This past weekend was a very busy and rather emotional one for me. After twelve years of working in the bakery of the Walmart Supercenter in Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico (those of you familiar with my Black Horse Campground mysteries know that this is just down the road from fictional Bonney County), I pulled up stakes and transferred to the Walmart Supercenter in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Or rather, I transferred BACK to Alamogordo.
I started with Walmart almost seventeen years ago when the Alamogordo store first opened. I helped set up the store and get the bakery up and running. Then, when circumstances dictated that it was best for my family that I transfer to Ruidoso, I did so with the mixed emotions of sadness of leaving "home" and the excitement of going on an adventure, along with the feeling of doing one's duty, with a brave smile to hide the anxiety of whether it was all going to work out.
And now, it feels like I'm coming home.
Ruidoso became home to me as well, and the people at store #0851 became family... you know, the people you live with and work with and sometimes you feel you'd easily take a bullet for them and other times you want to strangle them. I'm sure coming back to Alamogordo will be the same way!
But above all, Ruidoso gave me a lot more than a place to work... it gave me the setting for my mystery series. The Black Horse Campground could only exist in the cool pines near Ruidoso. The village gave me the feel of a place like "Cheers" where everyone knows your name, and that was the kind of place I wanted Bonney County to be like in my books. Not everyone trusts every stranger that comes through--because, of course, they want to keep their home and family safe--but it's rare for a stranger to remain a stranger for long.
And now... does leaving Ruidoso mean leaving Bonney County as well? Not at all! In fact, I hope to gain a little more creative energy by moving to a new locale, perhaps meet new characters, find new things to happen. Because no matter where I am physically, my heart always carries a piece of every place I've ever been and loved.
Especially Bonney County and the Black Horse Campground!