Sunday, December 10, 2006

Every Day Is An Adventure

Week 6: Sunday, Dec. 3 to Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006

Here’s my week in a nutshell:
Border meeting
Museum work
Yard sale
Christmas tree lights
Horseshoe Artist
Stars in the Parks
$20 nails
Welcome packet
Gallery and B&B opening
Friends meeting
Not as cold

Above are the notes I made this past week to remind me of things to tell you about. Somehow I never got around to writing each evening, but fortunately I did make notes. It’s been an interesting and fun week.

Border Meeting. Friend Hilda alerted me to an article about the Columbus area in the Albuquerque newspaper. In a nutshell, the U.S. Border Patrol took issue with a mile-long, 4-foot-high dirt berm that been built alongside the fence on the Mexican side of the border. Mexico said it was built to protect the village of Palomas from flooding from rain runoff from the USA. The U.S. said the berm made it very easy for illegals to come into the country. Various officials – 50-plus of them, many in suits and ties – from both sides of the border agreed to meet – and they chose to meet here at the PVSP (Pancho Villa State Park) recreation hall. I have not heard what/or if any decisions were made.

Museum work. The most interesting part of this “work” is meeting and chatting with visitors.

Yard Sale. The Friends of Pancho Villa State Park had accumulated a bunch of stuff, and decided to have a “yard sale” and several volunteers helped. It was way too cold to hold it outside as planned, so the sale was moved into the recreation hall. Practically everything sold and the Friends ended up with about $200.

Christmas tree lights. Ranger Brian brought out the box of tree lights. After untangling the strings and replacing burned-out lights, they were ready to be strung on a tall fir tree on the park grounds. Of course, it was a bitterly cold and windy day, but the guys persisted and the tree looks great at night.

Horseshoe art and Stars in the Park. Sylvia, the parks heritage educator, organizes Saturday programs here at the park. A local man that makes things from horseshoes gave the Dec. 2 program; yesterday’s evening program was an astronomer from the National Public Observatory.

Weeds. Yep, we are still working on weeds. I am blessed that I’m able to do this physical work, and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing the park is looking much better than it did in October.

$20 Nails.

It is next to impossible to walk around the park and not come across an old rusty nail or two. When Camp Furlong was abandoned by the military, wooden buildings were hastily taken down, wood carted off and nails left behind (haven’t heard where the wood went – perhaps Mexico?). Someone referred to the nail as “$20” ones, because that’s what the Desponchadora (tire repair) across the street charges.

Welcome packet. I mentioned before that I suggested to Ranger Brian that some written material about the park, Columbus and Palomas would be helpful to campers. I’m pleased to report that now volunteers have “Welcome packets” to hand out. The packet includes an information sheet that I developed with input from other volunteers, State Parks brochure, PVSP map, park evaluation brochure, and some coupons from Columbus merchants. These things are in a bright yellow plastic New Mexico Tourist bag. The bags have been well received by campers. Some who are here for the first time – and only planning to be here one or two nights – have stayed longer.

Gallery/B&B opening. Columbus is a surprising village. There is a lot more going on than I thought. Lower-cost property has enticed a variety of “aging hippies”, artists, and assorted crusty individuals. Except for portions of a few roads being paved, the rest are dirt ones. Gwen and I bounced along a rutted dirt road just north of the village to attend the grand opening of an art gallery/B&B. It was well worth the drive. The gallery has quite an assortment of local art, the B&B is small (two units located in the back of an airplane hangar – and yes, they have their own dirt airstrip – and yes, at least two visitors flew in.

Friends of Pancho Villa State Park. This is a small, but dedicated group of locals. They are always looking for ways help the park; to purchase things that aren’t available from the State Parks headquarters. For one thing, they have provided the washer and dryer that is available to volunteers. They meet monthly, and Thursday was this month’s meeting; volunteers are invited. They served a BBQ dinner and the main topic of the meeting was preparations for PVSP’s Camp Furlong Days in March.

Not as cold. After a few below-20-degrees nights, it has “warmed up.” Most nights are in the 30s, and once the sun is up, we have delightful days. I often walk to the post office wearing only a light jacket or just a sweater.

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