My turn: Small towns still memorable

I grew up in Muleshoe and in 1979 started writing about small towns in the Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico.

Name a town located between Canadian, Texas, and Melrose, and I’ll tell you something memorable about it.

Here’s one of the things I think about when I think about …

… Portales: Dallan Sanders, who died in 1999.

Mickey Sanders, his wife of 41 years, said her husband approached death without fear.

“He looked forward to it,” she told Wendel Sloan, one of nearly 1,000 friends who attended Sanders’ memorial service.

“He loved new experiences, and he thought death would be the ultimate experience. He called it the next dimension.”

… Progress: Josh Blocher, who founded the tiny settlement where he lived between Lariat and Muleshoe.

Blocher was rumored to be rich and didn’t trust banks. That’s what got him killed in 1951.

Road construction workers read about the 85-year-old eccentric in an Amarillo newspaper, visited his dirt-floor shack and pretended they wanted to buy land.

They beat him and left him to die in a cotton field.

Blocher’s killers ended up with 13 cents they found in his pockets. Law officers investigating his death found $9,000 buried in his shack.

Stevens has more small-town stories on his blog: