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.