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Next to last vacation post

Friday morning I was out early after breakfast prayers and Scripture (sounds wierd to hear me say that doesn't it?) Went down to the Cimarron Art Gallery soda fountain and had a butterscotch sundae and a cup of hot peppermint tea. Mailed some post cards from the post office then headed out to Philmont to check in for the reunion. Michelle Allen, our exectutive director introduced me to Brad Plumb again and I told him I was there to help with whatever. Last year at teh reunion, Brad had given a presentation about flying the length of the Santa Fe Trail in a small plane to map it photographically. It was a really cool presentation. Brad and I hit it off instantly and we had lots to talk about between our careers in Scouting and Philmont experiences. So after lunch, we headed out toe Rocky Mountain Scout Camp to set up for the reunion. After unloading our personal gear and walking around to all the showers and latrines to stock them with toilet paper, we headed back to park our cars in the parking lot. Somehow we both managed to miss a 3 and a half foot prairie rattler that had just killed a rat and was laying there in the sun. But in getting out of his car, Brad nearly stepped on it. All I heard was Brad saying, "Geeze!" as he jumped backward and then I heard the telltale angry rattling. It slithered under Brad's car and he was able to get back in and move it. Later we coaxed the snake off into the woods.

The registration went smoothly and the crackerbarrel later that night was really fun because it gave everyone a chance to sit and get to know each other form years past. As is always the case, we eventually migrated to the St. James Hotel where we regailed one another with ghost stories from Philmont and the hotel. (I used to work there in the 80's and 90's). Plus we drank copious amounts of Shiner Bock on draft. I decided my place onthe couch at Buddy's sounds much better than the tent I had reserved at the ranch so I went back there afterwards.

Saturday, the PSa offered us various short hikes in the backcountry. Now I love the Philmont backcountry, but I have to say that all the eyars I spent out there were much more about the people I met and the realtionships formed than the land itself. So I begged off any of the hikes and decided to go up and visit Dawn Chandler, a watercolor artist I know up by Taos. She is also a member of the PSA. Brad liked the idea as well and we decided to take his car up. He said he just needed to be back by 2 for the annual business meeting. So we made the hour drive up to the high end of Taos Canyon to see Dawn at her Gallery and Home.

She was a gracious host and offered us herbal tea with honey and bowl full of fresh cherries. I have to say, there is nothing more sensual than watching a beautiful woman eat cherries. I think Brad and I were both infatuated with her. She brought out a panel of her paintings that she refers to as her Daily Reflections. She does two of these each day and they reflect whatever she is feeling at the time. We asked her about her favorite pices and she asked us what our favorites were. Time flew on by with her offering us chips and salsa and bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale. I asked her if she was free the next evening to go out to dinner and she said she had a date but would see what she could do. It was nearly 1 pm when we left her place and we had to really speed back to make the meeting.

I checked my voice mail during the meeting and found a message from Dawn saying she had moved her date till Monday and would welcome a dinner out. She even said I could stay in her guest bedroom if I helped her get ready for her upcoming gallery exhibit in Taos. I called her back and readily agreed. I wanted to take her to dinner as a thank you for oirganizing the art show at last year's reunion. I made several hundred dollars at that show so I figured it was the least I could do. Plus I just wanted to spend some more time with this captivating woman. We made plans for me to stop by about 6 and we would find someplace to eat in Taos. I was psyched!

So we got the business meeting and silect auction over with and we all headed to the Multiplex area at the Philmont Training Center for a Steak Dinner cooked by Dave Kenneke, who used to be my manager at the St. James when I was a bartender there in 94. He also attended Sangamon State University like I did in the early 90's.

The dinner was excellent. I sat next to Julie Smith-Vigil whom I knew from working on staff with her in 85. She had come to my huge blowout party the next summer along with another girl who sat across the table from us. It was that party that got me invited not to work at Philmont again for several years. It was fun talking about old times.

The it was back to Rocky Mountain Scout Camp for our campfire. Unfortunately it had rained all afternoon so we had a dry campfire under a pavillion. Rod Taylor, a former staff member and no year round resident of Cimarron came out and joined the Tabasco Donkeys, an all PSA band in a nice concert for all of us. Then other staff members got up and played for us as well. We got to hear all our old favorite songs we had sung when we worked on staff. We finished much later with a gorgeous rendition of the Philmont Hymn, "Silver on the Sage."

Afterward, we cleaned up and people wandered off to their tents or went to the St. James. Brad, Fred Cribbet and I sat up and talked in the kitchen for awhile, but then Brad went to bed and Fred and I talked until after midnight. Fred is the Central Region director for the PSA. He lives up by Chicago. We finally both got tired and I headed back to town to find my couch, promising I'd be back the next morning to help people leave for the Service Projects and depart for home. Last year on the service project, I proved just how out of shape I was and since I'd had bronchitis back in June, I didn't really want to show how out of shape I was again. That's anotehr reason I'd volunteered to help out so much with everything else at the reunion. Everyone gives in their own way.




( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 16th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC)
I got the chills seeing that rattler!
Aug. 16th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
When I realized I was only a few feet away from it, so did I. This is why even in very hot weather, I wear jeans and boots when I'm in unfamiliar territory especially woods and desert areas.

Aug. 17th, 2006 01:21 am (UTC)
Absoloutely! And as an added precaution I never venture into tall grass, woods, (or desert in the past) without wearing a belt on my jeans and making sure I have a pocket knife plus a snake bit kit. (You know how tiny the snake-bite kits are; slips into your pocket).

That is an incredible photo of the rattler.
Aug. 16th, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC)
And here I thought is was all beer swilling under an umbrella at some old bar. I've had vacations where I worked a lot harder and longer than I did at home! I wouldn't have changed a thing ;)
Aug. 16th, 2006 02:49 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I mostly was working the whole time. Either getting food ready or cleaning up or setting up something else. I really enjoyed it though. Though a little more beer swilling wouldn't have been too bad since I can't buy Shiner Bock in Illinois.

Aug. 16th, 2006 08:09 pm (UTC)
Ewwww! Snake!!!!!
Aug. 16th, 2006 09:03 pm (UTC)
Next time I see one I'll mail it to you. I know how much you like them.

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Wander aka StoneBear
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