Some people collect stories about people

By David Stevens: CNJ Editor

Some folks collect coins or stamps or stuffed animals. I collect people profiles.

I have maybe 100 people profiles – individuals’ answers to dozens of questions that range from “Who’s invited to your fantasy dinner party?” to “How did you meet your spouse?” – in my collection.

Some of the profiles belong to friends and family, some to work mates or casual acquaintances and some to people I’ve never met.

They’re all good reading.

Sometimes the answers to my questions make me mad, sometimes they bring a tear and a lot of times they make me laugh out loud.

Always, they provide insight and they help me like people better.

The profiles are how I came to like Scarlet Smith, Scott Jones, Gail Sharpe-Adkins, Bob Baker and Janet Mason.

I think you might like them, too.

SCARLET SMITH celebrated her 40th birthday on Saturday. She is a student at Eastern New Mexico University.

She has a cat named Harley, loves to watch ice hockey, enjoys the taste of cheese and the smell of hot buttered popcorn and she’s been wind surfing in Hawaii.

Here’s who’s invited to her fantasy dinner party:
Jacques Pepin (to cook dinner), Billy Joel (to play the piano), Ernest Hemingway (to read to the guests), Mickey Rourke (to box a couple of rounds) and Halle Berry. “I can’t be the only beautiful lady at the party,” she said.

SCOTT JONES, 35, is a movie fan and writes video reviews for our newspaper’s Web site (

He wrote in his profile about fond memories wth his brother, Bryan.

“When I was young, my brother would take me to Taco Box and we would get bean burritos and a Coke and go home and watch cartoons in the afternoon. Just me and my big brother. Good times.”

GAIL SHARPE-ADKINS, 46, teaches remedial math and English to people who want to go to college.

“The favorite part of my job,” she said, “is when my students start asking ‘stupid questions.’ It means they are starting to think and own their own learning. And that means I’m doing my job right.”

She is from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., but seems to have embraced eastern New Mexico.

“Eastern New Mexico is a very unique land,” she said, “from the yip of the prairie dog, to the screech of the hawk; from the crack of the desert storm, to the misting summer rain; from the colors and sounds and smells that define the culture of New Mexico people. Eastern New Mexico is a powerful land, filled with contradictions and compliments — nature at her very worst and very best. But certainly never boring.”

BOB BAKER, 65, is retired from the Air Force and a former broadband telecommunications engineer.

He has a lake named after him in Canada, just one of a dozen stories he will happily tell about his life as a Boy Scout.

Scuba diving is another of Baker’s greater loves.

“It’s a whole new world and you are so focused on your dive and your surrounding that you forget all about any worries or concerns. And no two dives are the same and all are adventures,” he said.

Baker’s greatest love seems to be his wife, Isabelle Dawn Baker.

He stole her from a roommate while stationed in England in 1960.

“She was dating another GI whom I shared a house with,” he said. “She lost a ring, I found it, and traded it back to her for a date. The rest is history.”

JANET MASON, 35, an office technician with Qwest Communications, met her spouse at a softball game.

“I hit a triple and my teammate introduced us,” she said.
Mason has a friend in Africa who helps her keep perspective.

“By American standards, they are well below poverty,” she said. “… A few years ago she got electricity in her home.

She was thrilled. And here I take it for granted. She has a telephone and it works maybe once in a while every three or four months and here we expect a dial tone when we pick up the phone every time. Oh, the things we take for granted.”

David Stevens is editor for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. Contact him at 763-6991 or by e-mail: