Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.
Very spaceship-ey looking. :)Anyway, thought I'd contributesomething cool (no pictures,though one can find a coupleonline).I recently went on a cross-countrydrive, and in the midst of my3,000 mile trek I found myself inHigh-Plateau country in easternNew Mexico -- AKA 'the badlands',or 'US Plateau', where the government owns most of the land,and where your cell phone canonly receive/send 911 calls.Somewhere out there, I happenedto notice an old wooden buildingthat looked like a church. I feltI couldn't pass this by, got outof my car, and found myself in anold ghost-town: Cuervo, NewMexico.Cuervo was founded mostly byMexican 'colonialists', as nearas I could tell, who came to thisremote region around the time thatNew Mexico became a state. Theybuilt a small village out of redrocks from the nearby hills, andscraped what little wood they hadto build doors, water-catchmentbasins, and some small fences.Cuervo is an entire small villagethat has been almost completelyabandoned alongside the oldrailway tracks that had once ledEasterners out West (read StephenCrane's 'The Blue Hotel' for someinsight). It was dusty, dirty,and overgrown by cactus in manyplaces. Almost all of thebuildings that still stood hadone or more of their walls caved-in, and loose stones lay in thedirt and scrub where they hadfallen.It's a weird feeling being in areal ghost-town; and I half-expected to see Clint Eastwoodstep out from behind a building,and ask me how far it was toTucumcari (about 42 miles east,as the crow flies, I'd tell him).Walking around in this dustytown, I observed that people ledextremely basic lives back then,and they lived in *VERY* smallhomes -- most buildings in theghost-town were only one-room,and about 5x8 feet in size (no,I'm not kidding). But as pooras they were in what has to beone of the most remote locationsin America, their greatest effortwas clearly invested in theirChurch.In the center of town I foundwhat I had seen from the road:A small, one-room CatholicChurch. It was about 12x40feet in size, and appeared tohave two rooms (the door waslocked). It was about 17 feethigh, and had a small bell-tower with a small, white,metal Cross on top. The towerhad a circular hole in front,the better for hearing thebell, I supposed.I approached the Church, and sawan old rope hung above the frontsteps, which went up and througha hole above the front door, andinto the bell tower above. As Iwas looking at all this, Inoticed a small stone set in thetower. As near as I canremember, this is what it said:this Church founded byMALDONADO andJ. MARTINEZ 1915I dug around in my car for mycamera, but I was out of film(as mentioned earlier, someoneelse seems to have thought thisplace to be rather interesting,and posted some snaps online).So, I walked around the building,and found that the windows werestill intact, and that someonehad placed plastic flowers ineach of the windows. I couldn'tsee inside, and didn't want torisk leaning-against the oldwalls to do so.Anyway, after walking through thedust, rocks, and cactus (andwatching out for snakes -- itwas over 90 degrees that day), Idecided that it would be nice ifthe Church's bell sounded oncemore in this abandoned village.I walked up the steps, grabbedhold of the rope, and gave agentle pull. I felt a heavybell start to swing, and thensuddenly the rope broke free,and fell down into my hands.As I examined the rope, itbegan to crumble and fray inmy hands. I let the rope layon the steps, and walked backto my car.So, if you find yourself inCuervo one day (the town, notthe bottle), and you find an oldrope on the steps of the Church,I'm here to tell you that Ibroke it. If someone wants tocontact the local Diocese andhave me replace it at personalcost, I will gladly do so -- atrip like that through a dusty-old ghost-town was worth it.-tim
Nice story. Driven past Cuervo many times when I was younger, but of course never stopped. You out to send your story to Tom at the Donegal Express. As a New Mexican, he'd appreciate it.
Post a Comment