Sister’s move prompts thoughts of Oz

helena_rodriguez@link.freedom.com “I think I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow.” Those are the words my mom said to my 5-year-old niece, Marissa, as she hugged her goodbye when my sister Julie moved her family to Odessa, Texas, in April. Since then, Mom has referred to Marissa as her little scarecrow and that got my daughter […]

Formal dresses don’t have to become dust rags

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT staff writer Cost of prom dress, $150. Gas to Lubbock to shop for prom dress, $25. Jewelry, $25. Hair, $42. Nails, $30. Prom ticket, $20. Junior class dues, $30. Cost of memories: Priceless. Can’t put a price on memories. But if I could, $322 sounds about right to me. Return on […]

Stupid questions wanted here

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT staff writer Some people say I ask too many questions. Can you believe that? A journalist asking a lot of questions? I don’t ask a lot of questions, do I? And if I do, what’s wrong with that? At school, even in college, we’re told: “The only stupid question is an […]

Mornings provide sense of peace

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT Staff Writer As children, my sister Becky, my aunt Paula and I competed to see who could rise the earliest. In college, the competition turned into who slept the latest. Now, I’m back to being an early bird. These are the cycles we go through in life. Of course I can’t […]

Smith prison bound

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers Editor’s note: Content in this report may be offensive to some readers. Laura McNaughton’s family had strong words for the Clovis woman’s convicted killer during a sentencing hearing Tuesday at the Curry County Courthouse. Maria Beardmore, the victim’s mother, asked defense counsel to move so she could see James Smith […]

Thanksgiving: Time for added thanks

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT Columnist Thanksgiving isn’t over until you’ve made the green chile turkey enchiladas with the leftovers the day after. We haven’t eaten the last of Dad’s delicious pumpkin pie either, so technically it’s still Thanksgiving. My friend, Bernard Polaco, says every day is Thanksgiving, so I can, in fact, write this column […]

Parents must warn children about ‘Sock Monster’

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers I don’t believe in outlandish things like aliens from outer space, the Boogeyman, La Llorona and bad luck on Friday the 13th. I have more important things to worry about, like the Sock Monster. I have become totally convinced that there is a Sock Monster. While some people are trying […]

Forgetfulness can be sign of brain overload

By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers What kind of a child forgets their own parents’ wedding anniversary? A self-centered, ungrateful, spoiled brat, right? Or in my case, a normally organized and occasionally thoughtful daughter suffering from brain overload. Yes, I’m guilty as charged. Line me up before the firing squad. But I have a perfectly justifiable […]

Green chile is the best chile

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT Columnist We have a state of emergency. Flooding in Hatch has damaged a good part of that town’s claim to fame. While our beloved green chile did all right elsewhere, Hatch is the Chile Capital of the World. Our official New Mexico state question is : “Red or green?” which refers, […]

Parents visit Clovis site where daughter slain

By Sharna Johnson By Sharna Johnson CNJ STAFF WRITER sharna_johnson@link.freedom.com On the edge of a desolate, wind-whipped field stands a small homemade cross wrapped in a pink feather boa. It was placed by a mother and father mourning their daughter. Thursday, for the first time, David and Maria Beardmore visited the ditch where the battered […]

There’s a lot in baby’s name

By Helena Rodriquez: Freedom Newspapers “Marsha” may not exactly be at the top of the list of popular Hispanic baby girl names, like Arianna, Marissa, Aaliyah and Olivia, but maybe “Masa” is. My friend Marsha Salazar doesn’t know why her mom named her Marsha, maybe after the Brady Bunch show. As the saying goes, “It’s […]

Village neglecting its duty to children

By Helena Rodriquez We all know the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” But what happens when the village doesn’t want to raise the child? What happened to the old days when children were taught to listen to adults and other figures of authority? And what happened to the days when people […]

Teen driver’s permit changes everything

By Helena Rodriquez What kind of a sick, twisted, teenager would voluntarily go to school at 7 a.m. every morning? Now change the question. How far will a teen go to get a driver’s license? The things teens will do these days just to get behind the wheel of a car are interesting. My 15-year-old […]

Washing dishes: Chore made of memories

Helena Rodriguez : Freedom Newspapers I’m waiting a week to reveal my New Year’s resolutions for two reasons. • I need to make sure they don’t fall apart by next week. • There’s a more pressing matter: dirty dishes. Dirty dishes are a critical issue. In fact, there’s probably some dirty dishes sitting in your […]

Decorations are memories as well

Helena Rodriguez: PNT Columnist This is the time of year when my living room starts to look like the Island of Misfit Toys. Please don’t hate me because I’m organized, but I’ve already got my Christmas tree up and ready to plug in tonight as the Christmas season officially gets into full swing. However, I’ve […]

Sometimes kids should wear the pants in the house

Helena Rodriguez: PNT Staff Writer Who wears the pants in the house? That’s a question often asked today, and I’m not just talking about husbands and wives. I’m talking about parents and children. My teenage daughter Laura and I recently went through a tough ordeal that really tested us as a family. It pitted us […]

Choose your battles carefully to avoid hardships

Helena Rodriguez: PNT Staff Writer A former editor of mine invited myself and other minority reporters to her home for lunch and asked for feedback. One reporter remarked, “How do I say something without coming across as an angry black woman?” The response this editor from Texas gave has stayed with me: “It’s like your […]

Helena Rodriguez: FreToo young for a cara de suegraedom Newspapers

Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers While visiting my grandma in Lubbock last weekend, she said I have a cara de suegra. In translation, that’s the face of a mother-in-law. Grandma Chaya was basically saying that my 15-year-old daughter Laura is maturing into a young lady and it may not be too long before Laura gets married […]

Take chances, embrace change this school year

Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers It’s a fact of life: You can’t keep doing the same thing and then expect different results. Keep this in mind as you start the new school year. But also keep in mind that while it’s better to get things right the first time, there’s nothing wrong with going back and […]

Compadres, padrinos make for big, happy family

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT columnist My daughter Laura has a new set of godparents, or a new madrina and padrino, as we call them. And in the process, I guess I’ve got myself a new set of compadres. Last Sunday, my uncle and aunt, Manny and Matilda Ortega, drove from Hobbs to serve as sponsors […]