Stan's Tuesday Walks

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


May 8 , 2001

I got up at 5:06 a.m. and headed straight to my Gary Larson laugh-a-day calendar, to see what weirdness the world’s zaniest cartoonist had cooked up for today. He was pretty funny this morning. A bunch of ants were carrying a dopey-looking human baby to their anthill home. Half-submerged in the hole at the top, another ant was scowling at them. "You idiots!” the caption read, “We'll never get that thing down the hole!"

The temperature was a brisk 44 degrees when I set out this morning at 5:55, joined by both my wife and my neighbor. I welcomed the company, but was a little worried that they would distract me from thinking about what to write for this report. As things turned out, there was cause for my concern. We headed for the Plaza at what I thought was a pretty good clip. But for them it was just a leisurely stroll. Soon both of them were giving me a hard time, calling me “Mr. Tuesday Walk,” in a manner I can only describe as snide. I defended myself as best I could, which just made them ride me harder.

This continued all the way around the Federal Building complex. But then as we started back along Washington Avenue toward the Plaza, we passed the Padre Gallegos Building, where French & French Real Estate and Santacafe Restaurant are presently located. And contemplating that elegant old building—which has stood there for centuries, under Spanish, Mexican, American and even Confederate governments—I mercifully escaped the clutches of my companions’ remarks and slipped into my own private memories.

In 1967 I was working for the company that owned the Padre Gallegos at the time, and we decided to renovate it extensively. Back then it didn't take an act of Congress to remodel a historical building in Santa Fe, like it does today. I wasn't directly involved in the project, but our office was nearby and I would walk over at lunch and after work to see the work in progress.

With some regularity the workers were finding gold coins that had fallen through the cracks of the plank floor, back when gold was the medium of exchange. Considering the value of those coins—which were by then even more valuable as collector’s items—I wondered why the wooden planks hadn't been pulled up in order to retrieve the gold pieces when they fell through. Maybe city government was rearing its ugly head even then, and had laws against old plank removal.

After several such coins were discovered, I figured it was time to seek my own fortune—between the cracks, as it were. So all during the rest of the demolition phase of the project, I could be found there at lunch and after hours, feverishly looking for my share of the gold. But the only coin I ever found was a buffalo-head nickel—which I still have today. Oh well, sometimes fortunes go that way.

One treasure that I did manage to rescue was most of the wooden corbels (a horizontal support member that distributes the load on top of the column) that were removed when the old portal was replaced. Today two of them are in my den as part of a table that I made. It’s a good, strong table, and I take secret pride in knowing that in its own way, it is part of local history.

My thoughts slowly drifted back to the conversation my wife and neighbor were having. They were still working as a team against me, but after my pleasant memories about the Padre Gallegos Building, all their snide remarks about Mr.Tuesday Walk’s stride and pace left me unscathed. An undetected smirk was developing within me as I prepared for my rebuttal, which I planned to fire at them when they were helpless, with their mouths filled with treats from the French Pastry Shop.

Afterward we all headed home with heavy stomachs and happy hearts, knowing that all the sniping was done in fun, and we had only been making new memories, in our wonderful city where warm memories lurk down almost every street.

I hope that you too make wonderful memories today.

Stan

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