Severe arthritis was painful and disabling. I had been told that many had bid goodbye to their agony courtesy of the unproven mercy spewing from Manitou Springs. But if that didn’t work my plan was to hitchhike south to El Santuario de Chimayo, then try wallowing in holy water and dirt, mixing all possible strengths of homemade healing adobe clay. So smearing the paste over my pain was a backup plan but I didn’t want the Manitou Springs to find out about the mud of Chimayo because that may make God mad or make me fail “the faith test” by having a post Manitou Springs contingency plan.
The Springs didn’t work and now I didn’t know if it was because they just didn’t work or because God found out about my backup plan. Nevertheless I had to get to Chimayo soon. I found a diner in Huajatolla near the Spanish Peaks.
I met a woman named Lucia. She
was the daughter of a bean farmer. I told her about my failed experience at Manitou Springs and my theory on being jinxed by Holy forces. She told me my fears were unfounded and utter nonsense. She assured me my doubt was an ordinary emotion not an extraordinary punishment from above.
She said I had to “lasso tomorrow” which she described as a way to make the future occur by creating & embracing it.
Her grandmother lived close to Chimayo and she agreed to drive me there. I don’t know if she was an angel or a casual acquaintance but we were sweet on each other and we each needed a friend but I was hoping for more.
We stayed in Trinidad later that evening and I told Lucia I wanted to visit a cemetery before sunset and dinner. My father was buried there and I wanted to snap photos and see if I could use some detective work from reading inscriptions in or near his granite grave marker. There were some events in his past that just didn’t add up in my mind. They were just scrambled memories of conflicting dates and times conveyed by extended family members.
I couldn’t believe what I read on my father’s tombstone. It was beyond unsettling and shocking. I discovered something life changing in the creepy Trinidad bone orchard. I discovered my father was killed in a coal mining accident which wasn’t in and of itself that mind boggling because dozens of other miners were killed on that very same day. But it was unnerving news because my mom had told me all of my life that he had died in the war. She even had elaborate testimonies of his faux heroic feats and little shrines throughout our home of what were real snapshots of famous war battles that existed in US history but had nothing to do with my father’s history. Why the lie?
We walked along the beautiful brick paved streets. I purchased some THC infused pain management chocolate, then we had a few local brews at the tap house across the street from the Trinidad Opera House. It was Sunday night and all the restaurants were closed. We were tired and hungry and walked up to a restaurant that had an always open sign on it but a handmade closed sign taped to the storefront. Lucia went up to the door and peered in.
A woman named Samantha told us to come inside and eat anything we wanted. The restaurant was closed for a private event. Villagers were gathered to celebrate some twins who had just graduated from high school and they were the pride of Trinidad. We met the girls and were impressed by their smiles, personalities and optimism. The valedictorian Daniella was going to Baylor in Waco and Donna the salutatorian destined for DU in Denver. We couldn’t believe they had graduated valedictorian and salutatorian. I guess twins do lead parallel lives in many cases. The salutatorian told us discreetly that she would have been valedictorian but volleyball distractions interfered with a chemistry grade that allowed her sister to snag the valedictorian honor. We all hugged w/ the most gracious farewell, took photos of their cakes decorated with their photos in the icing.
The pace of our speech reached a fervent pace, our thoughts were racing and we remarked to each other that between meeting each other in a Huajatolla Diner,the freaky cemetery experience & this unexpected invite to celebrate a graduation like one of the Trinidad townspeople , that all these things were signs that we were off to a mysterious and magical start ….so we kissed.
The magic continued. We saw a racoon climbing the scaffolding as part of the Trinidad Opera House renovation then we saw a deer near the horizon between the boarded up mercantile and the mesa they call Fisher’s Peak.
Later that evening it looked like we were going to get frozen in time like Pompeii . We had no idea the mesa they call Fisher’s Peak was an active Volcano.
We learned it wasn’t a volcano but a pipeline fire. Lucia’s wit and wisdom was astounding she told me just to consider ourselves lucky and pretend it was the largest peacepipe ever revealed
To be continued.