Waiting for the Doctor, after a nurse has checked my oxygen levels, put me on a scale, written down my issues on her note pad, the examining room is as basic as the intake procedure.
There are some Q tips in a little jar next to the sink. There is an examination table with a paper sheet on top of it..There is a secure box for used needles, a few magazines in a little rack on the wall. A medical equipment tool is close by, used to peer deep into ear canals. There are posters on the walls warning and informing about flu season, shingles, sexually transmitted diseases and a chart that indicates what weight I should be for my height. In some rooms like this, doctors display their certificates of graduation from medical schools and photos of their kids.
In most examination rooms, wherever they have been, I have had this exact same bone chart to occupy my mind.
We have 206 bones in our bodies when we get to adulthood.
What I can’t figure is why this guy is always smiling around the world and why he has such a good set of teeth?
Put him in a nice set of clothes and he could be life of the party.
His teeth look better than half the adult population of the United States and he has a big future promoting the American Dental Association.
He wasn’t, by a look at his choppers, a drug abuser.
Colorado is one of the leading states in the tiny house movement in the United States.This state has over 20 builders who have built tiny houses, has an annual Colorado Tiny House Festival in Brighton, and a Colorado Tiny House Association that advocates for the development of the tiny homes industry.
The tiny house movement, whether in Colorado,or elsewhere, is driven by people looking to spend their money differently. Instead of sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars into a site built house that has expensive taxes, upkeep, and unused space, people can get into a tiny house for a fraction of the price and spend their saved money on activities and experiences they would rather be doing than mowing the lawn.
This tiny house is parked on a lot in Southfork, Colorado, and, though locked, gives an idea of its roominess and livability by peeking through its windows.There are five different models to choose from and the builders of these models can custom make a tiny house to fit any budget and need.
The best thing about tiny houses, after looking at these models, is – they don’t have an engine.
Bigger the better, is a slogan that is reaching it’s limits in America.
American’s are downsizing, looking small ,seeking control of their lives. These days you are more defined by what you do than what you own.
Living in one of these homes means you have finally realized you don’t need stuff you thought did, you don’t need deep roots to feel rooted, and small is very big.
The reflection of the clouds,on the lake’s calm surface,quiver. The reflection of the forest’s trees, on the lake’s surface, reaches across the lake almost to the bank we are fishing from and look as if they were growing out of the lake right in front of me.
If I had a long enough arm, I could reach down and scoop up these clouds in the palm of my right hand and they would wiggle like the fishing earthworms we just dug up in a close by field.
I know the clouds and forest on the lake’s surface are reflections. The real clouds are in the sky and the real forest and pine trees cover the rugged mountain sides directly to the south of us, across Hermit’s Lake.
If my mind can be even temporarily fooled by nature’s slight of hand, how much more of what I see is not what I see, and how much don’t I see that is right in front of me?
When scientists come up with better measuring sticks, we might start seeing more of the world as it really is, not fooled by its reflections, optical illusions, mirages, black holes, mirrors and miracles..
There will, on that day, as Jerry Lee Lewis sings in his rollicking rock and roll classic,be ” a whole lot of shaking going on.”
County road 40, cutting away from Colorado State Highway 69, takes me straight to the Alvarado Campground in the nearby Sangre de Cristo mountains – the end of a long driving day from New Mexico.
The campground,in the Pike and San Isabel National Forests,is where we are camping out for the upcoming 2019 Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival in Westcliff. It is a summer July, warm, and these brilliant blue and white flowers are growing everywhere in these pastures under these cow’s close protection. This pastoral scene should be printed on a grocery store container of vanilla ice cream or on the front of a milk carton in the local grocery.
County road 40 is two lane and well maintained and flat as the countryside we are cutting through. On each side of the road are barbed wire fences that keep cattle in their fields as well as designating people’s property lines. In old times, ranching folks hung cattle rustlers and used buckshot on kids getting into their front yard gardens. Now, lawyers shoot it out in court for all of us and all kinds of disputes in the sandbox get erased and redrawn as judges have taken the place of our pistols and rifles.
These cows, big black splashes of paint in the middle of this large natural canvas, will soon disappear into darkness, impossible to see their black in the dark. They are strangely mute, grazing, staring lazily across the great distances between us and the towering mountains to the west.
This evening, as the sun drops and night coolness is coming, I can see these cow’s don’t give a damn about fences, or us,or my philosophy, whichever side of the fence they,or we,are on.
I drive past them at 30 miles per hour, the posted speed limit, hopeful that tomorrow’s bluegrass music makes this long drive worth doing.
When you listen to bluegrass music there should be a few cows in the neighborhood,like this, just to make it sound authentic.
The bluegrass music we are going to enjoy should be as unpretentious as these cows.
Setting up camp this evening is a happy chore long overdue.
In 1936, families and kids brought their dimes to this theater, looked at the marque, found seats in what now are uncomfortable chairs, and watched westerns and newsreels from around a world just coming out of a Great Depression. The concession inside the theater would have had sweet treats for the kids, high school ushers who showed people to their seats with little flashlights, and a grizzled World War 1 vet who ran the projection room and threaded old fashioned 35mm film through the apparatus that moved the film through light that projected images on a pure white movie screen.
The theater changed management in 1963 ,and, again, thirty years later.
Now, the Jones Theater shows movies on weekend nights and has one Sunday matinee.
Theater’s these days can’t compete with Netflix or Amazon Prime, cable tv, an internet streaming world news 24/7, as it happens.
Now, people go to the theater to sit in a dark room with a bunch of strangers, eat popcorn, and remember what it was like they were little kids visiting Grandma.
In 1936, you never would have seen a movie about Elton John, or anyone like him.
Our tolerance for difference has been irretrievably expanded.
There is controversy whether this is a lighthouse and whether Columbus’s bones are really inside the not so small ornate iron box in the center of this ornate display.
Columbus found the Dominican Republic on the first of his four voyages to the New World. Interestingly enough, he never set foot on America’s soil but set up his family comfortably in Santo Domingo to give them a good life and claim to lands he discovered for the King of Spain.
He was a visionary, as well as a businessman, and having audience with Kings and Queens is no easy task because, being important people, their time is worth more than ours. Mounting an expedition that was going to the ends of the world was a dangerous enterprise.
The big things I learn today are that, when walking, things you see are much further to get to than they look. Whenever you get lost, call a taxi and pay a few bucks to get where you want to go so you don’t spend your entire trip walking in circles.
It seems odd to celebrate a man who discovered America,but didn’t, and odd I’m standing here taking a photo of what we are told is the explorer’s final resting place?
He and his beloved Santa Maria , right now, are most likely somewhere north, northeast of Mars navigating under celestial lights on dark dark seas with only a compass, telescope and good instincts to guide him.
He is doing in the next world what he did in this one.
His bones might be here, but he doesn’t need them for his new discoveries.
In the lobby of the Albuquerque County Line Barbecue, there is a special love machine for testing your love potentials.
This ” Love Machine ” costs a quarter for its diagnosis, and, for your quarter, you can see how you measure up on the love chart by putting your hand firmly around a special handle, squeezing firmly, and waiting for your diagnosis to shoot off like firecrackers, Roman candles, or duds.
We humans like to measure. We hook up our cars to diagnostic apparatus, we use dip sticks to check oil and transmission fluids, we use IQ tests to measure intellectual ability, we use polls to decide who to elect to be our next President.
Whether this ‘Love” test is really accurate ,or scientific, is a different kind of measurement.
Most of our science isn’t as true as we think it is, and humans tend to be more superstitious than scientific. Wearing your lucky socks when you watch your favorite team’s basketball game, in a championship series, makes no sense at all, yet fans swear it makes a difference.
For those in love, people don’t need a machine to tell them how they feel.
A better sign of whether you are in love, or not, is to look at your credit card statement.
Under the ” Home of the Big Rib ” rib, as you walk towards one of several back dining rooms at the County Line Barbecue, is a lucky chair.
We all have our favorite chairs. Yours might be an old recliner that you found on the sidewalk with a ‘ Take Me ” sign pinned to it like a donkey’s tail. It might be an ancient folding chair you drag out of your garage and open up on your front porch like folks did in the old days. Your favorite chair might have a hard back, torn cushions, scratched legs where your dog or cat wanted to get your attention.
My favorite “LUCKY’ chair, this evening, is made from horseshoes. I sit down in it to improve my luck as I listen to the ” Radiators ” slip into a blues tune in the bar.
Some artisan has collected these worn horseshoes and has welded them into a quirky,quite comfortable chair, and, as I sit ,and tap my right toe to the music, I feel my luck coming back in spades.
Barbecue, horseshoes, cattle, branding irons and the Old West go hand in hand and those old time cowboys sure didn’t live on just jerky, pitching horseshoes and playing poker.
You can’t tell me they didn’t fix themselves an occasional barbecue dinner in the middle of a long cattle drive across wild and hostile Indian country and blame Indians for the lost steer.
On reflection, if my new luck starts to weaken, me and this chair are going to have another therapy session.
When I come back next time, I’m going to try this chair again for a luck recharge, eat all the ribs I can, and ask for a sarsaparilla root beer.
Luck, these days, is hard to come by, and I always need luck at the Sandia casino down Tramway near I-25.
If I didn’t know better, I’d think the Indians were still fighting us, but this war they are winning.