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Hidalgo County Herald
Lordsburg, New Mexico
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December 28, 2012     Hidalgo County Herald
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December 28, 2012
 

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HIDALGO COUNTY HERALD FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2012 9 "As I Remember" by Allen "Hook" Hill Editor's Note: Longtime Lordsburg resident, historian, storyteller and poet Allen "Hook" Hill has written hun- dreds of stories and poems. Back in the 1980s he began writing a column en.titled "As I Remember.'" With his permis- sion, these col- umns have been dusted off and will appear in the Hidalgo County Herald from time to time. Hook, Allen Hook Hill who is 91, still lives in Lordsburg. This column appeared in the Lordsburg Lib- eral on December 27, 1991. By ALLEN "HOOK" HILL/ Lordsburg There is something about the holiday season that drives back the calendar to days gone by. For a couple of weeks now we have been on topics concerning World War II and my thoughts are still locked there, as Christmas and the festive season hit midstream. I suppose being in far away places during the periods we love and cherish emphasizes the hurt we feel because of separation from family. It was Christmas season in 1943. I was aboard ship and we had been dispatched to the Aleu- tian Islands. Our ship had been in dry dock near Seattle for sev- eral weeks getting outfitted for the cold country. We had enough foul weather gear stowed aboard to take care of two ships, we thought, until we neared our des- tination. The ship was crammed with everything imaginable when departure day rolled around. We pulled out of Puget Sound about a week before Christmas. We had what I would term a delightful cruise up the Canadian Coast, then north through the in- side passage to Ketchikan, Alaska, where we stopped long enough for all the crew to have a few hours liberty. We filled our water tanks at a stop somewhere around Juneau, then set sail for Kodiak, due west across the Gulf of Alaska. Filling our water tanks sounds rather strange to mention but the fact is, on a small ship, fresh water is at a premium because it is obtained from either a shore installation or you make your own. Making our own consisted of run- ning the "evaporator" which is sort of a still that uses seawater, turns it to steam, dumps the salt residue then condenses the steam back to water. Ours was a cantankerous cuss that had to be tended every second or the water tanks would be filled with brine. At best, the "fresh" water tasted a mite oily. Needless to say we filled, the tanks anywhere and everywhere we stopped at shore bases. But back to the ranch. We shoved off for Kodiak, on a smooth sea, but weather up in that neck of the woods can best be described as a "dog." We had been out about half a day when the "dog" began to growl a little. In a couple of hours the growl changed to a bark and before long it was downright hysteria. A wild storm it was and it turned us ev- ery way but loose, including in- side out. We battled the beast to near exhaustion, ours, that is, but Mother Nature prevailed when our rudder cable snapped and sent us foundering. We were trying to go west but the storm drifted us north and there wasn't anything we could do about it. An almost superhuman effort by our machinists and metalwork- ers resulted in a makeshift steer- ing mechanism that allowed our navigators to gain a measure of control. Somehow they got us into Seward, which was at that time of year a windswept stretch of snow and ice with everything at a near standstill. We felt like sailors ma- rooned on a desert island, ex- cept for the fact that we were not so gradually freezing to death. Too much foul weather gear? You are kidding me. We couldn't put on enough clothes or coats or anything else to keep warm. I blessed the day they hauled that stuff aboard. I've been to a good many places in the world and had feel- ings of all sorts, shapes an~t sizes. I know not how Seward is today or how it was in better weather in those days. But the feeling of utter isolation and loneliness I had in that remote, frozen part of the world as the storm blew itself out will prob- ably never be duplicated in my life. There we spent the Christ- mas of 1943...and the remain- der of what we call the holiday season. It took nearly three weeks for our repair parts to come in and some time beyond that for installation to be com- pleted. The storm stayed with us for much of the time. I can't remember one incident of merriment...except the knowl- edge that it was good to be alive and understand what the season was all about. It is not a particularly pain- ful memory, but it is graphic. It also serves as a reminder of how good things really are most of the time. ' Hope you had a nice Christ- mas this year and best wishes for the holiday season. Hook and June hookjune @ hotmail, com New Hope ee moments and.suapa/ses for you to cher/sh forever/ 0Ep Fgg p-F-op- E LIMIT Community Clean-Up a success A Community Clean-Up was held last Saturday in Lordsburg, with local youth groups (including the Border PatrolYouth Explorers, pictured above) and others joining in the effort. There was nearly 200 pounds of garbage collected as a result of the event. Courtesy photos get,braise llah t s! I z0 z Happy New Year To You Happy New Year to y0u! :%/,& May"'every great new day e" o .B.'ring you sweet surprises-- . Happy New " ear to you, And when the new ? ear s done, May the next },ear be even better, Full of pleasure, joy and fun. Hopg +Ms Re, v Yga~ ]:wings lou: Ropes for a bright future Affecti0n&t0ve i! ,i Peace for the heart ? / that's unilimited% Year-round fun. i" Wishing you a'N.. N Happy New Year! Lordsburg-Hidalgo County tuber of Commerce And not just tranquility but God's peace. < ** blessin and your cares are few. IIAPP tlOLIDAY I"O ALL OUR I Ring the bells of a New Year, . +'Let them toll 2 .... - ........... the Day. Love and Luck and Happiness- May they come your way.