Hopscotch has been around a few hundred years, and hopscotch on driveways used to be a girls game in our neighborhood when we were growing up. The game takes balance, co-ordination, and planning, doesn’t cost anything to play, and has variations of how you can play a game. You Tube has videos of kids explaining how to play the game, with demonstrations, and, now, it looks like it could be fun for anyone.
This chalked out game board on the next door neighbors driveway won’t last long in the sun, and a light rain will wash the lines, colors, snails, and hearts away. Still, chalk isn’t expensive, and the little drawings on the driveway are priceless reminders of how short childhoods are in our super charged modern world where kids grow up way to fast ahead of their bodies and minds, and get caught in adult nets quicker than you can jump from one square to the next on this driveway.
The neighbor’s grand kids were playing yesterday afternoon, visiting with their grandparents who were ” social distancing ” in the garage.tossing their markers into one of the squares in front of them, then hop, skip and jumping to the end of the game board, jumping and turning at the same time, then going back to the beginning,stopping and picking up their marker, then jumping safely home.
I have watched some videos and plan to try the game when no one is looking.
Getting a seventy plus year old body to do a game made for kids is never a pretty sight.
The tradition in the group of ” eight “, or the group of ” twelve, ” is that if any team gets a birdie on a hole, everyone takes a sip of ” Fireball “, a cinnamon flavored liquor. If birdies are flocking to your team you win the match, get a free beer from the opposing team at the end of eighteen, and get a little tipsy in the bargain. If you or your partner don’t make any birdies you each get to take home a special ” birdie ” trophy, and keep it till the next time the group plays.
Created by Miles, an airline pilot, this birdie is what I got over a month ago, and still have, because we haven’t played golf in a month. Some people in the world get the virus, some die from the virus, some lose their job or business, some can’t pay their bills, others can’t go to school, some people go crazy, and then there are us golfers who can’t play golf. What doesn’t make sense is that in neighboring states guys can still play golf? There isn’t much consistency in this virus whirlwind about the number of rules you have, the way you implement the rules, and how long a Governor, or country, keeps their rules in place.
This ” Birdie Boobie Prize ” will hopefully find anther dugout to hang out soon.
Brought down by a Titleist 4 golf ball some idiot hit wrong, he isn’t much of a conversationalist. I expect he is as tired of me as I am as tired of him.
Next time on the course, I’m going to make sure I shoot a birdie, or make sure I have a better partner.
At the Casa Grande trading post and museum in Cerrillos, New Mexico, there is also a small petting zoo for the kids. There were, this morning, some fowl and goats in the locked pens, and, oddly, a solitary camel. The last Scotttreks camel experience was in a Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic airport smoking room, and that camel was ceramic and painted with smoking advertisements.
Camels, it appears, were big in the Southwest United States in the mid 1800’s when the United States Army created a Camel Corp and experimented with the animals, using them to pack goods as Army soldiers patrolled and kept order in the western territories before they became states. The camels were well suited to their task, and the landscape, but the experiment was shelved and the camels were sold off.
You can buy a camel today for a little more than $5000.00 but you need to know a few things about them before taking one home. Camels need space, exercise, lots of hay, and they are not always friendly. From people who own camels come reports that the large animals can show love, hate, be jealous, be warm and caring, fierce and dangerous. They can drink up to 20 gallons of water at a time and eat grass, hay, wheat and oats, seeds or dried twigs in the wild. Water is stored in their bloodstream, not their hump, and the hump, one or two, is stored fat the animal uses as a food supply when food is scarce. Camels can sleep standing up, spit when aggravated, and pee on their legs to keep themselves cool. There are claims that their milk will cure diabetes, TB, autism and AIDS, and, in the desert, they are used for transportation and even food by the Bedouins who depend on them in their nomadic lifestyle.
I’m wondering, this morning, if kids are really allowed to approach this camel, hoping that it is one of the sweet, gentle, lovable cartoon kind of camels that children love to get close too. I can imagine it’s caretakers and owners climbing aboard and taking a midnight ride down one of the arroyos that run through Cerrillos, scaring the devil out of the coyotes howling a mournful song on a moonlit night.
When Scotttreks goes on the road, there is never a moment when something quirky doesn’t pop up and bite you on the behind.
While I’m standing here, the camel doesn’t drop what it is doing and come over to see who I am, and what I want.
That, I’m feeling, gives me a pretty good idea that he’s not as interested in me, as I am in him.
In the 2000 U.S. Census, Cerrillos had 229 permanent residents. On the road between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and a few miles north of Madrid, another New Mexico ghost town, Cerrillos has even more ghosts than Madrid.
The town has a few art galleries, shops, a U.S. Post Office, the nearby Cerrillos Hills State Park with hiking trails, the Cerrillos Mining Museum, a General Store, the Saint Joseph Catholic Church, train tracks, a lot of quiet, and a small town rural New Mexico pedigree.
According to a town history, on a board by a little public restroom by the headquarters of the Cerrillo’s Hills State Park, this town started as a tent city for miners,and was once considered to be the location for the state capital. This area has always been big on mining and the original inhabitants, the Tano Indians,way way back, were slave labor in the mines till they revolted. Turquoise, gold, silver, and lead are the main minerals that have brought people here looking for easy riches. There was a movie, ” Young Guns, ” made here, and many of the residents work in Santa Fe and commute, just liking to be away from city life.
Highlights of today’s visit was encountering a California “Hippie Bus ” with its occupants a family who spend their life on the road and were looking for turquoise in town. When they had trouble navigating, the woman would get out of the bus, step back and direct her driver till he got the bus going the right direction. Another place, good for the spirit, was the Saint Joseph Church at the end of a main street. The church goes back a hundred years and there is an open courtyard visitors can stroll through and meditate on the human condition. The Mining museum and trading post were closed but you could still see the camel, goats and birds at the petting zoo, along with mining machines all rusted and inoperable. A local man, waxing his older Volvo, that is a classic, told me his son was living in New York and he and his girlfriend haD to sneak out at night just to get relief from the lock down there.
” No way I’d want to live there, ” I volunteered, and the man, who was a contractor who builds in Santa Fe, agreed.
” We’re still working but you can only have five in the house at one time, ” he said, ” It makes making a living difficult.”
This little town used to be full of hotels, saloons, dance halls, shops and short order houses, brothels and boarding houses, but it is now just a sleepy little burg for sightseers and tourists.
Cerrillos means ” Little Hills ” in Spanish, and , later IN the evening, as the sun goes down, these little hills will get a pinkish tint that makes them look like some of the art canvases in the shops.
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s this little town was feeling it’s oats.
Now, Cerrillos is a place to escape the bustle of the big city, revisit the state’s mining history, pick up some rare turquoise mined from this area, hike in the ” Little Hills”, and spend a lazy Saturday petting camels in the petting zoo.
In every crisis, you learn what is most important.
Across America, the one item most people hoarded, during this Covid- 19 epidemic, was toilet paper, followed by disinfectants, face masks, hand cleaners and sanitary wipes. After toilet paper, ammunition and alcohol came in a close second and third. When the chips are down, and cards come out on the table,” Preppers” all know what they need to barter with, their neighbors, and guard with their lives.
When jobs are gone, banks are closed, grocery shelves are bare, people keep their distance, and money is worthless as the paper it is printed on, a few cases of toilet paper, alcohol and ammunition will be worth their weight in gold.
This latest ” National Emergency” has just been a rehearsal for a bigger emergency down the road, one that will be planned as well as this one.
In our state, gun stores are closed as non-essential and liquor stores have been closed,too, though you can still buy alcohol at the grocery.
There is just so much that doesn’t make sense about this ” Government induced lock down ” that hoarding toilet paper seems just about the most rational thing a citizen can do.
We have always lived in a world full of germs, bacteria and viruses, disease, infirmities, and death.
Why, in human history, do we approach this virus any different than we ever have?
Highway 14 is a small ribbon of a road, two undulating lanes that roll and twist, that take traffic to Madrid and Cerrillos, New Mexico, and on to Santa Fe, or Albuquerque, depending on what direction you are pointing your car.
New Mexico has always been a mining and ranching state. It is one of the largest U.S. states with a population over two million and most of those two million living in cities like Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Las Cruces. The state is as hard as this countryside and was one of the last territories to become a U.S. state in 1912. Highway 14 takes you through undulating rugged hills dotted with junipers, arroyos, and canyons, under blue blue skies with a few white puffs of clouds. The people who live out here are tough, practical, artistic, and don’t take a cotton to ” city life. ”
Two things to see on the drive to Madrid from Cerrillos, enough to warrant a stop and a photo, are a Trojan Horse and a crazy looking bird that is out of someone’s imagination..
It is funny how the Greeks are still reminding us that they were here too. This Trojan Horse, by the side of the Highway 14, overlooks the valley below and doesn’t look like he is going to take ” No ” for an answer.
A little further down the road, almost to Madrid, is a crazy bird, by the side of the Highway 14. He looks like he is from another world too. He advertises one of the many galleries in this area, and even though this gallery is closed, it shows the spirit of this entire area. Even tough old ” homesteaders ” have an artistic side and prefer the country to the city, any day.
Pulling into Madrid, finding a place to park isn’t hard today. The town is closed because of a virus, and one suspects that most residents in these parts are happy to see their streets empty.
New Mexico has lots of little back roads, like Highway 14, and along most of them are glimpses like these into a state that holds to it’s western heritage with one hand and the space age with the other.
” You an appraiser? ” the ball capped man, leaning against a pickup, asks me as I stand in the street and take a photo of a house for sale.
” No, ” I say, ” I’m just taking pretty pictures. ”
There are plenty of pretty pictures in Madrid, and some of them are Quirky. Madrid is a New Mexico ghost town about thirty five miles northeast of Albuquerque, closer to Santa Fe, and it has a storied history. Some say ghosts are still hanging out here on moonlit nights with coyotes howling and winds gently blowing the cottonwood trees that line the hamlet’s streets.
Madrid, that had an official population of 204 in 2010, used to be a mining town, and the company town produced anthracite coal for passenger trains because it burned cleaner. The town mostly huddles close to New Mexico Highway 14 and some notable sights to see are the Mineshaft Tavern and Museum, the Old Boarding House that was the only place to get coffee this morning, the Oscar Hubar Ball Field that was the first lighted ball field west of the Mississippi in the 1920’s.
Madrid was owned by corporations and when the demand for coal trickled down in the 1940’s, the town shut down. It was reclaimed by hippies and non conformists in the 1950,60’s and 70’s. There are numerous shops along Highway 14 through town that sell pottery, jewelry, turquoise, art, spiritual counseling, and Tarot readings. The town is a popular destination for motorcyclists, and, in 2007, the movie ” Wild Hogs ” was set and filmed here. In one of the opening scenes of the popular television series ” Breaking Bad, ” Walter White, after cooking some meth, calls his wife, Skyler, and suggests a trip to Madrid for a family lunch.
Today, the town is virtually shut down by a decree from our Governor, and walking the street is pleasant.
Some of the highlights of the visit are having hot coffee in the Old Boarding House, discovering Heaven, finding nooks and niches in the town that shows it’s ” attitude. ”
People, who live here, seem to have long beards, give you an extra long look, and all have three or four dogs around their homestead.
I’m guessing that some of the town’s residents still mine a little coal for their pot bellied stoves on cold winter days when the winds whip down Main Street and even dogs don’t want to be out.
For those with a little extra time, Madrid makes a close place to Albuquerque to see and enjoy.
As the same man who asked me ” if I was an appraiser, ” said, ” Getting out of the city is always good. ”
We don’t mine coal anymore but it sure feels, today, that I’m working for the company store.
When J.B. said he had a painting he wanted to give me, I wasn’t sure where this was all headed. I didn’t need another painting but told him to bring it over, and, if I didn’t want it, I would store it for him in my garage.
The painting, it turns out, is of a desert landscape. It is the art sold in Hobby Lobby, and Wal Mart, and is accepted as ” art ” by many, because it looks like something. In fact, wanting ” art ‘ to look like something is what most people seem to think ” art ” is.
This painting was done by Lee Reynolds, which turns out to be a 1960’s painting factory where house artists cranked out paintings for retail stores to be hung in mom and dad’s living rooms all across America. It was probably some little Chinese woman who knocked this out, in a couple of hours, while John Glenn was stepping on the moon and hitting his golf ball.
Scott has traveled in Arizona and guesses their might be a river just like this somewhere in that state, with saquaros guarding the river, just like this painting shows it.
Till further notice, this atypical piece of art, is going to hang with all the other non-realistic art Scott loves.
I like the desert, like water, and like saquaros.
Why wouldn’t I like looking at them every morning, as sunlight comes creeping through window blinds. and the trumpet from a nearby military base plays reveille and raises the colors?
I’m wondering if the little Chinese lady, who did this “original”, ever made it to the desert herself?