My Bar

A very nice quote from Matt Mullenix on the Golden Spur:

“A man’s watering hole is sacred. There should be some international treaty to protect places like that. “

I had been here five or six years when this 1985 photo was taken for the Albuquerque Journal.

Spur Dance; Benefit for the San Augustin Water Coalition

We went to the dance, paid our fee, and logged on to Montana’s laptop to petition Governor Martinez. It was not a time for subtlety; my “letter” was “Don’t STEAL our water!”

Matt Middleton, Darryl Pettis, and the bar staff ran a tight show. There were more ranch folks than I had seen in years, many newcomers actually socializing with them, and the most and best dancing I had seen in years. Ty Chavez actually persuaded Libby to dance, a rare sight AFTER my batteries died.

Serious links and good photos of what is at risk here. We have started something… let’s not drop the ball.

My few photos– KC ran my ‘lectrics down– are below.

And special thanks to webmaster Matt Middleton.

Two old (or old- fashioned) naturalists, and new photo series

Two old farts in the bar courtyard. John Wilson is an old style bug catching (or photographing) “stamp collector” naturalist like me, an Ohioan who retired from an Audubon sanctuary there to a remote homestead in the Mags– somebody I can talk bugs, birds, and taxonomy with! Luckily he likes beer too. I am starting a local insect of the week photo with him though I expect as it gets colder it will become feeder bird or plant or…?

Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui, at 7000 feet in November:


James “Viejo” Trujillo is one of my best and oldest friends here (relatively- despite his nickname, given because he was gray- haired at 21, he is a decade younger than me). He is a horseman above all, a cowboy, and a farrier, a man who never spent much time indoors. Now he is laid up by terrible diabetes; he has been medevaced out 100 miles to Albuquerque three times in the last month and a half. He is on dialysis three times a week, and needs new kidneys. I believe others than relatives can sign up, and there could still be the possibility of a match, so I am putting out both a query for info, if anyone knows much (docs don’t talk to unrelated friends and he has been preoccupied to say the least), and a general request. I am also told my Parkinson’s disqualifies me but don’t KNOW this…

James was my best man the second time I married Libby (without a divorce– this was the local, Catholic ceremony rather than the first, a C of E version with a female priest in Montana); he wore his hat and boots and spurs despite the objections of the (obnoxious non- local soon to be gone politically correct modern) priest.

Viejo tale: for a while almost 20 years ago he leased the bar. I was working in a corner there as I always have, when three junior cowboys from a neighboring county (guess which?) came in. One was offended by the sight of someone reading and was suddenly leaning over me: “Where you from?”

I said back with just a little less attitude: “Here.” Went back to editing. Kid shoves me: “Where you REALLY from?”

“HERE!” I stand up as he says “Where’r you born?”

… I am answering and starting to push back, at which point James is suddenly between us saying “He told you three fuckin’ times: HE’S FROM HERE!”

He is… and you’re not. Your money is no good; the drinks are on me. Finish up… then you and your friends leave, and don’t come back.”

They left and I said, “Viejo, you didn’t have to do that.” He replied “The hell I didn’t! You drink your drink and shut up or I’ll throw your sorry ass out too.”

This story is pro- manners, not even a little bit anti- cowboy. I will soon tell the one about Sis and the Sybille Bedford memoir. And leave you right now with this wonderful language, a statement that only a cowboy could say. Around the same time as the last tale, some boors were badmouthing women in general on James’s watch at the Spur. He took it as long as he could, then came over, put his hands on the bar, and said: “I don’t know about you boys, but that ol gal I’m married to?– she is one good son of a bitch.”

St Patrick’s at the Spur

Cowboy-Spanish St Paddy’s at the bar, with Montana’s excellent band “86’d Again”(thank God Linda at least did not have a green beard.)

From top: Montana Pettis and Luke Martin (hat); Mary Jean Zamora Rains and Catherine Aragon tend bar; Chelsea Armstrong takes video as Bobby (Bad Dog) Contreras, owner Darryl Pettis (Montana’s father) and ranch manager and fellow rifle aficionado Jake Stamper look on; Monico Baca, Darryl, and Libby in various states of reaction to the photographer. Last, the inimitable Cody Henderson (who is “Spanish” — see below) with his latest costume. The shot cups exhort the passerby to give him a drink, Irish or not.

It occurs to me that after some outside visitors amused by such localisms as “mira!” (look), and the recent fortuitous gift (by my doc, a homegirl from Peralta), of an interesting cultural link, that we talk a little funny down here. We speak English, but with Spanish inflections and vocabulary and Indian gestures. I never think twice about it, having spent over half my life so far here; one tends to shift gears back in the regular culture. But if you want to hear what we sound like at home, check out the YouTube below. “Eeee….!” (spelled in full “hijo” — figure it out). NB: in use at least, despite Lynette, it’s more “Oy vey” than “Ooh la la.”