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IT’S A L I F E S T Y L E! August 31, 2012


Mystery MAN

The world of Rick Geary

Serving all of New Mexico . . . and the rest of the world! photo by Nejron Photo

photography by Helene Kobelnyk

“If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world.� - J.R.R. Tolkien

VIVA what?

by Helene Kobelnyk

When I was asked to write a weekly feature for the arts and entertainment magazine of the local newspaper, I discovered that I not only enjoyed the process but it gave new meaning to my photography. During my tenure there, my interviewing skills improved, my writing became more evocative and so did my photography. The feedback I received from readers was that my features were engaging and fun to read, in spite of the distracting reality that newsprint is a poor medium for quality images. So, in early July, when this publication abruptly “changed direction” and became a mindless directory of “entertainment” information, without real substance—our resort community was left with a supplement with no pretense of what once had been an intelligent, alternative magazine. For me, an opportunity was born. Because I have lived and worked in Ruidoso and Lincoln County for more than 20 years, I have a pretty good pulse on the interests of residents and visitors alike. Provincialism is a real danger in close-knit, rural areas like ours, and education via compelling reading material and attractive visuals is one avenue to expand one’s world view. What began as an effort to promote my writing and photography has evolved into a venue for community building, entertainment, and education—focusing on people with amazing stories—and featuring gifted writers and photographers of all styles. Because newsprint is no longer cost effective, most magazines have already gone to online formats, with many publishers discarding print altogether. Almost everyone has an ipad, so it was important to make VIVAcini both ipad and mobile friendly. I also chose a program that allowed the finished product to be hosted directly on the website server so that statistics are more accurate to track. After the first two issues, the “I” became a “WE” based on belief in a goal, abiding respect and a profound understanding that content has to be king—that makes the writer-publisher-editor relationship critical when it comes to an online presence and marketing via the social networks. We look for writers with something interesting to say, and a clever way of drawing the reader into their universe, and the editing is done with an eye to preserving unique styles. Some columnists are local and others not. Some contribute on a weekly basis, others bi-weekly. Continued on page 5

Helene Kobelnyk



table of contents Not To Be Missed AN INSPIRING VISTA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Exclamation Point! VIVAwhat? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Cover Story RICK GEARY - MAN OF MYSTERY. . . . . . . . 7 Dennis Dunnum TALES FROM THE PLAGUE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Helene’s Scene RED FEATHER THEATER. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Katherine Umberger KAT ATTACK ADVICE COLUMN . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Jack Shuster GERONIMO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Pete’s Perspective LUCKIEST MAN ALIVE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Publisher Helene Kobelnyk Editor Lucina Sarber Creative Director Greg Sarber Photographer Helene Kobelnyk Writers Peter Brickey Debe Campbell Dennis Dunnum Georgene Inks Helene Kobelnyk Dr. JC “Kay” Neine Lucina Sarber Jack Shuster Katherine Umberger


RUIDOSO NM REQUEST FOR SUBMISSIONS: Please feel free to express yourself! Those interested in submitting articles, polemics, promotional materials, photography, artwork, etc. for publication in VIVAcini, submit to: Helene Kobelnyk at Articles should be in the 500-600 word range and emailed as WordDoc attachments. Photos must be high resolution, 200-300 dpi and submitted as jpgs. VIVAcini is published each Friday so “get us your stuff” no later than the previous

Tuesday at 12 noon. WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF VIVAcini “where a sense of community takes flight, and knows no bounds!” All content, photographs and artwork are the intellectual property of the contributing author, photographer and/or artist and are protected under copyright law. Reprduction of any part of this e-zine without the express permission of the author, photographer and/or artist and publisher is expressly prohibited. All rights reserved.

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As a photographer, I have a following of 10,000 on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, so when Vivacini was launched it “piggybacked” off these followers. I also have a remarkable network of Twitter followers who are very generous with their retweets. Businesses are excited to hear how the magazine is promoted online, its social reach, etc. They know their ad will be a work of art because that’s how the magazine is set up – as “eye candy.” And it’s easy to purchase advertising directly on the website. As of today, Vivacini is two months old. Readership has increased 250% since the first issue, and has “a social reach of 110,000 worldwide” (a much more realistic measure of readership than Facebook “Likes!” and includes other networks). Statistics show a steady gain in visitor/reader numbers as well as geographical reach. Our “little” magazine not only has readers ACROSS the Southwest and the U.S. but also in Europe, Australia, South Africa, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and India! Black Star Rising, a closely followed blog/website on all aspects of photography, is the ONE blog read by photographers who usually don’t read blogs. Because of its enormous popularity, it’s difficult to get accepted and they rarely advertise for guest bloggers.When I sent them my idea with a link to Vivacini, I was immediately accepted— this is important for me, personally, and for VIVAcini. Photography, my first love, has become more conceptual and daring, and my writing more free-flowing and dramatic.VIVAcini has spawned a whole new surge of creativity in me. I now look at life and people primarily in terms of the beautiful stories that are out there ready to be shared through words and images, regardless of our geographical proximity. So, the adage: “do what you love and the money will follow” is true, provided the mission and motive are well defined. Beyond that, I believe anything based on selfless love cannot be less than successful.

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Mystery The world of Rick Geary MAN

Nationally renowned illustrator, cartoonist, writer and Carrizozo resident, Rick Geary, has been called “The King of True Crime” for his series of ‘who-done-it’ books. Wonderfully illustrated, and pain stakingly researched, Rick expertly culls through multiple sources of the historical record to write books on murder mysteries like that of Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, H.H. Holmes (aka ‘The Beast of Chicago’), and slightly less bloody “unsolved” cases like the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby or the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln— to date he’s written 16 of them. The Lindbergh book was named a “Publishers Weekly Best Book,” and has been described as: “A fascinating story, of course without a fully satisfactory conclusion, replete with savory details and unsavory people as only Geary can masterfully relate with his understated dark humor.” “Without a fully satisfactory conclusion” is how Rick intentionally crafts each of his books. The world may have already concluded who

by Lucina Sarber



the killer was, but Rick says he is drawn to unsolved murders because they are just that. “I don’t conclude. I analyze all the competing versions, then I bring them together into what I hope is a good read. It is an obsession of mine that began in the ‘70s when a friend who was a former cop shared some of his case files and that was it, I was hooked.” Rick’s own life, which began in Wichita, Kansas, is itself a mystery. From a very young age he was told by the parents that raised him that he had been adopted at two months old—dad was a banker and his adopted mom was a stay-at-home mom. His biological parents, his nationality and lineage remain unknown to him. “As early as I can remember, like four or five years of age, I preferred to sit in my room and draw. All I wanted to be was a cartoonist. As I got older, my parents encouraged me, though they did want me to figure out how to make a living at it and not become a starving artist.” For four years, the University of Kansas’ fine arts/visual arts school became home— it is here where Rick began to focus on becoming a cartoonist and commercial artist. After obtaining his undergraduate degree, he began work on his master’s degree in filmmaking. He had always been a movie buff


and was thrilled when he found out his mom’s second cousin was ‘20s silent-film star, Louise Books, also know as “Lulu” for her infamous character in “Pandora’s Box.” But, more on Lulu, later. Rick headed for Hollywood hoping to find work in the industry as a filmmaker or screenwriter. Before too long he fell back into cartooning, “I realized I was more suited to the solitary life of a cartoonist than the collaborative one needed to do cinema.” A few years later, Rick was offered a job as staff cartoonist at the weekly newspaper in Wichita, and returned home. “But I realized I needed to be on the West Coast there was just a lot of opportunity and activity for my particular talents.” Rick vacationed in San Diego and fell in love


with the area—Pacific Beach soon became home and he was hired at the weekly newspaper, “The Reader” —“35 years later I still do a column for them called ‘Straight from the Hip.’” San Diego is also where in 1986 he met and fell in love with his wife Deborah. He began doing freelance work in the hugely popular comic book industry that was in its heyday. Rick’s work began appearing in National Lampoon, MAD magazine, Dark Horse Comics and Heavy Metal, among countless other publications. Over the years, Rick’s cartoon style became refined and recognizable—and his following and reputation solidified—his fans get to meet him at the annual San Diego ComicCon International, a massive confab of more than 150,000 fans of the super hero, sci-fi

and fantasy genres. But he also pays a visit once a year to San Francisco’s “APE” (Alternative Press Expo), which is home to the edgier and more underground personal comic creators as well as Japanese animé. Rick’s national clients include post card collectors and he has shown his work at the Wichita Post Card Club’s annual show in October for 30 years. This kind of a national following and clientele means he can live anywhere—like the four years he and Deborah lived in Greenwich Village in New York City in the late ‘80s. Rick was illustrating for the New York Times Book Review. By 2005 he and Deborah had relocated to Carrizozo, a tiny hamlet of perhaps 800 people. “It was time to leave San Diego— time for some peace and quiet. Besides, in order to service my clients, all I need is the Internet and a post office. It takes Rick about a year and a half to complete one of his books. “It takes six months to do my research and the remaining time is spent on the design and laying out of my ‘exaggerated cartoon art,’ as some call it.” Rick plans to tackle the haunting tale of the “Black Dahlia,” Los Angele’s brutal unsolved murder case. In 1947, Elizabeth Short, a 22 year-old waitress had been hideously mutilated—her nude body, drained of all its blood, was severed in half at the waist, and left for all to see, posed gar-


ishly on a city street. Like Jack the Ripper during his reign of terror, the killer of the Black Dahlia taunted police investigators—his identity remains a mystery. Also on the horizon is the aforementioned famous cousin, Louise Brooks, the darling of silent movies who was so headstrong and independent back in the ‘20s, she walked away from it all on the verge of huge stardom—telling Hollywood to stuff it. She went on to have a brief career in Europe, where critics claimed she was more compelling than Dietrich and Garbo. Louise tried to return to Hollywood but there was a price to pay, she had been blacklisted. The hard-drinking, controversial “Lulu” who throughout her life encouraged the belief that she was a lesbian, ended up in New York, and became a “call girl” to survive. Louise was known for her takeno-prisoners, quick with a cuss word and icy, standoffish demeanor—now Rick is ready to immortalize his cousin further. Rick is working on a fictional “whodone-it” and Louise Brooks is the model for the female detective involved in solving the case. Picture Humphrey Bogart, only with major attitude, and of course, high heels. Only the “understated dark humor” of Rick Geary will be able to pull this off with all the elegance and flair Louise would require.




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Alderman Library, University of Virginia

>>> “Stories from the Plague - Whitman, for Real” by Dennis Dunnam

Boy, it’s a real challenge to share some experiences in 1000 words or less. Everything in my life seems to be connected to everything else and I start to tell a story but then discover that so much depends on another story (or six). But here goes. This started out to be about the sensuality and wonder of the world as seen through the writings of beloved American poet Walt Whitman, but in order to do that, I have to start with my friend Bruce. It is not an exaggeration to say that Bruce was, physically, the most beautiful man in Albuquerque and, while not unaware of it, he was just Bruce—hilarious, gregarious and loving. Bruce was an actor for his passion and did landscaping to make a living. He lived a charmed life, warm and openhearted—he related to everyone around him through the aura of his physical beauty and people responded to him through that “specialness.” That was before AIDS. Now, I don’t know why things happen but perhaps Bruce needed to learn one final lesson or, perhaps, it was I who needed to learn something. His “opportunistic infection”— one that takes advantage of a destroyed immune system—was Kaposi’s Sarcoma, a very rare type of cancer that first attacks the skin and then moves from there to the internal organs. Near the end of his life, Bruce’s body was decimated. No two square inches were free of ugly brown/red lesions. As he sat propped up in bed, knees up, the edematous fluids collecting in his body would seek a watery level and it looked like he was sitting in a weird, invisible pool of sorts—his boney chest, head and knees stuck above the

rest of his body—his legs and feet bloated from excess fluid settling at the lowest spots. I spent many days and nights with my friend in those last weeks bringing him news of the outside world and reading him to sleep on difficult nights. Bruce loved Walt Whitman’s collection of works, “Leaves of Grass,” and specifically, “Song of Myself.” As you may or may not know, Whitman was a homosexual, and a conscientious objector who lived in the midst of the Civil War. He worked as a nurse, caring for the countless wounded, dying and dead from our country’s horrific internecine bloodbath. One would think that the experience would have hardened a man’s soul but in Whitman it only seemed to accentuate his innate gentleness and humanity—albeit infused with a palpable sadness over why so many failed to see what he saw and instead, callously murdered and trampled one another. In “Song of Myself,” he refers to all fellow humans as ‘comrades’ (long before communism perverted that lovely word). Granted, Whitman waxes most eloquently about men but he doesn’t stop there. He speaks of the bodies and souls of all people as being incredibly sensuous and he delights in being in the company of warm, intelligent, lively folk—especially the working classes, they were the ones who most freely used their bodies for work and play. “Of physiology from top to toe I sing, not physiognomy alone nor brain alone is worthy for the Muse, I say the Form complete is worthier far. The Female equally with the Male I sing.” Moreover, Whitman finds beauty and poignancy not only in other people, but in each and every simple thing around him, he revels in it—Whitman finds life even in death. (CONTINUED on page 24)


Helene’ s Scene The Red Feather Theater Company Setting the Stage for Tomorrow’s Leaders by Helene Kobelnyk


a time and place where the world seems to revolve around competition-based activities and public education is pressured to produce “leaders” and “innovators,” the Red Feather Theater Company nurtures Ruidoso High School’s budding playwrights, actors, musicians and composers without fanfare and with infrequent accolades. “Drama queens” are rare in this group of high-energy thespians, led by the dynamic and seemingly tireless Georgene Inks, drama teacher for the Ruidoso schools. Together with her students, she established Red Feather four years ago and oversees every aspect of its professional theater production. According to the student president of the company and other founding members, “We wanted something more professional than a high school club so we would be taken seriously.” Unlike many other school programs that are considered extra-curricular, Red Feather receives no school funds and is entirely self-sufficient through donations and ticket sales. Across the country, dismal academic performance and rising dropout rates have placed public education under continuous scrutiny and prompted a nationwide debate about the creative skills and job readiness of today’s high school graduates. According to a recent article published by the Wall Street Journal, most high school students learn to be innovative not because of their education but despite it. “With the job landscape changing so dramatically, we don’t know what we’re preparing these kids for. What we do know is that they will have to manage diverse sectors of information quickly, know how to solve problems and be able to work with people,” relates Georgene. Experts agree that for education to be meaningful, schools need to teach students complex communication skills, creative problem solving and cooperative collaboration alongside academics such as reading and writing. The critical question is through what venue. Instead of being passive consumers in a traditional classroom, stu-

dents need to become active creators in an environment that encourages trial and error instead of penalizing failure. According to Georgene, “This is what theater has always done.” She maintains that theater is the perfect vehicle for training the 21st century work force because it is so project-based. Each member of the company is a generalist and multi-tasker, including the actors. From costume design to set production, the students collaborate in groups to accomplish each step needed for a successful production. Backstage during a performance is a flurry of quiet activity. After guiding the students in the production and direction of the play, Georgene then allows the production to become entirely student-driven and intervenes only if she deems it critical. In addition to producing four to six plays annually, Red Feather hosts “Playwright Nights” during which students use an experimental premise/hypothesis method to write, (CONTINUED on page 24)



KAT ATTACK Dear Kat, What are your thoughts on bullies and kids use of illegal substances? Do you think that they are interrelated? What can we do about this? Sincerely, Concerned

Dearest Concerned, I do think that some kids seek out illegal substances as a result of poor social skills or bulling. However, this isn’t the only reason kids will resort to these acts. The truth is, bitter words carelessly slung about by bitter, unhappy people ceaselessly skitter around sad, little minds. For many reasons, when harsh words sting innocent heads, they swirl with emotions that poison the soul— and in fact, harsh, cruel words pluck at any of us like hot, sadistic fingers, nauseatingly depleting our delicate sanity and emotional balance. Our efforts and determination to conquer the bite and unravel our deluged senses can mangle the mind and soul into a state of near imparity. If we do not succeed in conquering this darkness, it will leave a cleaved gorge were malevolent influences lurk. These influences can linger and taunt the mangled mind with enticing promises of the most coveted of all things teenagers seek: friends. For this, they will do almost anything. This is how many of these innocent “imps of desperation” often find themselves in the midst of a downward spiral of tragedy from which they struggle to escape, constantly pushed back to it with the taunting jeers and leers of their callous, oblivious “friends” and peers. A soft dancing light welcomes them as a sweet, yet pungent billow of smoke fills their senses, drawing them

by Katherine Umberger in. A comforting cloud surrounds them like the down comforter they long for to shield them from the wounding scorn that daily settles on their consciousness. Young lungs fill with the saccharine-sweet aroma— a blend of incense and nicotine while a darker sticky essence engulfs their perception making them giddy, making them forget their suffering, if only momentarily. The supple sound of laughter creeps about their feet as they sit among unabashed, pale-faced souls. They form a circle of consorts, nonjudgmental companions with only their un-named pain in common. Each eye glints with the day’s fresh onslaught of contempt and disdain—raw, burning, and unrelenting. A golden-hazed bottle on the bare floor reflects the flicker from a lone candle on the assembled sullen faces. Every one of them hungers for the hurt to stop. Laughter rises like a depraved cutthroat as the “devil’s herb” is sent around the jaded, little circle. The corrupt, distorted face of a clownish one hisses with delight at every unlucky one who chokes on the intoxicating foliage. Through this, the smoke settles quietly on their minds and clouds the sharp, pained edges. The golden “tonic” is promptly dispatched—burning down each gullet, leaving behind a shudder and a curious smile as the bitter toxin numbs their souls. The cycle repeats itself and with each round, giggles increase and chatter distracts more and more from the day’s trauma. Finally free from the taunting, biting slurs that remain of the day—consciousness is swept away just as the morning sky blows away the night stars. One by one the youthful bodies drop like flies, a heartbreaking effect— the result of bitter words carelessly rained upon innocent lives by bitter people. Like broken, forgotten dolls, they lay scattered about—asleep, lost in wonder as a new dawn pierces their fragile childlike eyes. Finally calm, finally free? (CONTINUED on page 23) 19

GERONIMO and the Massacre that started it all


ost of us have heard of the Apache leader Geronimo but most of what we know we learned at the movies. Leader of the Chiricahua Apaches, Geronimo led the ďŹ ght against the expansion into Apache tribal lands by the United States during the Apache Wars.

Geronimo, 1907, photo by Aaron B. Canady

It is true that the greatest wrongs visited upon the Apache people came from the United States government. But the history of Geronimo’s war parties began in Mexico— here is how it all began, adapted from Geronimo’s own recollections. by Jack Shuster Geronimo was born on June 16, 1829, (a birth date he gave himself), near Turkey Creek a tributary of the Gila River, in what is now the western part of New Mexico. It was in “Old Mexico” then but in reality it was Bedonkohe land. He was given the name, “One Who Yawns,” or Goyathlay in English. In recent times, Ft. Sill, Okla., Apaches have suggested that his name actually meant, “intelligent, shrewd, clever.” Goyathlay was raised with his three brothers and four sisters by his father, Tablishim, and his mother, Juana, in the Apache tradition. Mahko, his grandfather, had been chief of the Bedonkohe band of Apaches. Following the death of Tablishim, his mother took Goyathlay to live with the Chihenne, the “Red Paint People.” It was with the Chihenne band that Goyathlay reached maturity. At age 17, he was admitted into the Council of Warriors and began to lead raids on Mexican and American settlers, stealing horses—he became known for his craftiness and ferociousness. He was also given permission to marry Alope, a woman of the Nednhi-Chiricahua band. With Alope, Goyathlay fathered three children. With his wife Alope, his mother Juana, and three children to support, Goyathlay emigrated to the Big and Little Burro Mountains area of Arizona, where he met and formed a deep and lasting friendship with Mangas Coloradas (or Dasoda-hae, which means “Red Sleeves”), father-in-law of the famous Cochise. But all was not peaceful and there were historical precedents. To counter Apache raids on settlements,

the government of Spain had established “presidios,” fortified settlements, at Janos in Chihuahua and northern Opata nearly 200 years before. As late as 1835, the Mexican state of Sonora, in an allout effort to rid the Sierra Madres of the Apaches, passed a law offering 100 pesos (about one American dollar) for every scalp of an Apache warrior. By 1837, the state of Chihuahua had set a scale of 100 pesos for a warrior’s scalp, 50 for a woman’s, and 25 for a child’s. It became increasingly dangerous for any Apache to live anywhere in Apacheria. Geronimo and his Bedonkohe peers had come under the leadership and protection of Mangas Coloradas. By the 1850s, Mangas Coloradas, as chief and war leader, began a series of retaliatory raids against the Mexicans. Apache raids on Mexican villages were so numerous and brutal that no area was considered safe. That said, in the spring of 1858, the Apaches were at peace, both with the Mexican towns and with surrounding Indian tribes. On a trading trip south to Casa Grande in Old Mexico, with Mangas Coloradas leading, they stopped at the town of Janos in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, a town the Apaches called Kas-ki-yeh. It was a peaceful expedition, the women and children were along, and they stayed for several days. Every day the men went into Kas-ki-yeh to trade, leaving the camp under the protection of a small guard so that their arms, supplies, and women and children would not be disturbed during their absence. It was while most of the men were off trading that Colonel José Maria Carrasco led a company of 499 Mexican soldiers from Sonora in an attack on Goyathlay’s encampment. The Mexican troops swept down upon the campsite and butchered nearly everyone in sight. On their way back to the campground from Kas-ki-yeh, Goyathlay, and the others, were met by women and children who informed them of the massacre. Upon reaching camp, they discovered guard warriors killed, horses captured, supplies destroyed and their arms gone. Even


1886, photo by C.S. Fly

Left to right: Yanozha, Geronimo’s brother-in-law and his sons


worse, many of the women and children had been killed. Afraid that the murdering soldiers would return, the Apaches quickly disbursed and hid until nightfall. Assembled in a thicket by the river, they placed sentinels and silently filtered back into the encampment. It was then that Goyathlay discovered that among the dead were his young wife, his three small children and his aged mother. All had been brutally slain by the soldiers. Goyathlay quietly turned away from the carnage and stood by the river, alone in his grief. That night, in the Warriors’ Council, it was decided that with only 80 warriors left, without any arms or supplies— and surrounded by the Mexicans far inside Mexican territory, they could not hope to fight with any success. Mangas Coloradas gave the order to leave the dead in the camp and return at once to Arizona. Goyathlay was dumfounded. As the rest of the tribe passed him by he stood there frozen—he had no fight left, no weapon, and he was forbidden to recover the bodies of his family—he felt empty inside. He finally turned and followed the tribe in silence. The next morning, some in the band killed a small amount of game and stopped to cook and eat. Goyathlay had killed no game, and did not eat. He spoke to no one

and no one spoke to him. There was nothing to say. Goyathlay’s depression was understandable, especially his feelings of sadness and emptiness. His lack of interest in any activities and loss of energy were all signs of his deep melancholy. The writings of Goyathlay also describe his difficulty in concentrating, holding a conversation, paying attention, or making decisions that used to come fairly easily. The tribe walked for two days and three nights stopping only for meals. Finally camping near the Mexican border, they rested for two days. It was here that Goyathlay began to come out of his depression. He took some food and spoke with others who had also lost much in the massacre. But Goyathlay felt that none had lost as much as he had, he felt he had lost it all. Upon arriving home, Goyathlay found the decorations that Alope had made and the playthings of his little ones. Following the Apache way, he burned them all, even his tepee and his mother’s tepee and destroyed all her property. Goyathlay vowed vengeance upon the Mexican troopers who had wronged him, and whenever he was remi-

(CONTINUED from page 19)

Photo by MM Clarke - Oklahoma City

Geronimo with his two nieces minded of his former happy life, his heart would ache for revenge upon Mexico. His depression turned to a deep, burning anger and he hated all Mexicans for the rest of his life. The trauma he experienced in the aftermath of the slaughter of his family turned Goyathlay from a peaceful Indian into a ferocious warrior—and he carried that enraged, burning abhorrence of Mexicans until his dying day. Chief Mangas Coloradas sent him to help Cochise’s band in exacting revenge against the Mexicans. Goyathlay soon joined the famous band of Apaches known as Chiricahua and with them, took part in numerous raids into northern Mexico and across the border into U.S. territory. Over the years, Goyathlay became exceedingly bold and unafraid in his war with the Mexicans and his exploits in the Southwest have become the stuff of international legend. Still to come, Jack’s article on Geronimo’s revenge for Kas-Ki-Yah, site of the massacre and yet another one on Geronimo’s “power” and how he came to be called “Geronimo.” Jack Shuster, a social historian and cultural anthropologist, belongs to several historical societies, has been published in Western periodicals and owns Kona Cowboy Coffee of Ruidoso, NM (

All of this to say, YES, I believe that ultimately drug use is a coping mechanism for so many of our lost youth. What can we do about it? Spend time with our youth and help them learn positive coping and social skills. Take time to hear what they have to say and what they’re going through. Getting involved isn’t easy but we fail to do so at our own peril—for ourselves, our children and our country! Good luck, Concerned. Capitan resident Katherine Umberger, is a dedicated mother of two, writer, artist and world traveler. To request a Kat Attack on a certain subject or have your question featured in an upcoming issue, email her at:

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(CONTINUED from page 17) produce and evaluate the experience both as an audience and as the playwright. In all projects, Georgene insists students use the rules of improvisation: all ideas are considered valid and must be explored, and arguments are strongly discouraged and quickly resolved. When asked what they liked about theater, the students conceded that it was a way for them to channel their energy and emotions into a role on stage. “It will always be a part of our lives. We love to entertain and serve people, and hear the audience’s reaction to our plays.” While they appreciate the support, members of the company admit that they prefer to see people attend their performances rather than simply buy a ticket as a form of donation. “We want our audiences to leave their worries behind, and have a good time while we entertain them.” The joyous, vibrant and professional student activity seen during productions of the classics as well as original productions assure that Red Feather Theater Company can be considered an incubator for the future innovators emerging from this community. Plans for 2012-2013 include plays with original musical scores written and performed by Ruidoso High School student, Jacob McCaw. “Theater has been half my life,” said Jacob. His career plans include writing film scores. Heather Ryen, described as a “natural talent in art,” is responsible for costume design. Student Matthew Waters, a technical actor and makeup artist, is fondly referred to as a true “Renaissance Man and multi-tasker” — just a few of the talented members the company is preparing. In a culture where “failure” has become a dirty word and success is measured by “wins,” Red Feather provides an environment where all can pursue their passions—no one is judged by their “inadequacies” and each is encouraged to take risks. For Red Feather Theater Company, playing “make believe” has more value and benefit than anyone can imagine, and most importantly, students learn to not fear failure—and that is the essence of innovation.


(CONTINUED from page 15) Has any one supposed it lucky to be born? I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it. I pass death with the dying and birth with the newwash’d babe, and am not contain’d between my hat and boots . . . I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself . . . Before Bruce, I had read Whitman some and passably liked him. I certainly liked his romantic sentiments about the world and how much he loved being in it—how much beauty he saw in others around him. But I had never read him aloud—and, trust me, doing so suddenly transforms his work from the poetic to the musical, from a mumbled prayer it becomes an inspiring Gregorian chant. Bruce, who existed for 30-some years on the planet as one of its “graces,” had become its Quasimodo hidden away in the tower of his room. Listening to the words of Whitman extolling the beauty of pure existence and the calm knowingness of immortality—even if that meant only returning as the leaves of grass on one’s grave—was comforting to my friend. For me, beyond the joy of finding such awesome grace and life in Whitman’s spoken words, it was the pure ecstasy of those words that helped me see beyond the bloat and pain and what remained of my friend’s tortured body. It was Whitman who helped me quietly reconnect with the true sensuality, humor and love of my friend Bruce. This is the first in a series of occasional tales I will share of people I have known and lessons I learned while working during the first years of the AIDS epidemic in New Mexico from 1984-1991. White Oaks resident Dennis Dunnum is a former restaurateur, teacher, builder, model, Carrizozo town councilman, and advocate for the homeless and those suffering from AIDS. Look for his columns on life matters in “From the Edges with Love.”

Pete’s Perspective

>>> The Luckiest Man Alive This is my eighth column here at VIVAcini and I just realized that you, dear reader, do not really know me. I mean, you know that I am a “son of the South,” as Helene puts it and that I have a really weird sense of humor. But there is quite a bit that you don’t know about me and you are certainly not likely to find out everything in one issue. However, I am going to share a little about myself. I really AM the luckiest man alive. This little story starts back in April of 2008. April the fourth at around 11 a.m. to be precise. The company that I worked for refurbished commercial trailers like the ones you see at construction sites and mobile school classrooms. We would repair, re-paint and clean them making them like new. It was hard work, but it was also enjoyable because you were always doing something different. Sometimes we replaced carpet and or vinyl flooring, sometimes the siding on the outside and ALWAYS we were cleaning everything. Plumbing repairs and electrical outlet replacement were also commonplace. On the fourth of April, I was cleaning the carpets in a 24 wide classroom assembly. So that you understand what I mean when I say a “24 wide,” I mean a “classroom bundle” that consists of 24 double-wide trailers that would be interconnected once they were on-site. Anyway, while I was cleaning, I was having a very hard time catching my breath. I knew the signs of an impending heart attack and so I called my boss, Duane and asked him to take me to the hospital. I know what a lot of you are thinking. Why didn’t I just call 911? Let me just say that I am NOT going to wait on someone else if my life depends on it.

So here I am slumped in the front seat of Duane’s truck, on my way at breakneck speed, to the nearest hospital. I remember asking him to slow down so that I could die at the hospital instead of wrapped around a telephone pole. His response—either way, I was probably dead. And I have to tell you, it’s pretty hard to argue with that kind of logic! We get to the emergency room and before he can even stop the truck, I’ve already climbed out. I might have been having a heart attack, but I sure as heck was NOT going to be carried in like some kind of an invalid. Call it redneck stubbornness or foolish determination—either way, I walked through the ER doors myself. Then I died. Flat line. No breathing. No pulse. Nothing. As far as I was concerned, I was no longer having any trouble at all. I was dead. For those of you who are wondering—there was no shining light. I didn’t see any deceased relatives with loads of after life advice. In fact, it was as if God hit the “pause” button and I was put on hold. I was not aware of ANYTHING! This next part was recounted to me by someone I trust, so I think it’s reasonably accurate. However, since I was busy being dead, I am unable to verify—so take it with a grain of salt. I was being prepped for surgery within five minutes of collapsing. How is this possible? Plain and simple, I was incredibly lucky—there was a surgical team waiting in the ER for a patient being transported by ambulance for a scheduled triple bypass. This patient had the same blood type as me and I beat him to the ER by 15minutes. I got his surgical team. Ten minutes later and I am having my chest cracked open. Several attempts with the paddles were to no avail and so the decision was made to manually compress the heart to keep blood flowing throughout my pink little body. At least, until my best half could get there.


Forty five minutes later my wife shows up and is given the assessment. If I’m really lucky, I have a five percent chance of living through the night. If I’m really, really lucky, I have a very slight chance of not having massive brain damage from the vastly reduced blood flow. It took two stents and a quadruple bypass to open up my arteries enough just to get the blood flowing again. After the surgery, while I was being wheeled to the ICU, I woke up. I felt this thing in my throat and immediately started to gag, so I reached up and pulled it out. THAT surprised the hell out everyone! They thought that I was still under. We had us a short fight, which they won but only because they had me outnumbered. They put me back under and rushed me into ICU. The next day, I woke up and saw my wife. My hands were strapped to the bed, my chest really hurt and I wasn’t feeling very good and that dang pipe was back down my throat again! I signaled to my wife that I was still alive and not happy with the tied hands thing. I started to struggle and apparently the machines alerted someone because all of a sudden that room was slap full of people telling me to calm down. I didn’t want to calm down—I wanted that dang pipe OUT of my throat—now! I wanted my hands untied and until that happened we was gonna have us a real serious problem! Till one of them snuck up from behind and stuck a needle in me and off I went, back to sleep. The next morning, I woke up and my hands were free. There was no pipe in my throat and I was feeling decidedly better. My wonderful wife was still sitting there and I tried to say something but my throat was all scratchy. I was having trouble talking, but that was all right. It was starting to look like I wasn’t leaving after all. I still had all of my memories and my cognitive abilities were working just fine. I was able to understand everything that was said to me, and I was able to ask intelligent questions.

I was missing about half a day, but what the heck—I had been dead! You’ve got to expect some problems. Over all, things were starting to look up. Here is the timeline: on Friday, I had the heart attack and surgery. On Saturday, I woke up in ICU and had a very short fight, which I lost. On Sunday, I woke up untied with no pipes in my throat. By Wednesday, I was back home and walking up to the mailbox to get the mail. The doctors said I had one of the fastest recoveries they’d ever seen. I guess no one wanted me to join ‘em through that whole “eternity” thing. And I can understand that—I ain’t that easy to get along with. I’ve had a few problems in the intervening years. I survived a tornado that rolled over our house and messed up our roof about a month after the heart attack. I tripped over Tabby and re-broke my breastbone all over again. It’s still kinda loose sometimes and makes a weird popping noise. I had a pacemaker put in this past January and now I am told I’m a Type 2 diabetic—but I ain’t dead yet, so I am not complaining. I hope that you, dear reader, can now understand where my weird sense of humor comes from and why I have such a cavalier attitude toward most things, especially death. As far as I am concerned, Death and I are old friends. We have had many encounters and I no longer fear HIM as much as he apparently fears me! I hope this helps you understand me a little better. I would like to get to know each one of you better, so tell me what you like or dislike about my writing. I promise that I won’t hold it against you. Have a great day. I know that I will. Pete Brickey is a photographer, artist and writer. He and his wife reside in North Carolina. Pete prides himself on being a true “son of the South” and welcomes feedback on his column at:


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Vivacini! 31 Aug 2012  

VIVAcini! ---a lifestyle magazine published weekly for the intelligent, inquisitive and forward-thinking reader who prefers to be a “realist...