By eight in the morning, on a Saturday, a tournament is humming along.
The game is simple enough.
Each player has three discs and a stick. Each turn, a player pushes one of his disks down a slick court with his stick and tries to make his disc stop in one of the scoring areas marked inside a distant triangle. Each disc that stays in the top portion of the triangle is worth ten points. Further towards the base of the triangle, the points awarded are less. A player has to play offense, getting his disc in high scoring areas, and defense, knocking an opponent’s disc out of a scoring area.
” Each court is different, ” one of the onlookers tells me, ” and they break different ways. ”
This is a tournament between the Voyager RV Resort, on the other side of town, and the Rincon Rv Resort.Cursing is kept to a minimum because women are present and all know that tomorrow is another day. As players take their turns, scores are tallied. When the tournament is done there will be certificates awarded and losers will buy beer.
The throwing motion is slow and deliberate. A disc is cradled into the U shaped handle of the stick, the player pauses, takes two steps and leans forward, extends his straightened arm towards the distant triangle. It is a soft motion and the stick, properly used, never leaves the surface of the court. After your throw, you stand back and hope your opponent, who throws after you, doesn’t erase your effort.
This is a game one would think a five year old could play, but they aren’t skilled enough, or devious enough.
Old people might be old, but they aren’t without experience in duplicity.
It takes smarts to get to old age and no one, with any smarts, wants to spend winter in a cold place.
This winter I’m in Arizona again but I don’t try shuffleboard because I’m old enough, yet.
Without a warm fire, a home would be miserable.
Today, there is wood to be cut, stacked, transported, stored, burnt.
John’s truck has been driven to an old orchard and branches are being trimmed, logs cut with a chain saw into manageable pieces. The wood has to be the right thickness and length to go into an outside fire pit made out of an automobile rim. Inside the house is a wood burning stove that has been used since the nineteen hundreds, a heat John grew up with in his childhood Hillsboro home.
Heating with stoves is old technology, but, when one has doubts about electrical grids, it is worth chopping wood and knowing survival ways.
As John and I sit around the fire pit at night looking for UFO’s, the stars give us light but no heat this many millions of miles away. The sun turned in over an hour ago and Old Man Winter is blowing cold air around our huddled bodies while the wood crackles and pops.
Warming my hands, I wonder what the caveman’s front door welcome mat looked like?
Did they sleep walk?
What was their favorite recreation?
Did they hope for a better future for their children?
They had fires just like this, and on cold nights, would have huddled, speculated, and thrown another log in the fire till the wife told them to come to bed..
In the downtown historical district of Truth or Consequences, hot springs bubble to the surface.
In old days dusty cowboys would hang their chaps on mesquite branches and swap stories with Indians who hung their moccasins on adjacent branches to look like rabbit ears. In newer days, hotels have been built above the springs and guests soak in claw foot tubs to their heart’s content.
The only admonishments to guests at River bend are not to indulge in drugs and/or alcohol, limit the time of your soak, keep hydrated, call for help if needed. River Bend Hot Springs is well maintained and now you hang your chaps on hooks inside private soaking enclosures. For social folks, there is a public soaking pool just outside the office.
Looking out from my Tierra private soak, the Rio Grande meanders, not in any hurry to get to Juarez.
Each time here, there are more amenities.
Jake, as one of his worker’s admits, ” does a damn good job of fixing things and making the place better. ”
When I lived here I visited two times a week. Now, two times a year has to do.
Hot water soaks straighten out my bumpy thinking.