool out here.” With nothing more than an idea in tow, he went to Mayor Dennis Kintigh, who put him in contact with the folks at the parks and recreation department. “They were super excited about the idea and jumped on board,” he expressed. “They have done a lot of work preparing the area at the zoo for a seasonal attraction.” The process of putting the large-scale event together, he explained, is similar to making a film. “You basically start with getting a group of creative people, then you raise money and put the event together.”

a little closer to home. “One day we were riding the train out at the zoo and I realized it’s a great train but it doesn’t really take you to do anything,” he explained. “The train was the platform. I thought, ‘If we can use this

Together with his creative posse and the dedicated personnel from the parks and rec department, they sat down and looked at the property from a practical standpoint. “Using the train as a cornerstone of the experience, we decided it would be really cool if, rather than just riding around and coming straight back, we could get everyone to get off the train at another location,” he divulged. “Basically, about one-fifth of the zoo is a big empty field that the FOCUSNM.COM


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train goes around; this is the area where we are going to bring in St. Nicholas Station.” The group began building a platform at the designated location for people to exit the train and enter a Christmas wonderland – St. Nicholas Station. Patrons will board the train at the zoo entrance and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa on the beautifully lit ride to the Christmas village. St. Nicholas Station, however, is where the magic begins and the memories are formed. There will be an enchanted walkway, one-of-akind shopping opportunities, dining, and Mrs. Claus’ sweet shop – a chance to grab some more hot cocoa and a cinnamon roll or other sweet delectable. Those seeking entertainment are sure to be pleased as well. Local high school bands and choirs will perform, as well as local dance students, and Roebuck will show the short film, “Spirit of Christmas,” which he created just for the event. “I wanted to produce something that depicts a season of giving, joy, love and hope,” he revealed. More specifically speaking, patrons interested in shopping will find unique, one-of-akind items from local vendors and World Market Roswell (visit WorldMarketRoswell. com for more information) and according to Roebuck, it will have a Christmas store element to it as well. Food trucks will offer seasonal dishes and, at Roebuck’s request, kid’s meals for $5 or less. “We want to keep it affordable and something that everyone can enjoy with their families,” he stressed. Each night there will be a bonfire and tables set up for outdoor dining, as well as tents set up for those who prefer to dine indoors. For the younger visitors to St. Nicholas Station, a playhouse village is sure to draw them in for playtime, and they won’t want to leave without

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

meeting Santa himself and posing for a photo. Anyone who has been to an event and had to wait in long lines will appreciate the lengths Roebuck and his crew have gone to in order to reduce waiting times. “We are really encouraging people to buy their tickets online, so they don’t just show

St. Nicholas Station Ride the Roswell Christmas Railway to St. Nicholas Station for an evening of Christmas magic with amazing lights, entertainment, food, shopping, playing and more! Presented by Roebuck Entertainment, St. Nicholas Station is a dazzling new holiday attraction that will delight young and old alike with the spirit of Christmas!

Location:

Spring River Park & Zoo

Dates:

November 25-27 December 2-4 December 9-11 December 16-24

Hours:

5 p.m. – 9 p.m. (last train leaves at 8:30 p.m.)

Ticket Prices:

Under 3 –FREE Children 3 to 14 - $7 Adult - $10 *Adult tickets include ride to St. Nicholas Station & one free hot chocolate. Child tickets include ride to St. Nicholas Station, basic toy kit & one free hot chocolate.

For more information visit

RoswellChristmasRailway.com

up and have to wait,” he stressed. “That’s also why we’re open so many nights as well.” However, he knows not everyone will be able to or want to pre-purchase tickets online before the event and he’s prepared for that as well. “If they do show up without tickets, we have a walking path where you can walk out, do that stuff, and then ride the train back,” he explained. “The bench seats [on the train] are pretty low to the ground, which can make it a bit difficult to get up from, so some adults that aren’t super mobile might not want to ride the train and would prefer the walking trail too,” he added. In an effort to make sure the event is enjoyable for everyone, he said the city modified one of the carts to be able to accommodate a wheelchair as well. One thing is for certain, Roebuck and everyone involved in planning the inaugural holiday event have worked tirelessly to ensure its success. “I started working, in earnest, full time on this at the end of July,” he admitted. “We’re ramping stuff up now. We’ve had lots of community artists helping out, the Parks and Rec department have gone above and beyond to make sure this happens; businesses have been great about sponsoring us…It’s really a community effort!” He concluded, “It’s our job to make sure we do a first-class show and that’s what we’re working really hard for!” Fortunately for residents of and visitors to Southeastern New Mexico, between the Roswell Railway to St. Nicholas Station and Christmas on the Pecos, there’s plenty to do this holiday season that will help families create memories to last a lifetime! (For more information on Christmas on the Pecos, please see Page 40.)

FOCUSNM.COM


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Holiday Cooking with a Dash of Divine Inspiration by Leroy Smith | F O C U S O N LI N C O LN C O U N T Y C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R & E D I TO R

Culinaryminded visitors and residents of New Mexico are likely to be familiar with San Pasqual, a 16th-century shepherd who has become ubiquitous as the patron saint of cooks and kitchens. Kitchens across the state are adorned with his likeness, often in the form of colorful folk art, painted wooden slabs, or stamped metal. It is said that San Pasqual, known to be devoutly religious and humble, had powers that would entice any cook. Some say he summoned angels to help him prepare meals, while others claim his cupboards were never bare, miraculously filling themselves in times of need. It is with this in mind that we pay homage to the saint of cooks and kitchen as we start planning our holiday meals. San Pasqual was born on May 24, 1540 in Zaragosa, Aragón, in what is now Spain. When he died in 1592 San Pasqual’s image is often portrayed in traditional folk art that can be found adorning kitchens throughout the southwest. It is believed that the image of San Pasqual looks over cooks and provides divine inspiration in the kitchen.

PHOTO:

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016


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Lajuana’s Zucchini Bread “Some of my favorite holiday childhood memories are making this bread with my mom.” - Adrian Martinez

Ingredients: • 3 eggs • 1 cup cooking oil • 2 cups sugar • 2 cups peeled and grated zucchini • 2 tsp. vanilla • 3 cups flour • 1 tsp. baking soda • ¼ tsp. baking powder • 1 tsp. salt • 1 tbsp. cinnamon • 1 cup chopped nuts

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Mix well. Sift together dry ingredients. Add to egg mixture and blend well. Fold in chopped nuts. Pour into two greased and floured loaf pans and bake for 1 hour or until done. NOTE: I use three small loaf pans for this recipe. They are the perfect size for holiday gifts, and they freeze well.


at the age of 51, it is reported his body did not decompose, a sign to many that he was in fact a saint. If nothing else, all historical accounts lay claim to him being a man who found divine purpose in the kitchen. A peasant with a tireless desire to learn how to read and fine-tune his worship, San Pasqual was assigned to the kitchen in his monastic cloister. It was hard work, yet he accepted the role as his duty and eventually found the practice of cooking to be spiritual and meditative. Historians claim that San Pasqual was never actually canonized by the Roman Catholic Church but, rather, by a French pope in Avignon, France, earning him the title of a folk saint. His legacy, while never fully embraced and hallowed in Europe, lives on today in various pockets around the New World, particularly in Latin America and New Mexico. If we take a longer look at San Pasqual’s personal life, perhaps his modern-day popularity is not such a big surprise. San Pasqual was deeply devoted to the poor, often preparing and handing out meals when nothing more than leftover broth was available. New Mexico may be one of the poorest states in the U.S., but nobody can argue this has had any affect on the state’s rich cultural heritage or passion for food, particularly surrounding the holidays.

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

This year, keep San Pasqual in mind as you dig up seasonal recipes, plan your family gatherings, and look forward to wonderful holiday meals with loved ones. You will find a variety of holiday recipes sprinkled throughout this inaugural issue of Focus on the Holidays.

PHOTOS: As legend has it, San Pasqual’s cupboard miraculously refilled itself overnight so he would always be able to provide food for the poor. The author’s aunt Mary Jane, an avid and talented chef, often burned herself while cooking. After she installed an image of San Pasqual in her kitchen, she claims she never burned herself again.

We leave you with a quote from New Mexico chef Rocky Durham:

Perhaps you’re not a great cook—that’s OK! Let’s take a lesson from the young shepherd and transcend our own kitchen skills. Perhaps you’re not a Catholic? That’s OK, too! No law prevents you from adorning your kitchen with the image of a great 16thcentury chef, or from lighting a candle in his memory. Perhaps you’re not a New Mexican? Well, nobody’s perfect! All kidding aside, it is safe to say that New Mexicans have a deep appreciation of fresh ingredients, bold flavors, and well-prepared meals. It is our hope that this article sheds a little light on cooks, kitchens, and saints of the past and provides inspiration as you plan that perfect holiday meal. Rest assured this writer will continue delivering appreciative nods to the various images of San Pasqual adorning his kitchen.

FOCUSNM.COM


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d n u o r A s a m t s Chri e World th An Evening to Remember

by Kyle Marksteiner | FO C U S O N LE A C O U N T Y C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R & E D I TO R

O

nce a year, the Western Heritage Museum & Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame goes around the world in…80 plates. The museum will soon be celebrating its “Christmas at the Museum: Annual Christmas Traditions from Around the World” event, still growing stronger in its ninth year.

“This started when I got here in 2008,” explained Mary Lyle, director of education with the museum, located at 5317 Lovington Highway, in Hobbs. “We had a lot of people at the time from Europe who were working at URENCO and some of them were my friends or volunteers.” Everyone agreed that putting together an event to allow participants the opportunity to share their diverse cultures and traditions would be a lot of fun, and the gala has grown in popularity and scope since then. The event is always held on the first Thursday in December from 7-9 p.m. (Dec. 1 in 2016), and Lyle said it incorporates decorations, food and entertainment. Tables are set up throughout the museum with

samplings from the fare, from the Netherlands or England. The food tables now include an average of 14 countries such as Italy, Germany, Peru, Thailand, Lebanon and Korea, the most recent addition. Some volunteers even dress up while staffing their tables. Maria Vick, advisor with the Phi Theta Kappa honor society at New Mexico Junior College, said her group represents Spain every year. “I have distant relatives from Spain,” she shared, explaining that she had prepared non-alcoholic sangrias and piaya, among other treats and dishes. Some of the participants at her table dress up like matadors. “I always try to do something different. I wear my flamenco outfit, just to give it a flair and dress up the table.” “Spain” has developed a friendly rivalry with nearby “Germany.” Germany brings a huge nutcracker every year, “and if it is missing, they know where it is!” Vick joked. “It’s just a wonderful way to get the community together.” There is also a table specific to food

items representing the Land of Enchantment itself, which served biscochitos last year; and there are 45 different designer trees spread out across the property that remain on display throughout the Christmas season. “We all have special trees with themes,” Lyle explained. “The whole idea is to make this a community celebration.”

To fit in with the international theme, one tree has flags representing all countries. There’s also a Mexico tree featuring decorations representative of our neighbors to the south, as well as trees with themes independent from the international theme. “Every year is a little different,” Lyle continued. “We have service groups who have started to decorate, such as the Fire Department and the Salvation Army. It’s really fun to see the police chief and fire chief decorating trees.” Bonnie Moran’s North Pole Village has also become a mainstay of the event. “She has collected those little PHOTOS: Spain, Scotland & Norway: A few of the special tables that were part of last year’s “Christmas Traditions from Around the World” celebration.

2016 | FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS

19


These were provided by my mother, Margaret Marksteiner. She was very thrilled when I asked her for some family recipes, and she was only slightly disappointed when I shared that I would probably not be making them myself. Take it away, mom!

CranberryOrange Relish “This is the recipe I remember my mom, Helen Walton Kramer (born in 1909), making before Thanksgiving and Christmas. We did not have an electric blender at the time so she ground up the cranberries and the orange in a food grinder she attached to the counter. She used a recipe from her mom, Elisa Walton Matthieu, who was born in 1872.” - Margaret Marksteiner (Kyle’s Mom)

Ingredients:

Christmas houses and villages,” Lyle continued. “It was taking her months to set it all up around her house, so a few years ago, we talked to the director about her setting up her display at the museum, also in the south gallery.” This year’s feature entertainer will be “Accidental Harmony,” an a capella group that dresses up in traditional Victorian costumes. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be there for the kids. “We have mariachis and this year the Flying J Wranglers will be doing three or four shows in our theater,” Lyle added. “And we’re going to have lots and lots of door prizes all night.” A portion of the proceeds will benefit Phi Theta Kappa’s Lea County Foster Children’s Holiday Party, which will take place on Dec. 5 this year. “This is our big event for the year,” Vick stated, explaining the charity event. “Last year we gave 135 gifts for foster children in Lea County.” The honor society receives a list of foster children from the Children

Youth and Families Department. NMJC also helps sponsor the event. “Santa Claus then gives each child a present, and it’s a huge party,” she concluded. “I think this (the party for children) has happened for the last 100 years or so.” Tickets for Christmas Traditions from Around the World must be purchased in advance by calling (575) 492-2678. The museum’s web page (http:// www.nmjc.edu/museum) also offers updated information. Tickets will be timed this year to try to help with the flow of traffic from table to table. While Christmas Traditions from around the World is a one-night gala, Lyle stressed that the museum also hosts a family fun day in December featuring tables of Christmas crafts. “Everybody has come to expect it as the kickoff for the Christmas season,” Lyle concluded. “It’s such a fun thing, and you really get into the Christmas spirit and into the community spirit. You can appreciate everything the community has to offer.”

• 1 (12 oz.) package - fresh cranberries • 1 navel orange • 2 small packages orange Jell-O • 2 cups water • ¾ cup sugar • 1 cup chopped celery • 1 small can crushed pineapple • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions: Quarter orange twice and chop together with cranberries in small amounts in blender, including peel. Slightly drain pineapple. Dissolve sugar and Jell-O mix together before adding all the other ingredients. Use Pam or cooking spray on a Jell-O mold before adding mixture. Make the day before you need it.

One of the many beautiful Christmas trees on display throughout the holiday season at the Western Heritage Museum. This tree represents the goal of international peace. Victorian carolers are one of the entertainment groups joining in the celebration.

PHOTOS:


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2016 was another busy and exciting year for Lovington MainStreet. We are grateful to live and work in a community of such generous, caring people who enable us to carry out our mission of revitalizing Historic Downtown Lovington. Lovington MainStreet is most fortunate to have outstanding support and resources available from New Mexico MainStreet, the City of Lovington, and various other organizations. As we begin a new year, we would like to thank all of our amazing sponsors, hardworking volunteers and our awesome Board of Directors and Staff. Potential continues to abound in Downtown Lovington. We are extremely excited to see more amazing projects come to fruition with the continued support of our community. 2017 Events Smokin’ on the Plaza: June 16-17th Live on Love Street Summer Concert Series: June-August Halloween On The Plaza: October 31st Christmas On The Plaza: December Tabatha Lawson Executive Director 575.396.1418 director@lovingtonmainstreet.org www.lovingtonmainstreet.org

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You Get A Bike, You Get A Bike &

You Get A Bike! LOCAL ORGANIZATION OFFERS BIKES TO EVERY KINDERGARTNER by Beverly Kodesh | FO CUS O N A RT E S I A CONTRIBU TING WRITER

Over the last 10 years, Ride for Bikes has provided 2,800 bicycles for kids in Artesia, Lovington, Roswell, Dexter, Hagerman and Carlsbad. For the past two years every kindergartener in Artesia has received a bike for Christmas. It all started in 2005 when Robby Gaines, Shannon Johnson and Don Greetan, all Navajo employees at the time, teamed up with co-workers and friends to make Christmas a little brighter for kids in Artesia. The first recipient was CASA, Eddy County Court Appointed Special Advocates. “We delivered 45 bikes (that year),” Gaines recalled in a recent interview. It was so much fun they decided to do it again in 2006. That year they provided 35 bikes and two rocking chairs for Grammy’s House, a local shelter for women and their children

who are victims of domestic violence. Both years were primarily financed and manned by Navajo Refinery and employees. In 2007, Gaines said they started looking and expanding and wanting to involve more of the community in the project, so a letter went out to individuals and businesses asking for donations and volunteers to help provide the Christmas bikes. Living up to their town’s name of “City of Champions,” Artesians and businesses responded, and the project just keeps growing. In 2008, Michelle Madrid,

a new enthusiast from Mack Energy, came on board. Now, some 10 years later, there is a six-member board of directors: Gaines, Madrid, Greetan, Blair Porter, Bri Padilla and Jessica Caballero. They have a budget of $36,000 which covers more than 300 bikes, as well as a new addition: the Ride to Meet the Challenge scholarship program, which provides an $8,000 scholarship to a qualifying Artesia High School graduate. This year, like all the previous years, volunteers will gather at 8am on the second Saturday in December at the Artesia Center to assemble all the bikes. “This year the date is December 10,” Gaines said. “Volunteers are PHOTOS: Volunteers gather each year at the Artesia Center to assemble the 300+ bikes that are gifted to each and every kindergarten student at Grand Heights Early Childhood Center, courtesy of the Ride for Bikes organization. It takes more than 100 volunteers to pull off the feat.

2016 | FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS

23


welcome. Even if you aren’t handy with tools we can find something you can do,” he added. “We always get our bikes from Walmart,” Gaines said. “We order the bikes in the fall. One year we placed an order for more than 500 bikes. When we called for them to be delivered, the store didn’t have that many because they didn’t believe we needed that many, so in order to fulfill the delivery they had to import bikes from almost every Walmart store in New Mexico,” he said, adding with a chuckle, “We got them assembled and delivered in one day. And that’s what they do every year. “When the bikes are presented to the children, each is labeled with the child’s name,” he added. Kindergarten students light up each year after receiving a free bicycle courtesy of the Ride for Bikes organization. The program began in 2005 with the donation of 45 bikes to Eddy County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and has expanded to include every single student at Grand Heights Early Childhood Center.

PHOTOS:

He fondly recalls how, last year, “the kindergarteners were told there was a big surprise waiting for them in the gym. As the children streamed into the gym, their eyes grew large at the sight of 313 bicycles. Many of them asked, ‘Do I get one?’ When told that these bikes were a gift from the community, there were a lot of ‘wows’ from the children.” “One mother stood in the corner with tears in her eyes. She said the only thing her daughter had requested for Christmas was a new bike, but the family had not been able to afford one. She was so thankful that her daughter now had her Christmas bike. A new teacher that had transferred to Atresia from another New Mexico school was also teary-eyed as she praised Artesia and said she had never heard of such a program anywhere else,” he said. In order to make it a more rewarding experience, the children have to earn their bikes. The younger children made Christmas cards for our troops overseas or for the wounded soldiers in the VA hospitals. The older children did even more. One little girl who had long hair showed up to the bike presentation with a short bob. She had given her hair to Locks of Love. All of these children learn powerful lessons in giving. “The children receiving

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

the bikes were not the only ones that learned lessons and received gifts through this program. All who were involved walked away with a new sense of happiness, purpose, love and generosity,” Gaines gushed. Last year the state football championship was scheduled to be played on the same day as the bike build, raising concern. “It takes a lot of hands to build 313 bikes, and we feared that many of those would be in Las Cruces. But, as always, the people of Artesia were not going to let the children down. More than a hundred people showed up to build bikes, air up tires and load and deliver bikes” he marveled. By 2010 the program had become a 501(c)(3) public charity under the Greater Artesia Foundation, and it is solely funded by donations and operated by volunteers. This allows contributions to be tax deductible, he said. One of the largest fundraisers is the


Wet ‘n Wild summer romp that draws hundreds of bikers, runners and walkers to participate in a four-mile course that is cordoned off by Eddy County Sheriff ’s department for safety. There are six to seven obstacle stations designed to soak participants — yes, everyone — in a variety of ways and compete for the Super Soaker Award, thus the title Wet ‘n Wild. Each participant is given a poker chip at the end of the race. The chips are dropped into containers labeled with names of the organizations manning the stations. The container that holds the most chips is the winner. This year the Elks Club took over the popular Boot Camp Bubble Bath which has won the last three years, Gaines said.

Foundation, with “Ride for Bikes” in the memo – to P.O. Box 1344, Artesia, NM 88211-1344. All of the work and donations come from individual people and companies in the surrounding community. That is part of the wonderful thing about this program. It really is a community effort. Read more about this program and previous scholarship recipients online at FocusNM.com. PHOTOS: Each summer the Ride for Bikes organization hosts the Wet ‘n Wild event to raise funds for Christmas bikes, as well as for the Ride to Meet the Challenge Scholarship Program. The event is familyfriendly and proves to be a good time of physical activity and bonding.

Each board member has responsibilities. Gaines is event chair and director of events, Christmas Bikes and Wet ‘n Wild, along with Blair Porter. Bri Padilla is in charge of the Celebrity Waiter Event. Jessica Caballero does public relations and fundraising, and Don Greetan is in charge of logistics. In other words, he gets the bikes where they need to go. Michelle Madrid’s chief interest is the scholarship program, as well as keeping tabs on the recipients. She monitors their grades and ensures they are living up to the scholarship agreements while providing encouragement and whatever help she can. One of the objectives of Ride for Bikes, explained Gaines, is that everyone involved has a good time: the planners, the people who assemble and deliver the bikes in a single day, the children who receive the bikes, the folks who set up for Wet ‘n Wild and the bikers, runners and walkers of all ages who participate. At the close of activities, Gaines wants the general consensus to prove the old adage: a good time was had by all. Ride for Bikes depends on the generosity of people to continue providing bikes for children. Donations help to make Christmas wishes come true and to provide the children of Artesia a healthy activity. For more information visit www.RideforBikes.com. To make a contribution, visit the website or mail a check – payable to Greater Artesia

26

FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016


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1 • After leaving Bethlehem, to which country did Joseph, Mary and Jesus travel? 2 • Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December. Who is the patron saint remembered on the 26th of December? 3 • Everyone is familiar with the mistletoe tradition. What color are the berries of the plant? 4 • Which was the first state in the United States to recognize Christmas as an official holiday? 5 • Which country does St. Nicholas originally belong to? 6 • Which reindeer is named after another animal? 7 • Which country can be credited with the Christmas beverage, eggnog? 8 • What are the gifts the Three Wise Men gave baby Jesus, according to Christmas history?

ANSWERS:

1. Egypt 2. Stephen 3. White 4. Alabama 5. Norway 6. Vixen, a Fox 7. England 8. Gold, Myrrh, Frankincense 9. To: and From: 10. Four 11. Wattle 12. Hen 13. Boxing Day 14. The Netherlands 15. Germany 16. Thomas Edison 17. Canada 18. Canada 19. Coca-Cola

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

FOCUSNM.COM


9 • What two words will you most always find on Christmas gift tags? 10 • How many ghosts are there in “A Christmas Carol”? 11 • What is the name of the skin hanging from a turkey’s neck? 12 • What is a female turkey called? 13 • Canada, The U.K., and most other Commonwealth countries officially celebrate the day after Christmas as what holiday? 14 • What country has the tradition of filling children’s clogs with candy and treats on Dec. 5th? 15 • Which country was the first to use the tradition of Christmas trees? 16 • Who invented electric Christmas lights? 17 • Which was the first country to offer Christmas postage stamps? 18 • Which country is the largest exporter of Christmas trees? 19 • Which company made the concept of Santa Claus popular worldwide?

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake “This recipe was made frequently by Alice Marksteiner during the holiday season in the 1970s, and she passed it along to me. It became part of our holiday fare during the 1980s. - Margaret Marksteiner (Kyle’s Mom) Ingredients:

• 2 cups flour (regular) • 2 cups sugar • 4 large eggs • 2 teaspoons baking soda • 1 cup vegetable oil • 2 teaspoons baking powder • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon • 1 small can pumpkin • One 6-oz. package of chocolate chips • speck of salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour tube pan. Measure all ingredients except chocolate chips. Beat well then add chips and beat again. Pour into tube pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, then turn off heat and in leave oven 15 minutes more before removing from oven. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or spread with cream cheese frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING: • 4 oz. softened butter • 4 oz. softened cream cheese • 2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix on low speed. Beat in vanilla. (Frosting recipe from the Food Network)


The Story that Never Changes by Staci Guy | F O C U S O N A RT E S I A

C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R & E D I TO R

2,016 YEARS AND COUNTING Many churches and organizations put on Christmas pageants in which themes and characters differ from year to year. This is not one of those pageants. This story has a plot that has remained the same for more than 2,000 years; its character lineup, though portrayed by many different people over time, has also remained unchanged. This is the story of the nativity – the birth of Jesus Christ. Every year for the past 40 or so years, families have bundled up in their winter clothes and braved the cold December nights to commemorate the birth of Jesus at the Live Nativity re-enactment hosted by First United Methodist Church of Artesia. It’s a Members of First United Methodist Church re-enact the nativity of Jesus Christ each year on the Sunday night before Christmas. It is a decades-old tradition enjoyed by many. • An angel appears to Mary, informing her of her impending pregnancy. PHOTOS:

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

live nativity. The boys typically play the role of shepherds and Brylan, of course, is an angel. “Brylan says it is her favorite part of Christmas!” Jennifer shared.

tradition that families, such as the Taylors, have both attended and also participated in for many years. Brian and Jennifer Taylor’s three children, Trent, Nathan and Brylan, have all participated as cast members in the

Dozens of eager onlookers fill the rows of chairs outside the Methodist church each year in anticipation of the annual event, and a familiar scenario plays out. A hush comes over the crowd as a bright light gleams down on an empty manger and the narrator begins speaking. Soon after, “oohs and aahs” echo throughout

“It’s a community event. People come because they want to see the Christmas story unfold, and it helps children to realize they are real people and real events we are learning about.” FOCUSNM.COM


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PHOTOS: Joseph and Mary lead their donkey to the stable. • Actors portraying the three wise men from the Bible who, upon orders from King Herod, went to search for the Christ whose birth they had heard about. • The shepherds were significant in the story of Jesus’ birth because an angel appeared to them in the fields and told them about the impending birth of the savior. The shepherds then traveled to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus and testified about what had transpired.

the crowd as Mary enters the scene on a donkey, led by Joseph; or as was the case a couple of years ago, Mary and Joseph leading the donkey. Alice Lorang, the long-time director of the pageant, laughs as she recalls the time Tori Null, now a college student, portrayed Mary, and her boyfriend portrayed Joseph. “Tori was sitting on the donkey like she was supposed to and her boyfriend couldn’t get the donkey to walk when it came time for them to start,” Lorang chuckled. “Molly (the donkey) would not budge, so Tori jumped off and led the donkey in! The crowd didn’t mind; everyone just laughed at the sight of a pregnant Mary and Joseph leading the donkey in!” And then there was the time the donkey gave another “pregnant” Mary different ride of sorts – through the air! “One year right as the narrator said ‘Mary was nine months pregnant’ the donkey pitched her off!” she laughed. “Fortunately she was okay and everyone started clapping when they realized she wasn’t hurt.” The story line might remain unchanged year after year, but Lorang says the “mess-ups” are what makes each year’s performance unique. “Everyone loves the faux pas,” she confessed. “They are good sports and laugh about it, and those are the things that we remember!”

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

When Pastor Bill Hutchinson and his congregation started the live nativity in the 1970s, it was considered a tableau – where actors simply pose and a narrator reads the story. In the 1980s, the church’s Educational Director, Gene Riley, took over and asked Lorang to help out. Under their direction the tableau evolved into a full-blown pageant, complete with actors, props and live animals. “Gene was busy becoming a minister and had less and less time for it. She gradually dropped out until it was mine in 1994,” she explained of her role as director. “It was kind of dumped in my lap but I didn’t resist because I enjoy it!” If you have questions and ask anyone involved with the nativity who to talk to about it, they will all point you in the exact same direction –

that of Alice Lorang. For the past 22 years she has directed the well-loved pageant and has poured her heart and soul into every single performance. Her decades of experience in theater have provided her the capability to continue growing and improving the program year after year. It is without a doubt her pride and joy. Perhaps that is what is making it a tad bit difficult for Lorang to hand over the reins to a new director this year, but is exactly what she is doing. On her own accord, she decided it was time to step down. “It’s ridiculous that I’ve had it this long,” she grinned, noting it was 100 percent by choice, none-the-less. “I think I will miss being in charge, but I thought to myself, ‘What if I am sick or can’t do it for some reason and then they are left in a lurch?’ I just had to find the right person to turn it over to first.”


Grandmother’s Yeast Biscuits Long-time church member and nativity volunteer Lynn Worley fit the bill. “I asked her if she would do it and she said yes,” Lorang shared. “Lynn knows pretty much what goes in it and I don’t worry about her at all.” One thing is for certain, if Worley has questions as planning gets underway, she will not be short on resources. Several decades-worth of files, photos and documents rest neatly in an organized plastic bin that Lorang hand-delivered to the church office. She joked about what the pastor, Monty Leavell, must have thought when she returned to the office a couple days later to retrieve it. She made sure it was clear that she was still handing over the reins to Worley, but needed the contents of the bin to help her prepare for the interview for this story. Thumbing through old newspaper clippings, notes and photographs, her eyes seemed to reflect her love of the pageant and the people she worked with along the way. Her trip down memory

lane serves to remind her of the important role the live nativity plays in her life as well as others’. “I love that we are reaching people besides just Methodists,” she explained. “It’s a community event. People come because they want to see the Christmas story unfold, and it helps children to realize they are real people and real events we are learning about.” This year, on the Sunday night before Christmas day, the members of First United Methodist Church Artesia will perform the live nativity, just as they have done for the past four decades. The story will remain the same, but rest is yet to be determined. Worley could change things up; unlikely, but possible. Lorang says she will refrain from letting her inner “control freak” emerge and will instead enjoy her role as a volunteer in a smaller capacity. And in case you were wondering, it will definitely not be by taking on the role of Mary!

This is one of those recipes that is all about the smell! I remember with great fondness walking in to my grandmother’s house during the holidays and catching the unmistakable whiff of yeast rolls baking. They were my favorite part of the meal, including dessert! A few years ago when we were moving, I cleaned out one of my larger kitchen drawers and in the very back I found the biscuit cutter that my grandmother used to make her mouth-watering rolls. Being a quintessential woman, I teared up, took a picture of it and sent it to my mom, who did the same! My grandmother (actually, she was my great-grandmother but I always called her Grandmother) passed away 15 years ago, so finding her biscuit cutter and remembering her famous yeast rolls conjured up some very sweet memories! To this day, every time I smell yeast rolls cooking it reminds me of one of my favorite people of all time, my greatgrandmother, Eula Havens! *Note: My mom calls them biscuits, I call them rolls. Whatever you call them, they are delicious! - Staci Guy

Ingredients: • 1 package yeast • 4 T sugar • 1 heaping tsp baking powder • 3 T cooking oil • 1 tsp milk • 2 cups flour • 1 cup warm water

Directions: Dissolve yeast, sugar and salt in warm water. Mix in oil, sift flour and baking powder; mix into liquid. Turn onto bread board and knead until not sticky. Roll out and cut. Let rise, double in size for about 30 min. (There’s not a baking time or temperature on her recipe, but I’d suggest baking at 350 degrees until they are golden brown.)


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by Kyle Marksteiner | FO C U S O N C A RLS BA D C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R & E D I TO R

hristmas is a busy time for talented musicians everywhere, and Carlsbad is no exception. Local choirs, symphonies and churches are all in full swing, preparing for upcoming performances. It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas.

was done, but lately I think I’m going to have to do it again,” he shrugged, mentioning several upcoming competitions that interest him.

Ricardo Serrano is one of southeastern New Mexico’s best-known mariachi singers. He has competed across the continent, though more recently he has taken off time to focus on his job in the oilfield. Still, he plans to help sing at the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12. He will also be celebrating his father Jose’s birthday on Dec. 27 with a musical performance.

PHOTO: Musician Rick Serrano (center), after reaching the semifinals in a country western singing competition.

Serrano said his favorite Christmas song is “Amor Eterno,” (“Eternal Love”), which was written by Juarez musician Juan Gabriel. “That’s one

song that if you play at any Spanish gathering, it will bring joy to your heart or tears to your eyes,” he observed. Room 101 at New Mexico

“We have a dinner for him every year and I’ll usually sing to him for hours,” Serrano said. “That’s where I got my singing from.” Serrano is also often asked to sing at weddings for friends and family members. Prior to his musical break, Serrano recently expanded his portfolio by singing country music as well. He even reached the quarterfinals at a competition last year. He’s accustomed to doing well at competitions, but doing so in country western music is new for him. “I thought I 2016 | FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS

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chimed in.

State University–Carlsbad can be seen as Carlsbad’s training ground central for music. It’s where the Carlsbad Wind Symphony holds its weekly practice session and also where the Carlsbad Community Chorale meets regularly.

The Carlsbad Community Chorale is dedicated to excellence in the chorale arts. Practices are held every Tuesday evening at NMSU– Carlsbad, and more members are needed.

The Chorale formed in 2000 as a byproduct of a class reunion, after a group of former Carlsbad High School Troubadours waxed nostalgic about their historic trip to Europe in 1973, observed founding member Donna Courson.

Trumpet player Bill Jaco is one of Carlsbad’s busiest musicians every Christmas season. Jaco has been a regular at the First Baptist Church performance for many years, and he’s also a member of the Carlsbad Wind Symphony. The Wind Symphony is busy preparing for its own Christmas concert (7:30pm on Nov. 29 at the Carlsbad Museum & Art Center). Canned good donations are welcome.

“We had a really good time and realized there’s a lot of local musical talent here,” she shared. The Chorale is currently directed by Dr. Ian Aipperspach, who drives from Lubbock to Carlsbad once a week to run practice. There are currently 15-20 participants on any given week, and they are preparing for their Christmas concert at 7pm on Dec. 6 at P.R. Leyva Auditorium. This collaborative showcase will incorporate the Chorale with the Carlsbad Intermediate School Choir and Carlsbad High School Choir. Aipperspach and Amanda Ingraham will direct the event. “We’ll have separate songs, but we’ll conclude with a Christmas festival where all the choirs sing together,” explained Aipperspach. After that, the Carlsbad Community Chorale will begin working on their spring concert. Several years ago, Chorale members even had the opportunity to sing at Carnegie Hall, and member Catherine Shelton said the group is

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In addition, Jaco and a few other members of the Wind Symphony meet on their own once a week to play jazz music together. The group includes Ben Morehouse (also on the trumpet) and Paul Cosand on drums. Morehouse and Cosand are also members of a local mariachi band, but Jaco said he can only squeeze so much into one week.

pursuing a similar opportunity. “There’s a group called Mid America Production that reaches out to church groups and community choirs and invites people who wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to perform,” she explained.

As far as favorite Christmas songs, Shelton said “Oh Holy Night” is one of her favorites, while Aipperspach named the ancient “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” as one of his favorites. “‘Mary, Did You Know?,’ of course!” Courson

PHOTOS (ABOVE): Carlsbad Community Chorale Director Dr. Ian Aipperspach and members of the Carlsbad Community Chorale. PHOTOS (BELOW): Ben Morehouse and Bill Jaco, playing trumpet together. • Paul Cosand on the drums.

FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

He has been playing the trumpet since he was in the fifth grade and loves the opportunities provided by the holiday season. “There have been so many traditions for centuries celebrating Jesus’ birthday and that’s why music plays a big part,” he explained, noting that “Oh Holy Night,” is one of his favorites. The jazz trio mostly meets to play for fun, but they did have a gig at an event a few years ago, for a pancake breakfast. A few


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members have moved on, but they enjoy what they do. “You can only squeeze so much in with two trumpets and a drummer,” laughed Cosand. Another one of Carlsbad’s biggest Christmas music venues is the annual event put on by First Baptist Church. This year “A Carlsbad Christmas Concert” will take place at 7pm on Dec. 10 and 11 at First Baptist Church. Music Director Kevin Pence said he also plans to take smaller groups from the church out to the community to spread the true message of Christmas. The annual event combines First Baptist’s own musicians with talent from around town. For several years, for example, retired educator Karen Orgain has been one of the show’s star performers. Orgain observed that she is a preacher’s kid who has been singing all her life. She has been invited to sing at local baseball games, weddings and birthday parties. She sings in the local MLK Jr. Choir and in her own church choir at Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church. She also belongs to a choir representing 14 churches called the Jerusalem District Community Choir. “Christmas is my favorite holiday because it’s the season of spreading the word that Jesus was born,” she declared. It’s a gift He gave me and I’m giving it back.” Orgain said Pence recruited her to sing at the

First Baptist event several years ago. Pilgrim’s Rest also visits nursing homes throughout the holiday season to sing Christmas carols. Her favorite song is “Silent Night.”

“Journey to Bethlehem” program. It’s an interactive play that transports attendees to Judea during the time of Christ, complete with Roman soldiers, markets, bandits and a visit to the manger.

“I think some people sing better than me, but people tell me I sing well and I love to sing,” she concluded, noting that if she decides to step out of retirement it will be to teach music. “Music is a universal language. My mom always said what comes from the heart touches the heart.”

This year’s Journey to Bethlehem program will be held Dec. 7, 8, 9 and 10, at 15-minute intervals each evening. Reservations are required by calling (575) 200-5665.

Carlsbad’s Voncille King, an associate minister with Bethel Baptist Church in Artesia, has also made special presentations during the First Baptist production. “My mother started me out as a young girl singing in our youth choir at our church,” King shared. “I’ve pretty much stayed in there.” She joins the First Baptist production “whenever Kevin asks her to” and is also a regular singer with the MLK Jr. Choir, at her own church and at variety of joint church activities. She sang the Star Spangled Banner this year at the 2016 Carlsbad Mayor’s Oil and Gas Summit. “What I love about gospel singing is that it is a representation of God and lifting his name,” King added. “You are moving people to think about God.” Christmas, of course, is a special time for music, and King said one of her personal favorites is “Oh What a Wonderful Child.” At the Paradise Ranch north of Carlsbad, members of the church there will be celebrating their sixth

FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

Christmas songs, of course, almost always have a positive message. “It’s a message about Christ, and it’s just as important as a sermon,” she explained. “Especially with little kids, since they soak up everything like sponges.” During the Journey to Bethlehem, Williams sings “Oh Come All Yea Faithful” as many as 15 times an evening. She said she loves the song, and another one of her favorites is “Jesus, Light of the World” by the Barlow Girls. Another musician with the church, Alicia Ramirez, sings a traditional Jewish song at the onset of the interactive program. “We’re already rehearsing,” Williams concluded. “It’s just a beautiful production, and we’ve had people come from quite a ways to see it.” All told, it’s safe to say that Christmas time in Carlsbad will be music to your ears!

Singer and retired teacher Karen Orgain (left), pictured with family members. • Voncille King, performing at the Carlsbad Mayor’s Oil and Gas Summit. • Alicia Ramirez, left, and Teresa Williams prepare for a rehearsal for the “Journey to Bethlehem” performance. The two women sing at the live-action stroll through ancient Judea. PHOTOS (FROM TOP):

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Teresa Williams isn’t just a singer in the event; she also teaches music at the church’s Paradise Academy. “Music brings a message. That’s what I try to teach my kids,” she explained. “Be careful with what you listen to because there’s a message in every song.”


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Celebrate the holidays with New Mexico’s greatest light show – Carlsbad’s Christmas on the Pecos. This holiday season marks the 25th anniversary that these boat tours along the Pecos River have transported guests through the light displays. This year’s anniversary tour runs from November 25 through December 31, excluding December 24. Boats set sail several times an evening between 5:30 and 9:45 p.m., and depart at the turn-of-the-century park located at Pecos River Village at 711 Muscatel Ave. Before the tour, riders can arrive early to meet Santa Claus, enjoy holiday refreshments and shop for unique holiday gifts made by local artists. It is advised to dress warmly, and blankets will be available prior to boarding. Tickets are available online at christmasonthepecos.com; at the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, 302 S. Canal St, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; at the Christmas on the Pecos ticket office at the point of departure from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. during the season, or by calling (575) 628-0952.


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15 Years and Counting RUIDOSO’S FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS CONTINUES TO DAZZLE by Leroy Smith | F O C U S O N LI N C O LN C O U N T Y C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R & E D I TO R

What’s in a name? When you hear the word “festival,” what comes to mind? Definitions will certainly differ, but most people can probably agree that a festival is an organized collection of celebratory events, and for the last 15 years, Ruidoso’s Festival of Lights has been just that: an evolving, beloved, nebulous celebration of winter and shared holiday cheer. Started in 2001 by a group of Ruidoso lodgers who were concerned about losing business when there wasn’t enough snow to attract skiers, the Festival of Lights has been a Originating in 2001, the annual Festival of Lights culminates with the popular Parade of Lights, attended by thousands of locals and visitors alike. This year the parade will ramble through downtown Ruidoso on Dec. 3, with the theme of “Christmas Candyland.”

PHOTOS:

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

cherished community tradition since its inception. The Ruidoso Valley Chamber of Commerce assumed management of the festival in 2008 and has been organizing the surrounding events ever since. The Festival of Lights can be comprised of more than a dozen events in any given year, but the two real anchors are the Christmas Jubilee

and the much-anticipated Parade of Lights, which annually draws thousands of onlookers armed with folding chairs, blankets and warm beverages. The Christmas Jubilee, held at the Ruidoso Convention Center, is much more than 80 merchants showing off their holiday wares and crafts. In a town that supports a retail shop that only sells Christmas ornaments, decorations, and figurines and is open all year long, many consider this to be the holiday event of the year. Attendees can shop to their hearts’ content and enjoy food and beverages from various vendors, and kids have a chance to visit Santa Claus. The Christmas Jubilee will be held on the weekend of Nov. 11-13. The fantastical Parade of Lights generally takes 45 minutes to an


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hour and features a dazzling display of marching bands, ornately decorated floats, music, dancing, and enough fire trucks and police vehicles to cause some people to cross their fingers and hope there isn’t an emergency elsewhere during the parade. Each year the theme changes, but there is always one thing you can count on: lights, lights and more lights. In addition to the flashing, swirling lights of the emergency vehicles and the floats that are brightly lit from bumper to bumper, the street lamps along Sudderth Drive are wrapped in twinkling holiday lights as well, thanks to the Parks and Recreation Department. Some folks even say you can see the concentration of so many thousands of lights from outer space. Well, perhaps that’s an exaggeration but never the less, the spectacle is awe-inspiring. If you have a chance to attend this year’s Parade of Lights, make sure and go early. The best curb-side viewing spots are often claimed an hour or more before the parade kicks off, at 5:30 p.m. Expect to see children scrambling for candy as it soars through the air and skitters along the sidewalks. In past years, the Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Toys for Tots in an effort to increase goodwill and help those in need. The Parade of Lights is easily described as a positive, community event, but for many it represents much more. In a town where tourism reigns supreme, the parade serves as a well earned, collective sigh of relief, a marker signaling one more year on the books, and a chance for locals and visitors alike to come together in celebration and say “We did it! Now it’s time to look ahead to 2017.”

For more information about the 2016 Christmas Jubilee, visit their website at www.ruidosochristmasjubilee.net. For more information about the Festival of Lights, visit the Chamber of Commerce web page at www. ruidosonow.com/festival-of-lights. 2016 | FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS

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by Jamie McKinney | F O C U S O N RO S W E LL CONTRIBU TING WRITER

It was a Christmas that would not be forgotten. Not much money was to offer, but the gift of love was so much more. On Christmas Eve, families were gathering and the snow was pouring down on Schilling Avenue. Money was tight that year and we knew not to expect anything, but what more could you want when you are with PHOTO: Senior Pastor Troy Smothermon of Church on the Move reads the Christmas story from the Bible to children during the 2015 Christmas program.

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

family? We did not expect anything to be under the tree, so we were amazed to see it was filled with an abundance of presents. Tears filled our mother’s eyes, as she had no idea where the presents came from and you could tell it filled her heart with joy that Christmas was once again met. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” That

Christmas was filled with a miracle for a family that had nothing, but ended up with so much more than they ever expected. Every year Church on the Move in Roswell creates a production called Christmas with Family. Christmas is not all about the presents, but knowing that you are spending it with family. Christmas with Family is a unique production where you will be surrounded by people that care, have compassion and welcome you with open arms. Reed May, the worship leader at Church on the Move, had this to say about Christmas with Family: “Preparation for Christmas with Family takes months of brainstorming, meetings, rehearsals and preproductions. From the initial idea to implementation, lots of moving parts influence how it is seen at production. We have musicians, production


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personnel, writers and builders working throughout the season to put everything together and make sure everything runs smoothly for the program. Stage designs and props are constructed almost entirely by staff members, volunteers or business individuals who attend our church. Christmas with Family always carries a similar theme, and that is all based in the title. We want this service to be a place that families of all ages can come and enjoy Christmas in a way that is fun, entertaining and

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based upon Christianity and the birth of Jesus.”

PHOTOS:

So what is the meaning behind the production? May sums it up as this: “The entire basis and purpose behind Christmas with Family and our church is to give people an opportunity to find Jesus Christ as lord of their life. Without Jesus at the center of the Christmas program, all of the work and preparation would have no meaning. Along with that, the Christmas with Family service is fun and entertaining for

families and for children of all ages. We always encourage people coming to the service and try to find ways to connect with each age group so everyone can have fun.”

FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

Scenes from the 2015 production of Christmas with Family. • Jamie McKinney (with Snoopy) and Esther Morrison pose for photos with some of the characters from last year’s Christmas production at Church on the Move.

May’s role in the Christmas program is typically to lead songs that the team has selected and to ensure the band and singers to achieve the best sound possible. He proclaimed, “This gives me a chance to

think outside of the box and get creative.” In past productions of Christmas with Family, Pastor Tim Aguilar had the opportunity to play roles such as the Grinch and Jesus. Last year he played the role of Mr. Scrooge. Pastor Tim has participated in Christmas with Family for the last several years. According to Pastor Tim, two of his fondest memories were FOCUSNM.COM


when he played the Grinch and Mr. Scrooge. He went into detail as to how much make-up he had to wear, and the time it took to prepare for each program, but conceded it’s all worth it. “Seeing the joy that we bring to the people during the show, and how much older people enjoy the program, makes the time and preparation worth it,” he shared. “After one of the productions, a little girl brought a Christmas card and gave it to me when I was the Grinch. To know that I had

that much of an impact and to see this little girl’s face helped me realize that I am making a difference.” Last year he had the opportunity to portray Mr. Scrooge and his family also joined in on the fun. “Not only did I get to participate in the ministry, but my children got to be part of the ministry as well and dance with me on stage. My family was getting blessed, but we were also blessing others as well by taking pictures, greeting and being part of the ministry,” he recalled.

He said the shows are fun, but “when we see mass amounts of people coming to know Jesus and changing their lives, we realize why we spend so much time investing in these programs. Seeing the altar calls at the end of the production, presenting the Bible in a fun way and seeing people wanting to change their lives – there is nothing more rewarding!” During the production, Senior Pastor Troy Smothermon of Church on the Move reads the Christmas story from the Bible. Christmas with Family is so

much more than attending and enjoying the show… it is being around people you love, having fun and celebrating the birth of Jesus. This year, everyone is encouraged to join in and celebrate at Church on the Move, in Roswell and let their family become yours. The cost is free and all are welcome to attend. Join them on Dec. 24 at 4pm or 6pm for Christmas with Family, or for a special Christmas Day service on Dec. 25 at 10am. Kids on the Move will host a production of “Back to the Manger” on Dec. 7 at 7pm.

2016 | FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS

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Roast Pork Shoulder Ingredients:

• pork shoulder (5-7 lbs. works in a standard-size Dutch oven) • large white onion (1 per 5-7 lbs.), chopped • garlic (3 cloves per every 5-7 lbs.), chopped • Hatch green chiles (two cups per 5 lbs., depending on heat), chopped • canola oil

ESPRESSO RUB

• 4 tbsp. espresso coffee, ground fine • 4 tbsp. chili powder • 4 tsp. brown sugar • 2 tsp. ground coriander • 2 tsp. dry mustard • 2 tsp. salt • 2 tsp. black pepper • 2 tsp. garlic powder

Directions:

Mix the espresso rub together ahead of time and set aside. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Trim the pork shoulder and pat dry. Season all sides with espresso rub (or a dry rub of your choice). Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven with oil and heat to medium. Brown all sides of shoulder well. When you are on the last side, add onion and garlic. Once the sides are browned and the onion is starting to caramelize, remove from heat. Add green chile. Cover and put in oven at 200 degrees. Cook for 1.5 hours per pound. About 2/3 of the way through the time, remove bone from the pork and, using two forks, start pulling the pork apart. Put back in oven and finish cooking. (Note: you almost can’t overcook this. I have left them in for an extra hour or so just to make sure it’s really tender.) When done, remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!

A Holiday Meal That Goes the Distance by Cindi Davis O W N E R , C O N D O T E L VA C AT I O N R E N TA L S

W

hen it comes to my job, the term “holiday” doesn’t have the same traditional meaning for me. Rather, it signifies the opposite of what most people consider to be a holiday. We have the pleasure of providing vacation accommodations for droves of people who visit Ruidoso to get away from the stress or work, the West Texas heat, and the rigamarole of everyday life. This means we deal with smiling faces and guests who have long been looking forward to walking through our front door to pick up their keys and begin their vacation. It also means my staff and I work for three weeks, practically non-stop, surrounding the winter holidays. Over 25 years, however, I’ve learned to adapt and enjoy my own version of the holidays. When mid-December rolls around, there is one recipe that has stood the test of time and really goes the distance for us. A roasted pork roast — complete with Hatch green chiles, of course — doesn’t just fill our home with a fabulous smell that lasts for days. It also provides sustenance over the long haul. Shredded pork tacos, today? Done. Roasted pork sandwiches, tomorrow? Easy. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Whether your holidays are calm and peaceful or hectic and busy, I hope they find you healthy and happy, and I hope this recipe adds to your holiday cheer.


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Ringing the Bells:

MAKING CHRISTMAS by Leah LM Wingert | F O C U S O N LE A C O U N T Y CONTRIBU TING WRITER

F

or many, the Christmas season means hot cocoa, Christmas cards, caroling and dropping coins into the iconic red kettles of the Salvation Army. And then there is the hustle and bustle of the holiday, as we rush into malls to see Santa Claus and to do our shopping, and perhaps, pluck the name of a child from an Angel Tree. For the general public, these are just the things we do at Christmas time; as much a part of Christmas tradition as chopping down a tree or setting stockings out by the mantle. For some families in Lea County, providing Christmas for their families can be a challenging endeavor, filled with more stress than fun. However, through the tireless efforts of the workers and volunteers at the Salvation Army, Christmas is a little easier and brighter for those who may have been deprived of Christmas cheer without them.

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

The story of the famous red kettle dates back to 1891 when Joseph McFee, a captain with the Salvation Army, wanted to distribute food in an attempt to provide the people whom he served in the San Francisco area some hope during the holidays. His idea? Place a large iron kettle with a sign beside it hoping people would toss in a few coins. That simple idea has become a worldwide phenomenon, allowing the Salvation Army to turn those coins into millions of meals a quintessential Christmas tradition spanning more than 100 years. “It’s not as easy as you think,” says Hobbs Salvation Army Captain Sue Spousta, of manning the famous

red kettles. “Even to volunteer you have to fill out an application, have a background check and have a good attitude, even when it’s cold.” “Making eye contact and providing a little conversation goes a long way,” Spousta enthused. Every year the Salvation Army relies on a pool of local volunteers from places like the Rotary Club, Lions Club and Hobbs schools to man the seven doors that are covered by bell ringers in Hobbs. Many donors drop coins into the Salvation Army Kettles, never thinking about what happens to that money after it is in the hands of the Salvation Army bell ringers. The answer is a myriad of different

The story of the famous red kettle dates back to 1891.


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programs for the men, women and children served by the Salvation Army, not only at Christmas, but throughout the entire year. “Our Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets are very similar to our everyday emergency baskets,” explained Spousta, “but we bump it up and add things like sugar, flour, oil and cranberry sauce to make it special. I’m always looking out for deals and sales to add more to the baskets.” In addition to providing a special holiday meal, the Salvation Army also provides gifts for the families through their Angel Tree program, which can be found at Walmart and Schlotzsky’s in Hobbs. Each card has the first name of a child, the size they wear and one coveted toy. “We think Star Wars is going to be PHOTOS: Elder Felshaw (left) and Elder Corrington help to prepare food boxes at the Salvation Army. The boxes of food are distributed to help families and individuals at Christmas.

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

big this year!” Spousta expressed as she explained the process by which a family was added to the Angel Tree. “We take the names for the families that need gifts from our food baskets. We have to be very careful to make sure that certain criteria are met for our assistance; we want to make sure that the children receiving the gifts live in the home and are in need.” The push toward Christmas is an arduous task for the workers of the Salvation Army, as they struggle to provide as much as they can for the surrounding community. “Sometimes we’re so busy doing for others that we forget to do for ourselves. Suddenly

Christmas is here and we realize that we haven’t bought a turkey for us and instead we have meat loaf,” Spousta adds with a chuckle. “But it still tastes good, and you know you’ve done some good for other people. We take the entire week after Christmas off!” While Christmas is a time of cheer, festivities and the anticipation of Santa Claus, for some families in Lea County, providing Christmas for their children can be challenging. That is where the men and women of the Salvation Army step in, providing food, comfort and ultimately the very essence of Christmas to those who need it most.

While Christmas is a time of cheer, festivities and the anticipation of Santa Claus, for some families in Lea County, providing Christmas for their children can be challenging.


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A Southern California Norwegian in New Mexico by Gina Kelley R U I D O S O D I R E C TO R O F TO U R I S M

M

y great-grandmother — a.k.a. “Grandma Carrie” — emigrated from Norway to North Dakota when she was a teenager. After marrying and having a few kids, she said “I didn’t leave Norway to freeze to death in North Dakota,” so they packed up the kids in the Model T Ford and moved to Los Angeles, California.

Grandma Carrie’s youngest daughter Dorothy (my grandmother) was widowed in World War II. After the war she remarried and moved to Oceanside, CA with her husband and kids. Every Christmas and Thanksgiving, we would head to L.A. from Oceanside for our holiday dinner at Grandma Carrie’s house, in the Hollywood Hills. Back then, that was a big adventure for us. Those parties gave me memories to last a lifetime. Grandma Carrie cooked for days, preparing for our arrival. Most of the Norwegian specialties that she made were sweets, but my absolute favorite part of the meal was lefsa, the perfect accompaniment for turkey and gravy. Grandma would have to make a double batch — one for before the party and one for dinner — because the kids would devour the lefsa before it ever hit the table. Picture a tortilla made of mashed potatoes, butter, and flour. Basically, you combine those ingredients, make meatballsized dough balls, roll them out until they’re super thin, toss them on a hot griddle until cooked, slather them with a ton of butter, roll them up, and devour at will. When I was in grade school, Grandma Carrie moved to South Oceanside. We had four generations of our family on one block. My great grandmother, my grandmother, my mom and our family all lived just a few doors away from one another. It must have made my dad crazy! But having my great grandmother a few doors down was a memory I will always treasure. During these years, Grandma Carrie taught my mom how to make lefsa and after grandmother died, my mom taught me. Now I am the only remaining lefsa maker in the family, which tends to makes me the most popular girl in the room.

Mom’s Lefsa Recipe Ingredients:

• enough potatoes to fill a 6-quart pot • 2 tbsp. salt • 1 lb. of butter • 1 cup of flour (more as needed)

Directions:

Fill a large 6-quart pan with peeled russet potatoes and about 1/8 cup of salt. Leave enough room for water to boil them in. Boil until the potatoes are tender, then mash them with ¾-lb butter. NOTE: Don’t use margarine or add milk to the mixture! Take the pan you mashed them in and put in the refrigerator overnight to chill. Mix: 2 cups potato mixture with ¾ cups flour. Using your hands, roll small amounts of the mixture into 1-inch diameter balls. Place balls on a heavily floured cutting board. Use a large cutting board or bread board to roll the lefsa on, then use a rolling pin with grooves in it. Keep rolling and turning, adding flour each time. This is the hardest part but once you get into the swing of it, things go quickly. Fry: This part takes a few hours, so be prepared! Mom used two electric frying pans with the temperature cranked as high as it would go. I use a big cast iron pan and a big non-stick pan on the stove with the temperature on high. Yes, this will heat up your house really fast. DO NOT PUT OIL OR BUTTER IN THE PANS… just heat them up and put the rolled lefsa in the pan. Let it cook at least a couple of minutes. When it is brown on one side, turn it over and cook for a couple more minutes on the other side. You will get the hang of it. Every once in a while you will need to remove the burned flour from the pans. Next, stack the lefsas on a paper towel to let cool (I use a cotton, lint-free kitchen towel on top of a cooling rack). Divide up into dozens, putting each dozen in a paper towel, then refrigerate in a zip-top bag. A few dozen will fit into a quart-sized bag. Just before serving, add plenty of softened butter and enjoy.


C h r i s t m a s at the P a r k s Hiking in a Winter Wonderland by Kyle Marksteiner | F O C U S O N C A RLS BA D C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R & E D I TO R

Craft for a bear! Sing in a cave! Learn to track in the snow! Local state parks and national parks across southeastern New Mexico offer unique holiday experiences that are guaranteed to make lasting memories. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is wrapping up a very special year that included Centennial celebration activities and even a visit by President Barack Obama.

PHOTOS (FROM LEFT): The Natural Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, pictured here during the winter time. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service • The Rock of Ages formation is one of many “legends” of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Photo by Peter Jones • The annual performance at the Rock of Ages drew hundreds of guests underground. Current visits are open to groups of 40. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016

Four members of the New Mexico Philharmonic performed a free concert underground on Nov. 3. It has been a few years since a similar event took place: in 1933, the Albuquerque Symphony performed “The Creation,” by Joseph Haydn, featuring a full orchestra and choir. “The park was pretty young (as a national park) when we last did this,” observed Valerie Gohlke, park spokeswoman. “We’re going to seat people at the Top of the Cross and the quartet will be across the Big Room. We don’t usually allow music in the Caverns, but because this is the Centennial it will be a special, one-time event.”

Meanwhile, the Rock of Ages performance will also take place this year. The Rock of Ages is one of the more recognizable landmarks of the Caverns underground. “Rock of Ages” is also a hymn first written in 1763 by the Rev. Augustus Montague Toplady, referencing a smitten rock in the Old Testament. The event sells out every year and has become a tradition for many families. The park held Rock of Ages ceremonies from 1928 through 1944 but then discontinued them for many years. The event resumed in 2000 and has been held ever year since with the exception of 2015, which was not


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possible because the elevators were shut down. “That’s where we turn out all the lights in the cave and give every visitor, or every other visitor, a candle lantern,” Gohlke explained. “As we walk through the cave we meet characters, such as Amelia Earhart or (longtime park superintendent) Col. Thomas Boles.” The trip begins at the elevator in the Big Room. The costumed historical figures are lined up at intervals throughout the route to the Rock of Ages. Visitors quietly reach the Rock of Ages feature in the park’s Big Room.“Then, out of the darkness, a beautiful voice sings the hymn Rock of Ages,” Gohlke shared. “Nobody knows where it is coming from.” Different local singers are invited each year to perform the song, Gohlke added. The event is limited to 40 people each evening, and children under 5 are not allowed to participate. This year’s performances will be held on Dec. 9, 10 and 16 from approximately 5:30 to 7:30pm. For more information, please call (575) 795-2232 or visit https:// www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but remains open for the rest of the year. Gohlke said visitation is usually down throughout the winter, with the exception of the holiday break. Across state lines to the south, the

big season at nearby Guadalupe Mountains is actually the fall, where thousands of visitors marvel at nature’s color scheme across McKittrick Canyon and other similar hikes. Elizabeth Jackson, Public Information Officer with Guadalupe Mountains National Park, said the “Lunch with the Rangers” program at Pratt Cabin is especially popular. “Amphitheater programs will also carry on into November,” Jackson stated. “Our camping numbers always start to go up as soon as the weather gets cooler and people come to camp,” she shared. “The program at the amphitheater begins at 6:30 or 7pm, depending on when it gets dark.” The Guadalupes are closed on Christmas Day, though people with camping permits can remain at the park. There are also rangerguided hikes offered through the winter months. “We identify animal tracks and talk about how animals prepare for winter,” Jackson explained. “The scenery stays beautiful.” The park’s popular “Coffee with a Ranger” program also remains active through the winter season, at the visitor’s center. For schedule updates on ranger-guided trips within the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, visit the park’s website at https://www.nps.gov/gumo/ index.htm Meanwhile, at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park overlooking Carlsbad, the holiday

While winter at Guadalupe Mountains National Park doesn’t attract as many visitors as the fall color season, the snowcapped mountain peaks offer a majestic source of beauty. Photos courtesy of Guadalupe Mountains National Park

PHOTO:

Millionaire Pie My favorite holiday memories during the pre-children portion of my life revolve around Christmases spent at our family ranch. I get the warm and fuzzies when I think back about spending the day cooking delicious meals with my great-grandmother and the other women in our family while the men did who knows what down at the barn, out in the pastures or in the living room gathered around the fire. I honestly don’t even remember if we exchanged gifts, but seeing as how there were so many of us, I doubt it. The gift I cherish most of all is that of quality family time and bonding in the kitchen! After having children, I still cherish the little things, like our annual tradition of making cookies for Santa together and attending candlelight church service. Each year we buy our kids new pajamas (mostly so they look half-decent in the million-plus photos we take!) and a new Christmas book, and we always read and discuss the most important Christmas story of all – the birth of Jesus. Christmas morning usually consists of my husband putting things together, me picking up wrapping paper and searching for the batteries we bought but didn’t want to put in stockings or gift boxes, and our children testing everything out. Oh, and each year I make monkey bread that my children nibble on throughout the morning while my husband and I drink our body weight in coffee! This recipe isn’t necessarily one of my favorites, but I have fond memories of making it with my great-aunt, Connie Walters, and my grandmother, Barbara Bedingfield . It was (and still is) one of my mom’s favorite pies, so it was a staple at Thanksgiving! - Staci Guy

Ingredients: • 2 cups powdered sugar • 1 8oz. pkg cream cheese • 1 tsp vanilla • 1 small container Cool Whip • 1 cup crushed pineapple • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

Mix sugar, vanilla and cream cheese. Add pineapple, pecans and cool whip. Transfer mixture into either a graham cracker pie crust or regular pie crust (both are delicious!). Refrigerate.

2016 | FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS

61


season is celebrated with back-toback weekend activities. There is no charge for the events, though regular admission fees to the zoo itself still remain. On Dec. 3 a local group of handbell performers will provide holiday music at the visitor’s center. “The event begins at 11am.,” noted Kathryn Law, park ranger. “All of this happens with volunteers,” Law explained. “It’s just a wonderful time of the year up here. It’s also a nice time to visit the animals, since many of them are much more active during the cooler months.” On Dec. 10, from 1:00 to 3:00pm, the Living Desert will celebrate its popular “Holiday with the Animals” event, which has been going on for decades. Park staff place dried fruit into egg cartons to provide the animals with a special treat. Local youth make cards wishing their favorite desert animals

a merry Christmas. The park also celebrates with craft tables and face painting. “We also have our Giving Tree up all of December,” Law explained. “We collect donations such as nonperishable food items, books and toys and give them out to local charities.” The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park is closed on Christmas Day only. Winter hours are 9:00am to 5:00pm., with the final entrance into the zoo at 3:30pm. For more information, please visit http:// www.emnrd.state.nm.us/spd/ livingdesertstatepark.html. Psalm 145:5 states, “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.” Celebrating at least a portion of the Christmas holidays at one of the area’s natural wonders may just be the right recipe to tap into the true meaning of the holiday.

PHOTOS: Holidays with the Animals, at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park. • Face painting and crafts are popular during the annual Holidays with the Animals event, but children really enjoy making cards for the Living Desert’s permanent residents. • Every year, local musicians celebrate Christmas season with a bell performance at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park. Photos courtesy of the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens

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FOCUS ON THE HOLIDAYS | 2016


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Oney’s “Trash” Recipe Although I was born in Texas and grew up in Arizona, I have been coming to Ruidoso since a very young age. I’m very thankful that my grandparents bought a historic cabin in Upper Canyon in the 1950s, and it has been in our family ever since. I now live in Ruidoso, less than a mile from that very cabin, in large part thanks to all those summers I spent in Ruidoso with my grandparents. One Christmas when I was very young I heard my grandfather call my grandmother “Honey.” Being a child still learning to grasp language skills, I tried to repeat him but I was too young to pronounce it correctly. Thus, from that moment on, all of the grandkids called her Oney for the rest of her life. To this day, one of Oney’s holiday recipes in particular stands out as a family favorite. She called it, quite simply, “trash,” I think because she would throw anything she’d find in the cupboard into the mix. The key to this recipe is the bacon grease, which Oney used to collect and store in an old Folgers can. Every time we make her famous treat, it fills the entire house with the smell of delicious snacking and reminds us of holiday cheer. From my family to yours, happy holidays! - Leroy Smith

Ingredients:

• 4 cups rice Chex • 4 cups wheat Chex • 4 cups corn Chex • 1 cup mixed, salted nuts • 1 cup mini pretzels (sticks or traditional shapes work) • 1 cup regular Cheerios • 1 cup rye bagel chips • 3 tbsp. melted butter • 1/4 cup bacon grease • 2 tbsp. Worcester sauce • 2 tsp. seasoning salt • 1/4 tsp. onion powder • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder • 1/4 tsp. celery salt • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne or chili powder

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees and line a large sheet pan (use two, if needed) with aluminum foil. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. Heat the butter and bacon grease in a pan until the mixture is soft and runny, being careful not to burn it. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, pouring the bacon fat and butter over everything before mixing well. Pour the entire mixture on to the sheet pan(s) and distribute evenly. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool and serve. This treat can be stored in an air-tight container or frozen for future noshing.

TREE HUNTING My Favorite Holiday Tradition by Alyx Duncan C O N T R I B U TO R TO F O C U S M A G A Z I N E

R

uidoso is my home. I moved there in the 5th grade and graduated from Ruidoso High School (go Warriors!) in 2003. It’s funny because I never saw myself raising a family here. I went out on my own but as soon as I had my first son, I decided that Ruidoso is where my kids should grow up. One of my favorite parts of living in Ruidoso during the holidays is tree hunting. Every year, we bundle everyone up and head out into the forest. We sing carols, do some offroading in our little family-mobile, and hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. Usually, my kids pick one that is half dead. We call them Charlie Brown trees. In my OCD fashion, it’s sometimes difficult to let them have their way. I want one that’s full, even, and easy to decorate. Usually, however, they are so proud of the little tree that they pick that I let them have it anyway. This is a wonderful tradition I hope my kids will remember for generations to come.

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‘tis the Season for Drone Sharks! by Kyle Marksteiner

E

C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R & E D I TO R O F F O C U S

very year, my father makes a “family present” purchase that is basically some sort of electronic gadget for everyone to play with on Christmas Day. The fact that us kids are now all in our 30s and 40s hasn’t altered this selection one bit. We go through remote control cars, drones, electronic submarines — if it has batteries and is probably breakable, we buy it. Most of the purchases are lucky if they survive through Dec. 27. My absolute favorite was the year my dad bought a giant, remote control, inflatable shark, which we took turns piloting around the living room and then outside. It really confused the neighbors. The shark actually survived for months in the guest bathroom. We also have a “family war” in which we line up action figures on two sides and shoot at them with dart guns. The years have passed, but the tradition still stands. The only difference is that spouses and grandchildren are now playing as well. Electronic sharks and gun battles aren’t, traditionally speaking, inspirational Christmas memories, but the love and laughter these activities bring out in a very close-knit family sure are.


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