Flamingos A long way from home

    Flamingos are often seen in front yards as plastic yard ornaments, and double as stir sticks in fancy lounge drinks. This evening, the Albuquerque zoo is hosting a music concert. Surrounding the stage, families and friends have spread umbrellas, blankets, folding chairs and wait for Ryan McGarvey, a local boy made good, to sing and play his electric guitar. Newspaper stories say Ryan has performed with the British rock and blues legend Eric Clapton. Flamingos at the zoo, this evening, can’t be charged with not sticking their necks out. Tonight’s concert will sound, to them, like the bellowing of hippos and their tall graceful necks will move to the music like a conductor’s baton. Julie and Nathan, California Chris’s sister and her boyfriend, like the concert, and especially love the rain and stormy skies. Spectators huddle under umbrellas, blankets,plastic tarps, and the music, all by itself, out- dramas the weather. Seeing flamingos in New Mexico is as surprising as it would be seeing roadrunners in Florida. Hanging out with those of your own kind seems to be rooted in nature. We humans are always trying to outdo nature’s design.  

Casa Armijo 1st house in Albuquerque

    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 more 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,worked, and talked together.  

Child’s Play Outside the Marble Brewery

    Inside the downtown Marble Street Brewery, adults pursue spirits, music, networking, barbecue ribs, chips and salsa, self promotion, smoozing, passionate political arguments, soothing ruffled feathers, looking for sex, patching up business deals. Outside the brewery, kids, watched by their 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 and get out on our own. 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. Happy screams are the best ones to hear.  

No Pets At the Marble Street Brewery

    Pets, in America, have become more than pets.   At the Marble Brewery, the limits to their importance are clearly stated on step risers leading to the second floor. It is only a matter of time before this road house rule against pets going upstairs is summarily challenged in court, ruled on by learned men and women wearing robes, with a jury chosen by prosecutors and defense attorneys that has no thinking animals to make decisions complicated. If a dog’s master breaks house rules and takes his pet upstairs, can the dog be held responsible for what his master does? I’d like to be sitting on that jury. Seeing a dog barking in its own defense would be worth hearing.  

Demolition Manzano High School Gymnasium

    In 1965, this gym was state of the art for our time in high school.  It had locker rooms for boys and girls, a weight room,offices for the coaches and staff. It had polished hardwood floors on the basketball court that gleamed and rows of wood bleachers that could be rolled out and back in depending on event requirements. In the gymnasium, band geeks performed concerts,the school had Homecoming, Pep assemblies,and yearly Prom. In P.E.,we guys rope climbed from the gym floor to the ceiling, touched an I beam and came down as fast as we could while our classmates watched and nervously waited their turn to climb up like Jack going up a beanstalk.  Money has been appropriated this 2018 to build a new state of the art sports complex for Manzano High School. The new facility is almost complete and all that is left to do is demolish this old – 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 new game. Newer,Bigger Better keeps our country’s economy percolating. Looking back is just for fools. Brick and mortar are way too old school for our progressive modern lifestyles.  

Group Therapy Concert

    Tonight, at the Marble Street Brewery, in Albuquerque,” Group Therapy” commands the stage. They rock out with ” Classic rock and roll “, blues, jazz , Latin, boogie woogie, funk, and even some gospel to keep the mood positive and the crowd seduced. As our sun plummets, the brew pubs tanks look almost heavenly and food trucks, parked out front at the curb, provide new and old age eats to the hungry audience. The brewery sells its own brand of brews that come with names like ” Lizard Tail , ”  Cactus Blossom, ” ” Marble Street Mirage” and they have started other locations in town as they begin their expansionary period. Kids, not old enough to play adult games, play with blocks in front of the establishment and the neighborhood hasn’t yet been overwhelmed 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 and beer and music go together like salt and pepper.   

Hole in One Tanoan Country Club, Acoma #3, Albuquerque, New Mexico

    The odds for shooting a hole in one,for the average golfer,on par 3;s, are 12500 to 1. For professional golfers, the odds drop to 2500 to one In a tournament at the Tanoan Country Club, Scott beat the odds on the Acoma nine, #3, a 154 yard par 3 and shot his first hole in one after years of playing. Using a seven iron, my iron shot was high, straight, hit the frog hair in front of the green, bounced, rolled towards the pin, and fell into the cup. At first, none of our foursome realized what had happened but confirmed it on the green. Now, when I hit an iron into any green, I expect my shot to fall into the cup. Once you see you can do something, the odds of doing it again, increase. The odds against me getting another hole in one seem suddenly  bigger than they used to be. Does shooting a hole in one make you a professional?  

Snake Country Santa Ana Golf Course, Albuquerque

    Golf is not a dangerous sport except to your ego. 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 languages. 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.  

Jelly fish Albuquerque Biopark

    Fish are streamlined for propulsion. Their bodies create little friction between them and the water that supports them. Light filters down from the water’s surface where we watch them take graceful turns around their aquarium tank’s curves. In another aquarium, jelly fish, who aren’t moving like the fish, have dangling tentacles shown off with back lighting. The jelly fish are almost transparent, catching food in their tentacles and letting themselves be propelled by currents or by ingesting water and spitting it out to move in the direction of their prey. They are other worldly. Floating with ocean currents is smarter than fighting them.  Personally, I watch for tentacles, both in the water, and out, all the time. Jellyfish aren’t the only organisms on this planet that have a sting.  

Medical Blues Douglas Hospital

    This is not a happy tale. 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 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. Watching my friend fight for his life, all we can do is pray that God is with him. Men are struggling right now just to keep the pieces together.  
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