The beauty of the high plains is a rugged beauty.  Barren landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see.  The rising of the sun, and its majestic setting… we do have incredible sunsets.  Wild plums that put on a wonderful show in the springtime.  The plants here are tough, just like the people who came to this area and called it home over a century ago.

Beautiful and lovely.  Two different things.  Lovely things are more genteel, carefully cared for, sweet little things.

To be sure, I can look around and find plenty of natural breath-taking beauty in my surroundings. But if there is anything lovely about this place, it is because of women like Jane Hilliard.  Women who chose a sunshiny yellow for their houses.  Women who planted rose bushes.  Women who organized special clubs and events to make the windswept landscape a pleasant place to live.  Women who always had on a bit of pink lipstick, never looked rushed, perfectly coiffed hair, wearing a strand of beads.  Women who called us “dear”, sharing with us the fine art of writing notes, hosting delightful parties and receptions.

It has been my privilege to know such women.  I treasure their example.


(Special thanks to my friend Jane Feland for the photo of the sunset in Amarillo last week.  It was on a day when all of us on the high plains were eating dirt… and I was marveling – yet again – at those who came before us, shaping our communities.  And this is a photo I took in 2005.  Dear friend to all of Portales, Jane Hilliard, who passed away last week, and my lovely Grandma, Clytie Calton.)


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