Friday, April 10, 2009


This Good Friday, like so many in the past, graphically portrays to what extent faithful Catholics will go to to demonstrate their faith. Thousands have made this climb up Tome Hill, and this year was no different. The climb, from the base to the three crosses on top of the hill is a steep one mile, but that is just the easy part for most. The hard part is the trek by foot from their homes to the mountain itself. They walk from all parts of the county, central, north, south, east and west. Distance seems no obstacles. Some this year (as in the past) have walked here from Albuquerque, 25 miles distant. As you can see from this picture of the parents and three children on the lower part of the trail, pilgrims of all ages make this annual trek. Further up the trail is a group of five adults. This picture was taken at about 6:30 PM, plus the weather was cold and windy and rain was expected. Bad weather, tiredness and a later hour seems to make no difference to the faithful.

And when they get to the top and say their prayers and feel blessed and rejuvenated, what comes next? The long, cold trek home, of course.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


WOW! I was totally shocked to see a shelf full of Cracker Jacks at my local Wal-Mart the other night. I had thought that they had long been discontinued - well, maybe they had been and were just coming back on the market, or perhaps I was so blind that I just didn't see them. I know that since I am older than the dirt that I walk on there is a lot of things I don't see. But how could I not see Cracker Jacks? Since I was a little boy back in the 1939's or -40's, I have loved Cracker Jacks. Saturday afternoon matinees at the theater were always a good place to eat them while my brothers and I watched the antics of Our Gang and the heroics of Gene Autry, and the latest Boston Blackie serial. Cracker Jacks always came with a toy inside. It was usually a toy metal car or gun, or a tattoo transfer that you could put on your arm. Sadly, the ones I bought yesterday all had little paper historical puzzles designed for 8 or 10 year old kids.That's OK. Being that I am in my second childhood, I enjoyed the Cracker Jacks anyway. After all these years they still taste as I remember the next time I go to the movies, guess what I am taking with me (besides my wife)?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Need some love in your life? Well, here's a basket full of love just waiting for you. These beautiful German Shepherd mix puppies are at the Valencia County Animal Shelter just looking for a home. There are six of them, and they are only about 2 months old. Take a look at them and you'll fall in love again! Adopt one --or two--all it takes is a call or a visit. Take him/her home with you, give them their shots, licenses, and some fun and easy training and you'll have a friend for life. By the way, books on dog training are available at your local library. A secret: Dogs are easier to train than children!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Feeling disgruntled and depressed over the recent foul weather (cold temperatures and high winds), I happened to wander out in the back yard to a tool shed I have there. All my tools sat idle and forlorn since I am strictly a warm weather gardner who refuses to work in the cold or in foul weather. As I locked the tool shed door and turned to leave I happened to look behind the shed and what caught my eye was a patch of yellow tulips, and off to one side, some red ones. It occurred to me that as I was whining about the foul weather, these bulb were pushing their way up through the dirt. Cold, unfertilized, no water, and with very little sunshine, these bulbs were determined to live and bring their brand of beauty into the world.

It cheered me immensely and I recalled the history of tulips: originating in the steppes of the Persian empire, a cold and hostile land, they were brought to Europe and were the subjects of one of the wildest financial speculative manipulations known. Prices for even a single tulip bulb soared to as high as 4,200 florins, that is $57,279 in today's dollars. They were traded and treated as a sort of super-currency. Then, in February 1637 the bubble burst, and the effect on the European economy, particularly in Holland, was similar to what happened currently with the failure of so many banks and brokerage houses, and the stock market crash. The fortunes men made from the tulips evaporated, but the tulips were still there each year, and every spring they continue to push their way up through the dirt and forecast the coming of summer, better weather and hope.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


The wind here has died down quite a bit from the past week, so since nothing was happening at Daniel Fernandez Park, I drove on over the Heritage Park. It was happily crowded with kids and adults getting in their recreation while the sun was still warm and the winds down.

Pic#1 - the skateboard area. Pic #2 - a couple of kids on BMX bikes showing off their talents and skill. Pic #3 - riding one-handed and waving for the photographer. Showoff!! (I'm just jealous of their youthful exuberance and skill!) Pic #4 - meanwhile, over on the 3-net volleyball court, two games are being played side by side. Elsewhere in the park there was a softball game being played by youngsters who looked to be about 7 or 8 years old and were totally unorganized, but having fun anyway. A nice day in the park.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


On Tuesday, 31 March, I told you about a fascinating display of a model railroad exhibit. I visited it and enjoyed every minute, but was told that if I came back today, Saturday, I would find more to like. So today, dodging the high winds that seem to have plagued Valencia County for the past week, I went back. The display, which is in the Harvey House Railroad Museum, has been greatly enhanced by the presence of dozens of vendors with everything for sale (new and used) from model train engines and cars to model buildings, cars, people and models of everything you'd find in a real small town. There were even some hot dogs and soft drinks for the public. It was also crowded with visitors, and the children in particular were having a great time. The vendors will probably pack up their wares and go at the end of the weekend, but the basic display itself will remain. It is well worth the going...and the best part is that it is FREE!!

Friday, April 3, 2009


What can I say? I was hoping to come back today with a whole bunch of pictures of activities going on at the park and in the building. To my surprise, the whole place was empty, inside and out. Of course no one with any sense wanted to go outside today with the winds whipping up to sixty miles per hour.

So today I can only give you a photo of the building taken from the back parking lot and showing just how big this place is. If the weather warms up, and if the winds die down, I'll try again tomorrow. Keep tuned in.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


This is the Daniel Fernandez Park on Highway 314 in Los Lunas, as it appears from the front.

There is a lot more to this park than can be seen from the front. I wanted to take some photos of folks participating in some outdoor activities, but a cold, blustery spring day like today is not the right time to do that. Instead, I'll just stick to words and try to describe it. Pictures will follow in a day or two, depending on the weather.

On the expanse of green in front of the building are several gazebo-like structures where families can gather for picnics. To the right there are a pair of tennis courts, and further right there are some bright yellow jungle gyms and some swings for the kids to play on. Behind the building there are a baseball field, a football field, a soccer field, and a lot more open space that can be used for about anything, plus ample parking.

Inside the building there is a gymnasium, convertible to an auditorium, a basketball court, or other uses. There is a large, rounded space filled with tables, chairs and snack/soft drink vending machines so people can sit and relax and watch, through tinted glass, the kids playing outside.

Cool and comfortable. This is a truly multi-use building and park .


Wednesday, April 1, 2009


This month the Belen Public Library has started on it's 83rd year of operation. Located at 333 Becker Avenue in Belen, in an almost new and impressive building, it's director, Debbie Graham, is justly proud of the library's changes over the years. It was started as a project of the Belen Women's Club in 1927 and became the Belen Public Library in 1966. Now it has grown to include computers and other electronic means of communications and education. It is open to all comers who want to learn some specific facts or just enjoy reading some novels or other books. As a young boy I spent countless hours -days on end- at the local library and received a far wider range of knowledge that was being presented at school. For that I thank Andrew Carnegie.

Andrew Carnegie, born in Dunfermline, Scotland, was a great industrialist and an imaginative thinker, can be considered as the founder of the modern public library. He espoused the philosophy that those with great wealth use what was in excess of their personal needs to better the lives of others. Putting his money where his mouth was, in 1881 he started spending $56,000,000 to establish 2,509 libraries in the English speaking world. IMHO he should have a national holiday named for him, either on his birthday (28 November 1865), or on the anniversary of his death in Lenox, Massachusetts, on 11 August 1919. It would be much better to honor a man who has helped educate the world than some tweedle-dum tweedle-dee politician. What do you think?