Living Through the End of Empire

Kathy at the wheel

Post-breakfast, heading to the studio

The love pours out of me. I’ve always said I loved her, but this is different. It’s as if a dam has broken. I can feel the channel widening as it flows. It started when I realized I had a choice, when I pulled my attention back to what was right in front of me. After more decades than most of you have been alive, I almost feel all right.

Her father wrote, edited, and published a small town weekly newspaper in western Iowa before she was born. A one-man operation. She needs a paper in the morning like she needs her tea and breakfast. We used to have a subscription. But the Santa Fe New Mexican, our paper of choice, has a hard time finding people in Taos to deliver, so the carriers run the show. (“Too far!”) The last one hit upon the strategy of only delivering every other day—if that—until we canceled. (I called each time and they were nice, but nothing happened.) Now she drives six miles round-trip to a gas station mini-mart before breakfast just to buy one. The carrier only brings half a dozen copies to the store and doesn’t always make it.

She wakes before dawn and sometimes worries. I either know when she gets up and slide my body over to the warm spot or I don’t. Half awake, I hear little noises from the kitchen as she cleans the cat box and makes my coffee, then I fall back to sleep. The island of silence finally rouses me while she’s on the road. I stumble out of bed to build a fire before her headlights flash across the wall.

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John Hamilton Farr lives at 7,000 feet in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells it, John is “a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” This JHFARR.COM site is the master writing archive. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page. For a complete list of all John’s writing, photography, NFTs, and social media links, please visit JHFARR.ART  

  • Marti Fenton November 3, 2017, 5:07 PM

    Now I remember how hard it was to get used to a weekly paper. In Denver, we had two dailies to choose from. Taos used to be better too. I think they are trying to wean us from paper.

  • JHF November 4, 2017, 1:20 AM

    I used to be addicted to the daily paper. In Maryland we lived ten miles from town, out in the country, but we could get the Baltimore Sun delivered. There was (and is) a weekly county newspaper, but the Sun was our daily. Indispensable, really. On Sundays we’d usually go into town to get a Washington Post as well. This was the pattern there wherever we lived. At one house we rented, that meant a mile hike up a sandy lane, but the paper would be there, every day. That place was on a wide tidal creek that met up with a river. On Sunday mornings in the summer, we’d take my wooden rowboat with a modest outboard into town to get the Post. There was a town dock where we could tie up. We’d walk two blocks up the street to get the paper, then hop back in the boat. That took about 45 minutes each way.

    I went all-digital for national and world news in the early 2000s, both out of necessity and because the news is fresher. But I still pick up the New Mexican to see Caté’s cartoon and read the state and local news and kinda miss it when it’s not here!

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