The RHS Letter Club Picnic
Betty Boellner - Jones
on the highway twelve miles east of Roswell, up and over the
formidable Commache Hill, a right turn at the signpost took
you to it. The site of the RHS Letter Club picnic, the long
awaited event in May before graduation.
Lakes State Park, even the name held mystery back then, nights
where chalky silent roads smooth as velvet angled searchingly
between hidden lakes like some other world landscape.
On that afternoon it was the exciting place to be, ‘letter
guys' were at their best, swimming and diving in a tiny pool
walled off from the huge Lea Lake,-- who knew then it was 90
ft. deep way out there? Girls were watching the boys play touch
football in the sand while the smoky scent of hamburgers being
grilled by those dedicated Roswell mothers made everyone remember
it was ‘the picnic of the year.'
had to change from their swimsuits into something more decent
before the marshmallow roast at dusk. Otherwise there were those
disapproving frowns from the elders. Little groups stood around
smoking fires singing to songs on a car radio tuned to KSWS
HE dedicated that to HER? And she requested, Les Paul and Mary
Ford's, "Just One More Chance," to HIM? A dreamy tune–
anyway, he wasn't listening to it now, he was with someone else.
No more chances.
chaperones have been busy policing couples straying off by themselves
into clusters of mesquite and salt bush,-- the air is cooling,
the sunset brilliant across the Pecos Valley below,–mixing
shades of mauve, gold and scarlet. It's a soft night with a
full moon edging up over craggy rocks surrounding the lake.
Maybe if you shiver a little, he'll offer to let you wear his
letter sweater on the way home. But you'd have to give it back
to him then.
Corn is blowing his whistle, time to be packing up and heading
home. And no one wants to leave. Now which car did you ride
out in? Don't want to ride back with them,-- ask around and
find another ride home with a couple more exciting. Found someone
who has room, so let's go with them. A long ride back, you hope.
caravan of departing cars leaves a chalky wake in the moonlight,
you don't drive fast, you want to linger. Another year,-- and
another picnic,-- and memories.