Stan's Tuesday Walks

A Weekly Feature
by Stan Evans,
President, Santa Fe Always Online


October 30, 2001

When I joined my neighbor for our Tuesday walk on this milder-than-usual 50-degree autumn morning, he asked how my weekend at the Taos Hot-Air Balloon Fiesta had been. I was happy to report that it had been just fine.

Each year some of the organizers of the huge Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta gather in Taos a couple of weeks later for a little R&R.

They go up in their balloons at 8 o’clock on both Saturday and Sunday morning, ride around a little while, then come down and party the rest of the day, instead of working their buns off like they have to do at the big Albuquerque event. It’s a good way to unwind.

At our condo in Taos, my wife Linda and I have established the custom of holding an open house both days, and inviting any friends who can make it to drop by for good food, good drink and good times. We encourage them to get there in time for the 8 o’clock liftoff, but that often depends on how much partying they did the previous night.

I like the scale of the Taos balloon event. It reminds me of the old days in Albuquerque, when the fiesta down there was still small enough to be held at the state fairgrounds. Now the Albuquerque balloonfest—which bills itself as “the most photographed event on Earth”—is way too big for my taste, and parking can be a nightmare.

But Taos is just the right size. Parking is easy, the spectators get right up close to the balloons, food stands sell coffee and breakfast burritos, other stands sell commemorative pins, sweatshirts, T-shirts and baseball caps, and fun is had by all. About the only thing that was a slight disappointment was, surprisingly, the early morning “mass ascension” of the balloons. It was a colorful occasion and all, but the air was so warm and so perfectly still that the balloons went straight up in the air and just hung there.

After a while my group headed back to the condo for a full day of partying down and taking it easy. Some of us played tennis, others played golf, others watched ball games on TV, and others just enjoyed visiting with their friends. I tried my hand at tennis, but after getting clobbered in a doubles match, I slipped off to downtown Taos to see what was going on there. I checked out a little arcade that has some interesting stores, and then I just sat down on a bench to rest and watch the world go by.

Pretty soon up came a young fellow leading a black dog on a leash. On top of the dog stood a cat, swaying back and forth and working hard to keep its balance as the dog walked along. But that wasn't all. On top of the cat was a white mouse running around on the cat's back. Well, needless to say, I was impressed, and as the unusual trio of animals walked by, I called out to their owner "That's unreal." He turned back to me and said, "No, people are unreal." Then they passed on by.

I sat and thought about what the fellow said, which at first struck me as a smart-aleck remark. But then I came to realize that his comment did make sense, especially after the events of September 11, 2001. Somehow that young man had taught his dog, his cat and his mouse—who generally are considered natural enemies—how to get along just fine. If only all the people who consider themselves natural enemies could figure out the same thing, the world would be a far better place.

Have a good day.

Stan

 

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