By Grant McGee: Local columnist
A couple of weeks ago, my daughter Wendy came to Clovis to experience the West. She saw a lot.
There was the spring snowstorm that blocked our attempt at seeing Santa Fe. That day she saw 300 miles of southeast New Mexico. More wide open space than I believe she’s ever seen. There were cows and cholla and yucca and cows and creosote bushes and mesquite and cows and then, best of all, pronghorn antelope.
We rode bicycles around Clovis on a cool spring day. She thought it was pretty neat to be able to ride a bike and not be hassled by traffic.
Another high point of her trip was a visit to the Norman Petty Studios. She wanted to see this place because one of her favorite artists, Roy Orbison, recorded there. She was really jazzed about being in the studio. I have a picture of her sitting behind the control board with an ear-to-ear grin.
But Wendy still wanted to see Santa Fe. So she rented a car and headed for the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. That day New Mexico offered up another experience for her to take home — one of our classic windy spring days.
While I was at work listening to the winds rock the building, I imagined her driving west past Melrose and beyond, blinded by dust and dodging tumbleweeds, flying dogs and rolling calves.
When she got back she told us about her trip.
Wendy’s main destination was the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. After the art tour she sat down to a Santa Fe salad. I say Santa Fe salad because I’m pretty sure our restaurants around Clovis don’t put capers on their leafy repasts. Or “Navajo-harvested pinon nuts.”
Wendy told me about all the ingredients and in my mind I heard a “cha-ching” of an old cash register and saw “$15” ring up in my mind.
Nope, she said it cost $18. Definitely not a Clovis salad.
Wendy went in a shop where a bracelet caught her eye. The salesman laid this line on her that she was meant to have it. It was a ring of rope adorned with charms, for $100. It had a snake charm “representing transformation because snakes shed their skin.” A spiral charm represented “a journey” and a star charm symbolized “a return to the center of your being.”
Then the shaman appeared from behind a curtain, an older guy with long graying hair and a brow furrowed with wisdom. He knew someone in the store needed his help, even if it was only the salesman having trouble making a sale.
“How did you get to be a shaman?” asked Wendy.
“I was in a mid-life crisis when I discovered my path to wisdom,” said the shaman, deepening his furrowed brow. “I came to Santa Fe because everyone who comes here is broken. I knew it was a place where they could use my knowledge.”
Wendy didn’t believe this stuff either.
Wendy left the shop and went out into The Plaza. There she bought a necklace from a Navajo woman who won her over with just a smile.
My daughter was so excited by her New Mexican experience and her taste of the West that she plans on coming back with her husband.
Next time she wants to see Colorado. She didn’t mention a return trip to Santa Fe, though.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: