up at 5:06 a.m. and headed straight to my Gary Larson laugh-a-day
calendar, to see what weirdness the worlds 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!"
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
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 buildingwhich has stood there for centuries,
under Spanish, Mexican, American and even Confederate governmentsI
mercifully escaped the clutches of my companions remarks
and slipped into my own private memories.
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.
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 coinswhich
were by then even more valuable as collectors itemsI
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.
several such coins were discovered, I figured it was time to seek
my own fortunebetween 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
nickelwhich I still have today. Oh well, sometimes fortunes
go that way.
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.
Its 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 Walks 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.
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.
that you too make wonderful memories today.