Flamingos are often seen in front yards as plastic yard ornaments, and double as stir sticks in fancy lounge drinks.
Flamingos appear on women’s T shirts, art posters, golf shirts and pendants.
They make cute water floats in baby swimming pools
This evening, the Albuquerque zoo hosts a music concert. Surrounding the stage, families have spread umbrellas, blankets, folding chairs and wait for Ryan McGarvey, a local boy made good, to sing and play his electric guitar. Newspaper ads say Ryan has played with the British rock and blues legend Eric Clapton.
Flamingos can’t be charged with not sticking their necks out.
In the Albuquerque winter, they are issued pink earmuffs and huddle together by outdoor gas heaters.
Tonight’s concert will sound, to them, like the bellowing of hippos and their graceful necks will move to the music like a conductor’s baton.
They could fly home if they hadn’t forgotten they can fly.
The Armijo hacienda began as one of the first homes in Albuquerque, but was long ago resurrected as the popular Old Town restaurant, ” La Placita. ”
Haciendas were self contained economically, spiritually, emotionally.
Several generations of family lived, worked, sustained themselves in these compounds where they farmed, herded livestock, made clothes and tools, used medicinal plants, entertained themselves at night on back patios under the stars. There were haciendas within yelling distance all the way from Mexico City to Santa Fe, nestled in the Bosque cottonwoods by the Rio Grande. Skirmishes with Indians and bandits were always part of their landscape.
In the 1700’s, this would have been a hard but peaceful life, far from the treachery of Europe and Old Politics, the power of the Catholic Church, the restless marching of armies across continents,flags of discovery and conquest planted on beaches around our planet.
Having lunch in a La Placita dining room, open ears can almost hear the animated dinner conversations of these early settlers.
Their conversation would not be much different than ours today with family, friends, community, politics, religion, and gossip the main concerns.
The difference, between then and now, is that then, families lived, ate, and talked together.
Inside the downtown Marble Street Brewery, adults pursue spirits, music, networking, barbecue ribs, chips and salsa, self promotion, smoozing, passionate political arguments, petty man/ woman/ transgender spats, soothing ruffled feathers, looking for sex, patching up business deals.
Outside the brewery, kids, watched by Mom’s, build castles with lego’s on the sidewalk.
When little, we played baseball at dusk in the street,rode simple bicycles down to the local five and ten, dug tunnels in arroyos. In evening baseball we could barely see the white tennis ball coming at us as we stood in the batter’s box. Home plate was a street manhole and first, second and third bases were chalked in at the curbs. We were still playing when the night streetlights came on.
Adults were nowhere to be seen, leaving us to our own devices, waiting for us to grow up.
This evening reminds me of the 1950’s.
These kid’s skyscrapers are already teetering from the weight of the next block.
Their screams, as their skyscraper falls and blocks spread over the sidewalk like a witch doctor’s bones, are happy.
It had locker rooms for boys and girls, a weight room, offices for the coaches. It had polished hardwood floors on the basketball court, wood bleachers that could be rolled out or in depending on event requirements. In the gymnasium, we band geeks performed concerts,the school had its Homecoming, Pep assemblies and Prom. In P.E.,we rope climbed from the gym floor to the ceiling, touched a beam and came down as fast as we could while classmates watched and nervously waited their turn.
Money has been appropriated for a new state of the art sports complex. The new facility is almost complete and all that is left to do is demolish this old still functional gym, scoop its pieces up with a big machine to be hauled away by another big machine.
In a world on the move, chasing its tail, collateral damage is just part of the game.
Tonight, at the Marble Street Brewery, in Albuquerque,” Group Therapy” has the stage.
They rock out with ” Classic rock and roll “, blues, jazz , Latin, boogie woogie, funk, and even some gospel to keep the mood changing.
With the sun plummeting, this brew pub’s tanks look heavenly. Food trucks, parked out front, provide eats at the curb and the brewery sells its own brews with names like ” Lizard Tail , ” Cactus Blossom, ” ” Marble Street Mirage.”
There are tattoos here as well as beer, and, for me, there is something unsettling about nearly indistinct anchors on men’s brawny forearms and drooping roses on the ankles of grandmother’s.
Kids play in front of the establishment and the neighborhood isn’t overwhelmed this evening by street people drifting in from third street to panhandle, urinate on storefronts, exchange numbers for free medical care, bump fists to show solidarity.
At their drinking holes, Greeks discussed ” truth ” and ” beauty. ” Romans discussed ” taxes, barbarians and the provinces”. ” Americans talk about ” 401K’s, gas prices, Trump, and whether you can have a country without borders. ”
Kids, thank goodness, can play even in the worst of times.
It is not leaping out of an airplane with a small chute to land you safely. It is not driving a race car around curves over two hundred miles an hour. It is not getting tackled by a three hundred and fifty pound lineman who isn’t thinking of tucking you into bed.
This sign is posted at the Santa Ana Golf Course in Bernalillo, New Mexico.
We are in snake country in New Mexico even though New Mexico is one of our fifty U.S. states with Congressional Senators and Representatives and Spanish, as well as English, our official state language. Despite our 107 year statehood,we have more in common with Mexico than the colonial red brick homes of Virginia, coon-skin hats and flintlock rifles.
Despite this snake warning, we golfers sometimes search for our bad shots in snake country. Our group of eight to twelve ” old men ” manage to play once a week, stocking up on ” birdie juice” to celebrate our one under par successes in a best ball team format.
If we had all paid attention to warnings in life, we wouldn’t be where we are today, riding around in golf carts while the rest of the world works.
Broken in a car crash ,Chris, flown by helicopter to the hospital trauma unit, is fed through a tube, breaths through a tube,has a sensor pinned into the top of his shaved head to reveal brain activity.
Staff shift his body position every four hours, nurses monitor instruments, follow Doctor’s orders, clean up bowel movements. He is pale, his left eye is swollen shut.
This hospital is modern, with waxed floors, clean bathrooms, refrigerated air, a cafeteria and Gift Shop on the first floor. It has departments for every part of the body, doctors, nurses and staff with name badges.Security officers carry weapons. Visitors check in at the entry and get wristbands.
Chris’s mom sleeps on a cot in her son’s room.
Modern medicine does amazing things, but, right now, we need a miracle.
This situation is even beyond a mom’s ability to fix.