An Old Beginning: When I drove up to the house 9 miles out of Estancia, I was met by two very friendly dogs, one full size dog and a smaller version. The smaller version barked merely to hear itself speak. The tail was wagging. The bigger dog felt the need to smell my Levis for the two dogs and two cats that I own. But better yet was the warm welcome of Beverly and Roy Smith. I try to bring a conversation starter when I meet folks, so I brought a cake. You see, I was on a journey to pick up some more art from the artists in the Estancia Valley with the purpose of hanging it in the new free Justice Art League. It is in the new courthouse at Edgewood and we welcome all comers. You must have art with a Southwestern theme; however, we are very liberal in that interpretation. We do have cards with the artist’s name and phone number on them. We do not sell art like a craft show. This is a gallery, but we do allow customers to have the number to call the artists if they are interested in a picture.

Well, that trip was worth the drive. Roy let me take a pencil and graphite drawing called, “No Vacancy.” It was a tumble-down old adobe homestead from back in the past. We have all seen this picture when we drive anywhere in the East Mountains. There was no room in the house because some rambling cows had decided to get out of the sun and take over the place. I have seen a lot of art in my day from adults to kids, and I have taught basic art to both. I love art and that’s why I know how much talent we have in this community. Back to the artist: Roy’s bio says he was born in Louisiana and left there in the 50s. “I’ve been punching cows for most of my life and I did some artwork when I was able,” he said. “I used to do some bronzes in the 60s and 70s. I went on tour with a Rolls Royce event that had items featuring Charlie Russell out of Austin, Texas.”

From the look of Roy’s work, he really is a cowboy with real cows and horses at his house. And his drawings of horses are terrific. His lovely wife, Beverly, helps keep him straight. She was a nurse till she retired, and she has an office with all that is needed to handle a great artist. So now Roy is, “sort of retired,” and doing Western art, he said. “That subject I am very familiar with.”

Drop by and see all the great stuff at the Justice Art League’s gallery, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s free.

A New Beginning: I got word from Carol Thompson that Timothy, her son, a former Melodrama Masters actor, was graduating from New Mexico Tech in Socorro. I have some interest in Tim. He has appeared in more than five of my plays, in roles like a pirate, a viking, a sheriff. You name it and Tim did it. He learned his lines and stood in line for the Domino’s Pizza that I fed the young actors on Fridays. He never complained when I cooked and fed them either. Then there were the times he was waiting to go on. Tim never missed his cues, even when he was reading a large (300 to 600 page) book.

“Tim, put that book down and get ready to go on.”

“I’ve got it Mrs. White.”

And he always did. Now this may embarrass Tim, but I don’t care. We hear enough bad news. How about a young man graduating with a bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering in just four years? Wow! Give him a hand, let’s hear the applause! (It took me 6 years to get a four-year degree in Communications, English, Journalism and Drama.) As the director I always told them, “No actor can be taller than the director. I am 5-foot-1.” In this one thing he did not listen to me. He still has reddish hair (he was perfect as Hagar), but he grew. I believe he is now a little above 6 feet tall. So, he is not perfect, but I bet his family think he’s pretty special and so do I. Break a leg, young man. You have the whole world to conquer.

Roaring Mouse, leave your sword at home, out.