Put the dogs in the car and headed down the step gravel hill to the Bayfield Post Office. My neighbor from 1992-98, works at the post office now and we recognized each other after we each saw the other’s name. Sixteen years can change a person….a lot.
But we had fun getting acquainted again. She told me about her son, Jesse, who learned to play on my piano that we sold to the family when we moved out of the area, to Holland. Heather said Jesse has won some money in talent shows. I cannot wait to hear him play. I first met him when he was about 3, hiding in the weeds in front of my artist friend’s cabin. Charlotte, a unique person and friend to many, taught me a lot about how to live. She was a great neighbor.
After the post office, I went on down the Buck’s Highway to Ignacio, the town on rolling hills, that is on the Southern Ute Indian reservation. I worked for the Indian Drum Newspaper, reporting high school sports.
I drove through the town and found a down-home restaurant, filled with rugged folks, and a “kiss my grits” waitress. I ordered biscuits and gravy and two eggs over easy. That was brought to my table by a pretty Indian girl.
There are many memories of this town and reservation, only 12 miles away from Vallecito. I have mixed emotions about gambling casino’s and, while one was built during the last year we lived in Vallecito, I can see the evidence of many improvements in the town and reservation. The casino is bigger and beautiful on the outside, there is an impressive new museum, and equally impressive new court house, and lots of newness that shows better economics. However, the old town business district doesn’t seem to have faired as well, Many stores are out of business and the Southwestern-type small buildings are for sale or for rent.
I couldn’t find the shop where you could get home made cowboy boots.
I asked the waitress what was going on in the town. It seems there was some added excitement.
“The yearly motorcycle rally is happening here at the fair grounds this weekend.” She pointed where it would take place. Now that does bring back a memory, for my niece went to that rally one time many years ago, on her motorcycle. I could still find the grounds where she pitched her tent. I also remember viewing the rally from the air.
A large, rollie-pollie man, with fat rosy cheeks, wearing a train-man’s hat, came up to my table. “How’re ya doin?”
“Great. Thanks, and how about you?”
“I’m okay, I guess.”
“That sounds like you’re not sure.”
“Oh, I’m okay.”
“Well, you be good now. There’s a rally going on here.” He patted me on the shoulder.
“I’ll be good.” How did he know he could approach me like that? I thought it was quite funny. He said he was born and raised 2 miles away from the ‘resternt”.
When I got the job reporting for the newspaper, I did mention that I lived in California, but that I came from Colorado, originally, and that my husband was from Holland. I also added that my stepmother came from Tiffany, a town that now is just a cemetery, but it is part of the county, just over the hill from Ignacio. That pushed me ahead, for the job.
However, covering sports wasn’t my expertise and I eventually took my experience elsewhere, actually to Holland where I wrote for a women’s magazine.