Late April 1970
Autumn Comes to Tiwa Valley
The heat coming across the desert had been stifling, but now that she was in the mountains it was more bearable. They were gorgeous to look at and the surrounding land was gradually greening. She could see the pines high above and soon she heard the sound of rushing water. The last of the winter snow was melting and speeding its way to the valley below.
She pulled over to the side of the narrow, winding road and looked out over the scenery. There was a huge ranch down below nestled in the valley. It was a beautiful site. She knew she was within just a few miles of her new home.
Her decision to leave New York had not been a hasty one. It had been coming for the last year. She’d gotten stuck writing a society column, for God’s sake! She was a journalist—had graduated summa cum laude from a prestigious university!
At almost twenty-seven—she cringed—she wasn’t some giddy kid just out of high school moving to the big city to write about just anything! No, she wasn’t happy at the Tribune and she wasn’t going to waste any more of her time writing about debutants and spoiled, rich people, and how they whiled away their spare time and wasted their millions while others went hungry.
She had always loved New Mexico, had vacationed in Taos and Santa Fe numerous times over the last few years. Then there were the trips with her parents when she still lived at home. They often brought her out West. There was something wild about it, of course—but also something that made her feel so very peaceful. This was where she belonged. It answered something deep inside her.
In addition to other newspapers, she had written to the Tiwa Valley Ledger’s owner, Peter Holding, several times. And then she had spoken with him on the telephone. Suddenly last month he called her to say that he was going to semi-retire—would she be interested in working with him for a year to see if she would want to buy him out and take over the paper?
She’d jumped at it—gave her notice at the Tribune, sublet her apartment, packed her car and hit the road within two weeks. Now, here she was on a narrow mountain road, looking down at some of the most beautiful country she’d ever laid eyes on.
“Well, Autumn,” she said to herself, “standing here daydreaming isn’t getting you there.” She turned back from the view and climbed back into her packed-to-the-roof, dusty white Jeep Cherokee.
As she pulled into town, she was struck by the atmosphere of the place—this was a true New Mexico tapestry. When she had stopped at that overlook she had seen a lake and green grass, horses wandering fields, the gorgeous, huge two-story ranch house of stone and wood. The terrain and geology changed so dramatically in such a short distance.
Here in the little town of Tiwa Valley, the buildings were adobe, the landscaping was cactus and gravel rather than grass and dirt—it was a true western desert town. The City Hall sat at the far side of a circular road that took you right back out of town again. The sheriff’s office, a moderate-sized adobe with bars at the windows was one block down.
The General Store—she laughed at the sign that actually read “General Store”—was a two-story adobe building with big display windows on each side of the single width door of highly-varnished wood with its wrought iron handle and hinges in a very Spanish style.
She spotted the library across from the sheriff’s office. It was a delightful building, very tastefully designed of peach-colored adobe with a pair of sculptures sitting on opposite sides of the walkway from the street.
Ah, she thought, there it was—two doors down from the library. The Tiwa Valley Ledger—her new job, her future awaited. She felt the butterflies flitting around in her stomach.
She parked her car out front, climbed out and locked the car doors. As she headed around the front to get to the sidewalk a shining, black Porsche shot by her with its high-powered engine growling loud enough to be heard for blocks and its radio blasting—what was it? Aerosmith?
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