Out and About
Question: What do you most like about Sandoval County/Placitas?
||“I have visited Sandoval County three times over the past nine years, and every time I visit, I am increasingly struck by the incredible natural beauty. It is also interesting to me that the wilderness is so much part of the psyche of the people who live here.”
—Fiona Thomson, visitor from Africa
||“I like it that we can still keep domestic animals like chickens and cows. They’re changing that in some places. I also like it that we have wild horses.”
—Angela Gonzalez, lifetime resident of the Village of Placitas
||“The landscape here is totally different. We find all the people here very friendly. We went to the square dance at the Placitas Library and they all were very sociable.”
—Ian Edlin, visitor from England
||“I like the open spaces. I like it that it’s not all built up like in the cities.”
—Bridget Cobb, Placitas resident, 23 years; owner and operator of Camp Pawsitive, Doggie Day Care
||“I like the National Forest. We can go hiking any time.”
—Cathy Langfelt, Placitas resident, 26 years
||“I like the landscape and the climate best. As an architect, I appreciate the indigenous architectural vernacular, which fits in so well with the landscape.”
—David Wilson, Placitas resident, four years; retired architect.
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Norma Libman’s conversation with Drew Henry, Pastor, Placitas Presbyterian Church
In his own words
I’m a very lucky guy. I meet so many people who have retired to Placitas, and they love it, and they are having a good time. But I found Placitas before retirement. I got to celebrate my fortieth birthday here. I have a job I love, so does my wife, and our sons are in a great school. I get to live and work in Placitas. We are putting down roots. This is our home.
I was born and raised in Selma, Alabama, and went to Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. After college, I lived in Colorado for a short stretch and then went to Buenos Aires, Argentina. That’s where I met my wife, Tamara. I was working there as a Presbyterian young adult volunteer from 1994 to 2001. I learned to speak Spanish there so I have a slight Argentinean accent, and I did my Masters work in theology in seminary in Buenos Aires. In 2001, we moved to Birmingham, Alabama where I worked at First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham. Then, in 2010, we moved here.
We left a lot of family in Alabama. But I love being a pastor here in the village in Placitas. The church serves as a kind of connecting point between different parts of the Placitas community. It was born as a Spanish-speaking church, and it’s nice to celebrate that heritage and bring it back as a part of life in the church. As I’ve gotten to know folks—I like to get out and walk in the village—it feels very comfortable to me. I like the small community feel. I’ve noticed recently that I recognize more people’s cars than I used to. That happens in a small place. People wave to each other as they drive down the road because they recognize each other’s cars.
I think this question of rootedness is interesting. Placitas has a transient aspect—people who move here for a while, maybe to retire, and then move on to be nearer to family as they get older, and also the village folks, who have been here for generations. We incorporate Spanish into the worship every week and celebrate the diversity of the community.
My wife, who goes by her own name, Tamara Hudson, is a family practitioner. She works at El Pueblo Clinic in Bernalillo, and her Spanish is helpful there. We feel fortunate—there are not many dual professional families who get to live and work right here. Our kids, Santiago, who is nine, and Francisco, six, are in school here.
The church really does sit at the heart of this village in so many ways, not just geographically, but with its activities: Casa Rosa [Food Bank], Placitas Artists Series, Mothers’ Day Out Program, the Twelve Step programs that happen here, and so much more. This congregation has a deep commitment to caring for the earth. It’s hard to live in a place like this, with the geographical beauty that we’re surrounded with, and not to be aware of our connection to each other and the earth—how we are all part of creation and not separated from it.
We stepped into a ready-made place in this community and have gotten to know a whole lot of people. Tamara’s vocation is community medicine, and I get to step in and be a part of critical transitions in people’s lives. I try to get out and visit people in their homes, so I get to know them. I think that’s dying out in bigger cities. I value my role as a parent as much as my role as a pastor. I’m a pastor at all times, but I’m more than that, too. I’m a husband, and I love to cook and I love music, and I love to get out and hike.
Placitas feels like home to us. Right down to the chile. I love going to the café and getting John’s breakfast burrito with green chile. We intend to make home here and want this to be the place the boys look back on and say, “This is where we grew up.”
Sandoval County Commissioners send condolences to the family of Probate Judge Mary Kwapich
“The entire Sandoval County family—the Commissioners as well as the staff—is deeply affected by the passing of Judge Mary Kwapich. We have lost a truly dedicated public servant, a trusted colleague and a valuable friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who knew and loved Judge Kwapich—and especially to her family in this extremely difficult time.”
Services for Probate Judge Kwapich were held at Our Ladyof Sorrows Church, 301 Camino del Pueblo, Bernalillo, on October 20, 2011. In lieu of flowers, friends are advised to make a donation to their favorite charity.