When I was a kid, my father purchased a 1958 Ford / F100 pickup from my grandfather (his father).
Now this was in the late 60s, so factory air, cruise control, and other standard equipment that we take for granted today were not even considered on a pick-up. Along with the pick-up, he purchased a cab over camper – again no A/C, potty or shower were available. The shower was a large wash tub and a water bucket used during our tent camping adventures- long before the big “up-grade” to the camper. The truck had a three-on-the-tree shifter, a hot water six cylinder engine, and a top speed of a blazing 57 mph. Remember; this was an up-grade!
Every summer we would load the rig up and head to Colorado, via Santa Fe, for some “culture experiences”; my mother was a school teacher, so every trip had to be educational. And my father would say “being well rounded never hurt anyone”. But being the youngest, while crammed into a camper with two sisters who wanted to stay home anyway, I found these educational experiences, well, could be a little painful.
We would arrive in Santa Fe, after what seemed like days of driving across Texas in the heat. Immediately we walked the square, going into every little gallery and visiting with the owners. I never knew two people could know so many people away from home as my parents did. We never took the main paths; the back alleys and shops that only the local artisans knew and used was our itinerary. It was more like a well plotted battle plan- as if someone was going to get the goods before us.
Dad would negotiate on the rugs, pottery, baskets and turquoises while creating a friendship that would last the years. I always found it interesting that Christmas cards would come from several of their friends from the region. Because of their persistence in educating me and exposing me to this culture, I came to respect and enjoy the Native People of New Mexico along with their magnificent works of art.
Years later Mom and Dad started the Dancing Rabbit Gallery to share their love of all things Native American. After my parents passed, my sister, Katie and, her husband, Michael, rekindled the gallery with support from my sister, Maggie, and myself. The legacy and the education will continue now, although not as painful now, but with lots memories and laughter.
Oh, and the 58? It went back to my grandfather a few years later; and I got it when I turned sixteen. Wish I had it now…
Adios for now,
Jamie, the little brother