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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

HOM: More trips

I'm going to skip around a bit here. ----- Usually Lyn joined me in the latter part of my trips, flying in to whatever city, meeting me, and then coming home with me. I'm afraid that I usually liked the solo parts of the trips better. One of the surprises she handed me came at Don's. I'd hit the SLC show, spent a day or two at Don's, then gone down to Tucson for another show. I planned on getting back to Page and spending another few fun days before Lyn came down, but when I walked into Don's she came running out of the bedroom to surprise me. She'd come down a week early. I was surprised, all right -- I had to grab her & hug her so she couldn't see my face. The surprise wasn't pleasant, I'd looked forward to a longer vacation from a troubled marriage. ----- She was with me in Albuquerque, though, and that was fun. We went up to Santa Fe and spent hours touring. I was really impressed with the sense of history I felt wandering around the plaza and standing in the old mission, the presence of the bell, and visiting the nearby house. We were there before it was all modernized, thankfully. To Quote:
  • Mission of San Miguel – The oldest church still in use in the United States, this simple earth-hue adobe structure was built around 1610 by the Tlaxcalan Indians of Mexico, who came to New Mexico as servants of the Spanish. Though badly damaged in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, the sturdy adobe walls remained unharmed. Stone buttresses later were added to strengthen the walls, the tower was remodeled and a modern façade was added. On display in the chapel are priceless statues and paintings and the San José Bell, weighing nearly 800 pounds, which is believed to have been cast in Spain in 1356. The bell was used in churches in Spain and Mexico before being brought to Santa Fe by oxcart in the early 19th century.
  • Across the narrow street from the church is the oldest house in the United States, which is supposedly haunted by a malevolent presence. In fact the entire block surrounding San Miguel dates back to the 1200s and was once the site of an ancient Indian Pueblo. For centuries, tragic and violent events have occurred within this block including the subjugation of the Pueblo Indians, the Pueblo Revolt against the Spanish in 1680, executions of convicted criminals and much more. Not only is the church and the oldest house said to be home to a ghost or two, but the entire block.
----- Albuquerque. Lyn dropped me off to wander through some of the older parts of town while she went shopping. I went into a Mexican restaurant that was populated entirely by Hispanic folks and ordered a meal. I was pretty cautious and nibbled a little slowly at first because I was expecting something fierier than Tabasco Sauce but everything was surprisingly mild until I bit into the "salad". I thought the gooey heap of lettuce and tomatoes was just a dinner salad, but it was the hot sauce. Very hot sauce. I think I got a little red in the face before some tortillas and water cooled the fire inside. I know that the folks at close-by tables politely hid their grins till I started laughing, then they joined me. I guess I am an oddball, I am more comfortable with middle or lower class hispanics than I am with upper-class white folks. I enjoyed New Mexico. ----- I picked up an air rifle at SLC in trade for books, a little Beeman C1 carbine and some pellets for it. As soon as I got out of town I found a deserted side road and pulled off to do some plinking. It was powerful and accurate, and fool that I am, I traded it off a few years later. I wish I had it back! My next stop was Denver, and I got into the business district before the stores opened so I parked on a side street and crawled into the topper to snooze for a while. I kept hearing pigeons so I opened the little side door and peeked out; the roof of the church across the street was lined with the pesky birds. Yeah, I gave in to temptation. Since the C1 was quiet & compact and accurate, but unblooded, I loaded it up and proceeded to plink a couple of the "winged rats", as they are referred to. It worked quite well. I was satisfied and happy that I managed to get away with what was probably a felony offense. Like they say, you can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)