The neighborhood streets of Las Cruses were as quite as a ninja mouse. Shoeless Jo and I took a morning walk, pausing to visit with the few folks that are perched on their porch swings, or seated in their plastic lawn chairs, taking in the morning sun.
After visiting two coffee shops and meandering through the newly restored downtown district, I found refuge on the shaded patio of a bistro.
No matter how ambitious they may seem, I do not keep my dreams a secret. Amanda and her mother, Martha were dining at a table behind me. Striking up a conversation, I shared the mission and vision of Operation Elf Box. Amanda exclaimed how wonderful it would be to have a ‘free toy store’ in her town: creating a brighter Christmas for children who might otherwise go without.
I describe our communities past efforts and the results we’ve seen in the Northwest. It’s a simple program, an operation, one that is driven by passion and is successful because of the love that is displayed by many. My intuition tells me that Amanda is a sELFless, passionate person, and would be the perfect Resident Elf, loving people in Las Cruces. She comes up with the idea of involving her local 4-H chapter; this would include her children and their peers in this Christmas time merry-making.
The sun was to be setting in just few hours. Jo and I pawed it back to Lisa’s home. It was four o’clock in the afternoon. Something told me to hop on my bike and pedal the forty some odd miles into Texas in the cool evening hours. So I did.
Out through the country side I ride along through farm lands. It might be walnut trees that I see planted in neat rows. Their shade is welcome as I continue south. Jo takes his stance on all four furry legs, poking his head from his wagon, positioning himself so he can peek out and around the side of my panniers. He’s in heaven, absorbing the smells and sites as we roll through a few small farm towns.
When we reach the suburbs of El Paso I’m lead onto a concrete bike path that follows the basin of the Rio Grande. It’s pitch black at this point, my focus is on the light that my headlamp is casting out before us. Not knowing exactly where I’m at, I find myself at a dead end, backtracking several miles to a road we had already crossed over. I consider these extra eight miles a bonus. After consulting my map and my iPhone, I’m back on track and now only a short distance to my destination. I’m also now in the great state of Texas.
I can see the Golden Arches and the Motel 6 up ahead another mile. There’s a promise that’s publicly made that the light will be left on for me. And it is.
But before checking in to my room, I stop at Brew Sports Pub on the opposite side of the thoroughfare and take a load off Fannie. (Pun intended)
Kane serves me at the bar as Shoeless Jo guards our transportation out front. Kane’s curiosity led to me to telling him all about the journey that I’m on. After listening intently, Kane excused himself and phoned a friend. Moments later I was on the phone with a local news broadcaster. A short conversation led to our agreeing to meet at the local McDonalds in the morning. Perhaps we will be seeing Operation Elf Box spring up in the town of El Paso come Christmas.
I’ve heard it said before, “don’t mess with Texas”. Now I know why. It’s because their hearts are the size of their state. These people don’t mess around.
BIG dreams, BIG goals, BIG Results,