The Great Continental Divide – The Rot Started at the Top

A few generations ago this parking lot was full of people journeying along Route 66.  People stopped here because their engines were overheating, or the kids needed to stretch their legs, or they just wanted to pause for a view of how the water divided.

The view wasn’t all that much, but a dad could walk down below with the kids, step behind a phony hogan, and tell they chillerns if they pee here their water would go both ways, ending up in two different oceans.

The hogan was a lot more inviting back then.

It hadn’t played hotel to a thousand stranded hitch-hikers and drunks looking for a roof.

The roof, of course, still held out the rain and snow.

It hadn’t entered the phase before even the drunks avoided it.

Though all the seeds were planted.  All they needed was nurturing a generation or two.

Garden Deluxe comes into Gallup on tanker trucks and railcars from California.  A local business family bottles it, labels it and keeps it thrifty enough so a bottle could be bought for half a US dollar when that roof still didn’t leak.

The Kachina were Hopi and Zuni.  Pottery, and silversmithing, all the tribes in the area.  Rugs, Navajo.  But while the years took the roof off that hogan the businessmen discovered Asians can make Kachina, junk jewelry, rugs, and pottery a lot cheaper than anyone struggling to hack out a living with craftsmanship on the Rez.

The motorists didn’t care.  They wanted the Made In China stamp already filling their homes in the lowlands.  The world they lived in took longer to send all their own jobs to Asia.  

Old Jules



16 responses to “The Great Continental Divide – The Rot Started at the Top

  1. This is a really good post. Jules. I have a few items made by some fine native American artists, and I’ve seen the junk that passes for it. The difference is night and day, of course.

    Your last paragraph is a quietly powerful statement on the state of things.

    Other Voices, Other Rooms remains in my Top Ten all-time favorite albums. I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite song on it, but Great Divide comes close.

  2. Into two seperate oceans huh? lol! love that 🙂

  3. Looks like we are losing our America and nobody’s lookin’!

  4. Nanci Griffith, the voice of poignancy- excellent selections.

  5. Huh! I’ve never peed in two oceans at the same time before.

    In all seriousness, that is a neat piece of history.

  6. Great post. A step back in history. The ghosts of the past live on through your story. I can picture it. It probably helps that there are places here in Oregon that met the same fate and I remember when they were bustling with people. Now it is just the wind and the ghosts that visit.

  7. because it drains into two different oceans. It also states the the Appalachian Mountains drain into the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, and because the Gulf of Mexico drains into the Atlantic Ocean then this would have all of the water actually flowing into the Atlantic. Thus, the Appalachian Mountains would not be a continent divide. d Can anyone help me with this. Is there actually a Northern Divide or not, and would this really be considered a continental divide?

  8. Great post! I have a new page because of personal reasons. Please feel free to follow me again at my new url I’m hoping to see you on my list soon. Thanks!

  9. Reblogged this on So Far From Heaven and commented:

    Trickle down economics, you might call it. Jack

  10. Nice tunes.
    Sad so much has gone by the wayside.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s