On the counter at the Owl is a street of gingerbread houses. Each house is a prize in a raffle to raise proceeds for a local orphanage. The tickets are a dollar per chance.
I am told that you don’t eat the houses, that they remain in a plastic bag in your attic or on garage shelves to use as Christmas decorations for the next 30 years till your surviving children throw them out.
They all look comfy, and, if I were Santa, I would have no worries about eating the plate of cookies and drinking the glass of milk left on their kitchen tables.
Christmas signs are going up everywhere and these houses make me cheerful..
I buy a couple of raffle tickets.
Kids without parents is not a happy thing.
Some sculptures are behind glass, others are open to visitors to peer at closely, peek at the small shadows in the creases of the faces. Some of the work is utilitarian, made to ornament balustrades and pillars. Other work stood in temples before kneeling worshipers.
Antiquity never quite leaves us, though we try to leave it.
These objects, once revered, are safe here.
Conserving the past, especially if it is someone else’s, is precious.
The Amarillo College Museum has several floors and this Friday Alan, Cousin Jim and Scott ,visit both of them.
On the second floor, the permanent exhibit features sculptures carved from sandstone dating from the 1st century in Thailand, Cambodia, and India.The sculpture has been donated to the college by Dr. William T. Price and his wife, Jimmie Dell Price. The exhibit seems an anomaly in Texas cow country with windmills, barbed wire fences and branding irons crossed over gateways the main artistic endeavors.
In the open spaces of this well lit gallery are sandstone sculptures. When you carve the craftsman/artist started with a block of sandstone and then carved away substance till they reached what was in their mind’s eye. There is no going back with this art, no pasting sand back. If you make an error the entire sculpture is ruined , the block goes back into the quarry, and days and days of work are annihilated.
These sculptor’s, like brain surgeon Dr. Price, work slowly and meticulously with sharp instruments, good eyes, and patience..
How objects survive from the first century is amazing.
What we make these days is planned to be obsolete.. We don’t fix things – we just buy new.
The past lives quietly in the present and speaks to those who are listening.
Pots and pans are on the stove, the table has been set for three, a Butterball Turkey browns in the oven. It took four hours for this bird to cook and slicing it up on the kitchen counter means dinner is close.
We all have things to be thankful for if we look hard enough.
Alan, Sherrie, and I have Thanksgiving this year at Alan’s, something we did a few years ago.
At the White House, a Trump turkey is pardoned but White House chefs are in their sparkling kitchens preparing a big feast of beef, ham, salmon fit for a King and Queen.
On a turkey’s calendar, November 22 is marked with a huge X.
On Thanksgiving they load up their SUV and go to the beach.
I’m usually there with them.
Palo Duro canyon isn’t far from Amarillo. If you head east from Amarillo you hit the Texas Palo Duro State Park where you can drive down into the canyon and access its visitor center and exhibits. On road cuts below Alan’s home we have found arrow points lost in ancient hunting miscues. When we drive into the deep canyon we take Alan’s 1950’s Willy’s jeep and go deep into the gash in the Earth’s arm.
From either of these bench’s, the view is spectacular. Light comes to our side of the planet as the other side turns dark. The switch from dark to light comes quickly. Within thirty minutes we go from a place where we can’t see the creek in the bottom of the canyon to a point in time we can see the entire creek, as well as homes and houses on the rim of the far side of the canyon.
I wonder who is sitting on bench’s on the other side of the world this morning, looking at a spectacular sunset?
I wonder if they are saying, like us, ” This is a million dollar view? ”
A million dollars isn’t much, these days., but we get to see sunrise for free, and, for that, on Thanksgiving, we are particularly thankful.
There are small paths to the benches so I know my brother gets out here often.
Llamas are a staple in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and other high Andes South American countries.
Llama wool keeps locals warm and you can buy llama sweaters, caps and blankets in open markets in Otavalo, Ecuador as well as other marketplaces in the southern hemisphere. This llama,far from home, is boarded at Dave’s daughter Kim’s house in the country near Larkspur, Colorado.
” Kathy rents them out to back packers, ” Dave told me in one of our conversations. ” She just finished a month long backpack …..”
Some men talk about their ex-wives with disdain. Dave was different.
This llama gives me a look of disdain and I go back inside.
Dave’s ashes are in a small wood box on a living room side table,the box hidden with a shawl that has a rose coming up through a crack between the shawl and the box. A slide show on a nearby television shows high lights of Dave’s life; his marriage, the birth of his children, his life as a young man, photos of his father and mother, pictures of him smiling. The people here today are family and friends. Dave would be pleased with the turnout, not pleased with the preacher, pleased with Kathy and Kim, would be back in the kitchen tasting the treats if he were mobile.
I look at my friend’s photos and see he was loved, even if humans never have a perfect enough love.
Dave was generous and I expect he would be okay with Kathy lovingly sprinkling his ashes into a high mountain stream on one of her llama trips this next spring.
He would be okay with survivors packing into his Airstream and going anywhere but Texas.
When I get home I’m going to dust off my boots and take a trip to Mexico, a trip we talked about for the last two years but couldn’t make because of what I know now was his ill health.
When I get to Mexico I’m going to smoke a cigar for Dave even though I don’t smoke, and have a drink of Crown Royal even though I hate scotch.
He will be pleased.
This home on wheels was originally owned by a couple from Louisiana who traveled from town to town with a carnival. They sold kewpie dolls and prizes, and, as far as we know, lived as happy as the Old Lady who lived in a Shoe.
Inside, it is roomy enough for a couple that gets along.
For a couple that doesn’t get along, there is no house big enough.
For Weston’s birthday, we visit ” The Vault. ”
A local family built this museum and storage/work space for their collection of vintage cars. For ten bucks, adults can spend as much time as they like with automobiles from the early 1900’s to now. The cars have been restored to pristine condition like they came from the factory.
When Weston’s El Camino is finished it will be worthy of a spot in this collection, but, it is, almost guaranteed, not going to be for sale.
This might be Beth’s Bar and Grill, but it might not be Beth who serves us.
This morning our hostess, waitress, cook is a short, stubby, older looking than she is woman who wears house slippers and a blue apron. She screws up her face funny when she writes our order in her little spiral notebook, grasping the pencil tightly like a student with learning difficulties. I wait for her to lick the pencil tip.
” Is that it? ” she says, looking at us as she reaches for our three menus as if she doesn’t want them to get away.
” That’s it, ” we say.
” We should have been higher, ” Weston says, ” the seismic was no good. ”
His dad nods. Max and I check our silverware for food the dishwasher didn’t take off.
This little Bar and Grill,in Benkleman, was in its heyday in the 1950’s when oil drilling in the Continental U.S. was strong and wheat and cattle brought good prices. The wallpaper, yellowed now, was new then and conversation was heady and animated. World War 2 was over and servicemen were back home with most of their limbs and mental health intact.
” Disappointing, ” I add, the only coffee drinker in the group.
” If it isn’t there, it isn’t there, ” Neal says, rolling with the punches.
When the food comes it is as plain as the building. There is no salsa or sprig of parsley to give the plate a fancy look. A man sitting at the table behind us is happy Beth is open on a Sunday morning with snow on the ground at seven in the morning. He has hot tea , reads his local newspaper, checks cattle futures and has his toast with a bit of orange marmalade. He appears to be a regular who is joined by a friend halfway through my eggs over easy..
We leave Beth a good tip.
There are three pool tables in the back of the restaurant and I guess some evenings, under dropped lights, men will be playing pool, watching football, and drinking beer.
There is money in alcohol.
Dry holes, last time I looked, still cost me money.