Placitas – Impossible to Stay but Hard to Leave

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

That adobe was built sometime in the 1930s as a turkey barn, then later converted to a dairy barn until the 1950s.  The walls were 18 inches thick, the floor a couple of inches of poured concrete, flat roof that held several thousand gallons of water when snow accumulated on the roof and the canales intended to drain the melt became solid ice.

No heat, rotten iron pipes for plumbing, and a back wall ready to collapse next snowfall.  The vigas holding up the roof, cracked timbers sagging with the weight of 75 winters.  Roof leaking into the adobe walls, eroding them beneath the vigas enough to cause me to arrange the couch I slept on in such a way there’d be something between me and it if the whole thing collapsed.

The rent was so high I couldn’t afford to pay it, eat, feed the cats and pay the utilities, even with the intermittent jobs I could pick up.  So they’d cut off the utilities every few months until I could raise the money to have them turned back on.

Maybe the best place I’ve ever lived.  Certainly the hardest.

That last winter living there I was shovelling snow off the roof, slipped and fell into the snow on the ground below and lay there unconscious some undetermined time before I awakened and struggled indoors.  Stove up something awful the rest of the winter.

But the cats loved the place and so did I, even as I watched the walls dissolve and the crack between the back room wall and ceiling widen.  The near-certainty the house wouldn’t last another winter gradually had me wondering whether I could find a bridge to live under without giving up the felines.

Gale had been suggesting for several years that I move here and live in this cabin on his place.  Another winter in Placitas, the cat necessities, and the vice grips of no-obvious-alternatives gradually persuaded me.

Gale and his brother drove up from Texas with a trailer, packed me up and hauled me, the cats, and all my worldly goods down here in one fell swoop.  A person can count himself lucky if he can have one friend in a lifetime like Gale’s been to me.

For several years here it’s been easy to not think about what comes next, to just savor being here and the absolute luxury of not being in the joy of Placitas, the adobe, the proximity of some bridge to live underneath.  We seemed a lot younger, that short time ago, Gale and me.  The cats, too, for that matter.

But aging comes more quickly these days and it’s creeped into the picture until it fills it.  The Coincidence Coordinators are nagging at me with increasing urgency and insistence to look for the next bridge not to live under. 

So far I believe I’ve been the luckiest man ever to walk the face of this planet, possibly among the happiest.  I’ve discovered I’m nowhere near as tough as I once thought myself to be and Placitas taught me I’m also not the pioneer my ancestors were.  I wouldn’t change a minute of those years after I gave myself a Y2K, but I sincerely won’t regret not doing it again if I don’t have to.

But maybe now I’ve toughened up enough to make the next step as much a blessing as this one’s been.

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules:  Marriage Before Sex?

Old Jules, why is it important to get married for having sex?



19 responses to “Placitas – Impossible to Stay but Hard to Leave

  1. I love the way you write, Jules! Bravo and keep on going. I slept under bridges and such for seven years and it wasn’t all that bad, but I’m sure glad that I can sleep in a bed now and have a roof over my head(for the time being anyways) Blessings, my friend.

  2. This was my favorite song during the time I was with you in that house:

  3. Nice piece Jules.

    Makes me feel like I have been wrapped in Cotton Wool most of my life…and I thought there were times when I had it rough!
    Here’s strength to your arm my friend, you may not think you have what your ancestors had, but take it from me matey…you got it in bucket fulls!!

    • Good morning Mark. Thanks. Fact is it’s probably all relative. I can’t see anyone out there in the world I’d care to swap problems with if I had to throw in any boot to make up the illusion of difference. Nor an even trade for that matter. I went to a lot of trouble to build these hard years I spent and wouldn’t want to give them up to someone didn’t work for them. Thanks for the visit and kind words. Gracias, Jules

  4. Friends like Gale are a rare treasure.

    Yes, age creeps up on us and we can’t do the things we used to do. But that inner resolve is still there and the openness to change. You seem to have lots of that to spare.

  5. It sounds like you are planning to move? I thought you were settled and content where you are now.

    • Hi DizzyDick: Thanks for coming by. Right on all counts, generally. Life doesn’t allow contradictions very long, but it allows the illusion of complications. Which, reduced to the lowest common denominator aren’t actually complicated at all. Thanks for coming by for a read. Jules

  6. Lovely piece of prose. My favorite so far.

  7. Can relate to this one – having lived in a house much like your Placitas in northern NM. Loved it for what it was; glad to leave when it was time. After years in the Maine woods in drafty log cabins through some brutal winters, I’d pretty much had enough of that kind of hardship. Beauty was hard to match though.

    • Good morning bela. Good seeing you. I can imagine that Maine woods offering some challenges I never was blessed with. Those old timey folk who settled up there must have loved it a lot. Gracias, J

  8. I love these words from your reply to Mark- “I went to a lot of trouble to build these hard years I spent and wouldn’t want to give them up to someone didn’t work for them.”

    One of the things I like best about your writing is the underlying wry humor.

  9. Excellent post! I absolutely loved your sentence, “But aging comes more quickly these days and it’s creeped into the picture until it fills it.” Outstanding! —George

  10. Pingback: It’s just a number, isn’t it? | COALESCENCE

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