Nearing Silver City we stop in at Wolfhorse Outfitters and visit Joe, Kristi’s good friend. Joe leads horseback riding tours through Apache country. Cool guy. Couldn't resist buying one of his great silk-screened shirts.
In Silver City we join a procession of about 20 people. It’s All Saints Day and this procession is led by a woman in cape and face paint. We wind though the streets visiting one altar after another. Each time she says a short blessing/prayer, raising her hand, waving burning sage smoke and speaking a few words. Alters are decorated with bright flowers, skulls, photos, bread, fruit, cookies, lace, colorful blankets, lights, and candles. Each is personal and carries a different theme, or emphasis. I’m touched by reverence of these people. I’m really an observer and not a believer, but participating. I feel accepted. After making 14 or so stops, we come to the end. It was a nice way to see Silver City. It has numerous galleries and has a down home feel. Kristi leads us back to her friends place and are welcomed in.
There are five or six people with whom we share in eating blessed bread.
I received warm wishes and affectionate good bye hugs from Kristi’s Apache friends and we were on our way to Pinos Altos. Kristi guides us to the Buckhorn Saloon (circa 1860) and Opera House. To think an opera house in this tiny western town, once bustling with gold mining, bizarre. Observing the building exterior is time traveling. This is no Hollywood reenactment. Real thing here. Wood deck out front with adobe wall construction. Opera house is in separate building accessable from inside bar.
A few offensive tourist-attraction touches: a whore dummy scantily clad on ledge in sexy pose. Then there's the drunk Indian dummy on slot machine in the back near restrooms. Oh, and there are three or four naked women murals, painted crudely) Loved the opera house most. Six booths above the main floor for the well to do, framed in velvet curtains. Reminds me of where Lincoln was shot. Stage is in tact. Grand chandelier hangs above center of room. There’s another bar in the back corner. Black and white photos of Indian chiefs are posted around walls, including a nice one of Geronimo. The restaurant looks period correct wall treatments. Wains coating and patterned wall paper. A glass case with hundreds of native pieces on display on view in dining area. Beaded moccasins, vests, pipes, head dresses, arrowheads, and ceremonial items and other garments. All this was happening just 150 years ago. Same time period as civil war. Witnessing this place and places I’ve been on this journey are giving a more real context, making a time line I can understand. Why did I think the wild west was in the 1700's? Oops.
Gray, Kristi, and I enjoyed a beer together and drove back to Placita listening to books on tape.
Some believable and absurd story featuring slices of life around Vincent Van Gogh and Impressionists.