The Day After The Day After!
Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
150Trip End May 16, 2008
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I arrive at the VLA shortly after 4 PM. The gift shop just closed. I read the material in the visitor center then follow the signs around the grounds explaining what everything is. I take some pictures. Walk around some more. Then sun won't set for a while still. Walk some more and take more pictures.
The sun sets and I have a lot more pictures to add to my folio.
After supper I write one of my overdue blog entries. Around 9 PM I go and lay down on a picnic table to view the stars. The moon won't rise until after midnight. It is so dark I can't even see my outstretched hand. The stars are magnificent. They sparkle in the sky and are brighter than I have ever seen them. Well I have seen them like this once before. I was camping in the Rocky Mountains, woke up in the middle of the night and I saw the stars the same way as it was a moonless night.
I wake up yesterday morning and decide that I will stay an extra couple of days. The weather is awesome and the serenity and peacefulness of this locale is inspiring. I write another of my outstanding blogs. It is almost noon. Art's truck has been gone all morning. He's expecting me to be gone by now. I write him a note saying I will be staying. I have to go into town and get some cash. They don't take credit cards. As I walk outside he drives up. He has his chores to do and is parked behind my trailer emptying out the garbage.
I give him my note and say that I'm staying for a couple of days. I will pay him after I get back from town. He tells me about the town of Magdalena and what I should go see. Then I ask him for his story. I won't recount all that we talked about because we talked a while. He was passing through here last summer and was going to stay one night. He was coming back from visiting his son in Phoenix (I think). It was so peaceful and serene here that he decided to stay longer. In town he met Danny Otero at his Rock Shop. Danny was so personable that Art decided to stay. Art, being the person that he is met a lot of people in town and ended up staying at the campground for 2 months.
During this period he met B.W. Cox, the campground owner. Art found out B.W.'s history as a rancher and long time cowboy. The last of a dying breed. When the temperature started dropping in the fall, Art moved his trailer to Socorro, down the mountain from Magdalena, for the winter. Art found a place that felt like home. He is originally from Atlanta and spent most of his life in Georgia. After certain events happened somebody suggested he buy a trailer and travel a while. That's how he ended up visiting his son in the west.
So now Art is camped out in Socorro. One day B. W. comes and finds him and asks if he would like to be the campground host. Art mulls it over for a while and says yes. So, since last fall Art has been the campground host at Montosa RV Park. He has finally found a home that is completely different than anything he has experienced in his life. Art tells me that Danny, the one person who had the most impact on him staying here passed away a couple of weeks ago. The whole town was in shock from hearing this as Danny was only 52 and it seems, quite healthy. Art talks about Danny's widow, Stella.
Art has to finish his chores and I have to have lunch and get to town. Art had mentioned during our conversation that there was a restaurant in town that served extremely good food but was only open on certain nights. Tonight it was open. He's planning on going. I say that maybe we can go together and continue our conversation. He says that someone called and said they were driving from Albuquerque and needed a camp spot. Art has to wait for them so he might not be able to make supper. I say that's fine.
I go into town and drive around. They're paving the highway through town. I think the workers are getting upset that I keep on crossing their newly paved road. I head to the far end of town and Otero's Rock Shop. There I meet Stella. I end up buying a pendant as has been explained in my previous entry.
Back at the campground I go visit Art to pay for my 2 extra nights. He's busy doing something at his kitchen table and so invites me in. We continue chatting about life and things that have happened to each of us in our lives. He was in the Air Force for a few years, then did a few other things and volunteered with the National Guard. A position came up there and someone convinced him that he was perfect for the job. He stayed there for 5 years. Five years of hell I would call them. The Military is a place where you play ball with your superiors or you become an outcast. Art is an idealist who does what is right, no matter how that will impact him. For 5 years he was an outcast and literally, had to watch his back. He had made numerous enemies. As is often the case, there was a superior who was secretly looking out for him. Art had to work with the State Governor and numerous other senior government employees. Art knew the rules and followed them no matter who wanted them bent. After 5 years he had to leave.
Just before leaving the superior who was looking out for him asked him how he survived so long. Art's response was that whenever he heard that someone was out to get him he would forward that "rumour" as far and wide as possible. Then the initiators lost all the power that they had. Art believed in being pro-active instead of reactive. That motto saved his bacon numerous times.
The people he was waiting for arrived and we headed into town for supper. We have a lot in common and the conversation flows back and forth. Art mentions that he met the local Bishop as he is converting to Catholicism. He grew up Baptist and wasn't much of a follower. One day during his stay he went and visited the San Miguel Mission, currently the local Catholic Church in Socorro. Mass was about to start. He decided what harm would it do if he sat in. There was something the priest said that made Art decide he wanted to join this Church. He's been taking Christian Initiation Classes. I can't remember why, but one day he went to Albuquerque with his church sponsor and he went up after to talk to the Bishop. Art made quite an impression, so he says. Art is a practical joker and has no problem saying what's on his mind.
As we were talking about religion and his conversion I mentioned something about seeing a radio/TV station in Birmingham. Then Art mentioned something about trying to get his TV working again so that he could watch EWTN. Actually, maybe it was from that comment that we started talking about religion and his conversion. I thought that was a strange coincidence.
Supper over we drive back to the campground. Art had driven his truck. We chatted, sitting in his truck for at least a couple more hours. During this time we talk about B.W and his having sold the ranch last year but keeping the campground. I was also told that B.W.'s wife has fibromyalgia. Another coincidence. Finally it was time to say goodnight.
I walk back to my trailer hoping I don't trip on anything. I can't see 2 feet in front of me..sensing my way instead of actually looking with my eyes. I spend some time looking up at the stars.
This morning I wake up and know I have my revelation blog to write. I don't know where to start. I procrastinate. Then it's lunch time. I decide I want to go to the VLA to check out the souvenir shop. Another reason to procrastinate. As I'm driving there I get this idea in my head that maybe B.W is the reason I'm still here. I have to talk to him about maybe investing in my film but first I should talk to Art and see what else he can tell me about B.W.
At the VLA souvenir shop I buy the movie Contact, I can never get enough of watching it and a poster of the Galactic Center of the Milky Way taken by the VLA.
Back at the trailer I'm still procrastinating. This blog entry I must write scares the hell out of me. The sun is shining bright so I grab a folding chair and grab some rays. The rest of the story is written in the entry from the Day Before the Day Before Yesterday.
Tomorrow morning, before doing what I said I did in tomorrow's entry I took a walk to see the Chapel that B.W. is building and has all his funds tied up in. I see right away why his money is "literally" tied up. There's a Stop Work order from the County posted on the doorway. B.W. is old school. He never applied for a building permit nor a plumbing inspection permit. The shell of the building is more or less complete. The concrete slab floor has all the plumbing lines buried, out of sight. I can see the problem right now. Somewhere they are arguing over tearing up that concrete floor so that a plumbing inspection can be done. Negotiations that can take years to clear up to minimize costs.
I now know the reason Art is here. He has been sent to B.W as someone who knows how to find the rules and will follow them. B.W. will get his Chapel. I just don't know when.
After seeing this my mind starts working again. I do not know at this time yet what I will write in 3 days. I see this inspirational land at the top of the world and see more than a Chapel. I see a Monastery of sort being built here for contemplation. How does this fit into what I wrote 3 days from now?