I’ve worked with hundreds of reporters and editors. I’ve interviewed thousands of artists (more than 1,200 of you have been Artists of the Week, not counting all the groups, spouses and parent-child duos) and I’ve shared fiestas, plays, concerts, and other special events and life-changing historical events with millions of you in the Borderlands and beyond.
I’ve been with the Las Cruces Sun-News since 1994, in old and new buildings at the corner of Alameda and Las Cruces Avenue, and in a hotel ballroom and temporary quarters on Idaho Street, after the 2011 fire.
My youngest current newsroom colleague was a little baby when then-editor Harold Cousland called me in Florida and suggested it was time to move back to New Mexico, this time to the Southern part of the state. Grandson Alexander the Great wasn’t even a gleam in the eyes of his parents, who had not yet met. He just turned 20 and now lives in the Pacific Northwest, but on Facebook, he still lists Las Cruces, where he spent many of his fun formative years, as his hometown.
I’ve known for a while, but it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. As I pack up the art and artifacts, and photo discs and lots and lots of newspapers, I wonder how my little corner cubicle can hold so many memories. And so much stuff.
It could have been a lot worse. I salvaged what I could after the fire put an end to the old brick building and urban wildlife preserve that was my funky home base for so many years. Those vats and cartons are occupying a corner of my garage. I’m still hoping to find a suitable home for boxes of 35mm negatives of my first ten years, reporting on life in Las Cruces. I’d like to work with a local institution to do an artist of the week retrospective exhibit, or maybe even a book.
There are lots of plans in the works. I want to do a new edition of my first book, “Tenny Hale: American Prophet,” with some updates on the still-unfolding, remarkably accurate prognostications of the most extraordinary individual I’ve ever met. And maybe, work on a play or movie script based on the true life adventures of a skeptical, then-20-something newspaper city editor encountering a source who had predicted the Watergate scandals, by name, four decades before the actual break-ins changed our nation.
I have plans for two works of fiction I’ve written, too. And I’d like to find new ways to share tales of my querencia, Las Cruces. When my amigos, some of the most astute people on the planet, conferred back in the mid-1990s, the consensus was that, “Las Cruces is the place where the remnant, la raza cosmica, the great souls of the planet, have decided to gather, pitch their tents and make their last American stand.”
They were right, I believe. I’ve met and interviewed many of those great souls, including visitors, transplants and remarkable New Mexico natives.
I’ve been fortunate to see a lot of the world and live in many exotic places. I’ve never come close to finding any place I’ve loved as much as Las Cruces. There is sweetness, spirituality, artistic talent, judiciously applied brain power, and a spirit of adventure, caring, compassion, patience and creativity that can bring out the best in us all. Las Crucens know how to make dreams come true, sometimes with what seem like impossibly limited resources. We work hard and want the best for new generations.
There’s something very special about Las Cruces and its people. I wonder if its magic can be captured in a book, or a TV series. I’d like to try.
In the meantime, mil gracias to you for sharing so much with me: your stories, your fiestas, your history and culture, your visual and performing artistry, your paintings, sculptures, books, poems, plays, movies and visions, your triumphs and tragedies (and your triumphs over tragedy and adversity) and helping me tell the world about your creativity and your stainless steel souls.
I’ve made some of the best friends of my lifetime here, and the soulmates I came in with have come to love Las Cruces as much as I do.
Sept. 30 will be my last day at the Sun-News, at a job I’ve loved and held longer than any other in my life. It was time for what some call retirement, but I prefer to think of as a change of venue. I’m looking forward to volunteering to support some of my favorite causes, spending time with friends and family and sharing life lessons learned, strategies to help us be our best selves in what can be a tough and challenging world.
God willing, we’ll have many more adventures here together.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at @derricksonmoore on Twitter and lascrucesstyle.blogspot.com