Gallup

truck in Gallup

We buried her uncle in Phoenix, as the saying goes. A memorial service for Roger, the favorite, cremated and sealed in a vault. There were palm trees and Canada geese and cousins galore, an avalanche of emotion for the love of my life. On the way home we learned that another uncle had died, this one the last, up in Iowa. Of Tom it is said he survived World War II but not Shirley.

On the first leg of the trip we bivouacked in Holbrook. The wifi worked not, there were freight trains all night, and we threw the free breakfast away. I confronted the manager who’s probably dead now. (When I checked out I saw she’d been crying.) Uncles, motels, so much wreckage and blame.

On the way back near Gallup a Hampton Inn beckoned. The staff were all Natives and lifted the place. The decor was healthy and did not offend. The room was attractive and calm. After all we’d been through, mostly all right but exhausting, it felt like a home to us just for one night. We stood there in shock with our bags on the floor, grateful but mortal and done. I remembered my wife in the car, counting the years between her and her uncles. Surely it’s not over yet, but those numbers, my God. She was so happy the room was so nice. I hugged her and thought of how fleeting it was and I cried.

John Hamilton Farr lives in Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. with his classical pianist wife. “Possibly the only place I can get away with this,” he says. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore (Bush’s Brain) put it in a review of John’s first book, Buffalo Lights is the work of 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.” John is the author of BUFFALO LIGHTS, TAOS SOUL, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE, and THE HELEN CHRONICLES. He has been publishing online since 1996 (Zoo Zone, Farr Site, MacFaust, GRACK!, FarrFeed) and blogs regularly here at JHFARR.COM. See also → John’s Twitter profile, Amazon Author Page, video channel at YouTube, and website photos at SmugMug. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page.  

  • Duncan November 16, 2019, 7:23 AM

    The end game, I guess is what they should call it.

    It’s scary really how you are young and care free for what feels like only yesterday and then full of aches, pains, regrets and silver hair in what feels like tomorrow.

    The time when we systematically bury our elders, soon coming to the realization that we are close to being next.

    And now the only game you get to play is the end game.

    • JHF November 16, 2019, 9:15 AM

      Hey Duncan! Do you still live in Africa? I’d probably like that.

      Yeah, aging is a bitch. I always wonder what the hell happened?!? But we do gain immeasurable depth and capacity for love, so there’s that. The other morning I tweeted, “Yesterday the river of fear began to dry up in my life, and lo, the lad was happy.”

      Nothing’s inevitable, either, in between the thoughts. That’s where I’m hanging out now.

  • Duncan November 17, 2019, 9:55 PM

    Hi John

    Indeed I still am in Africa, and will be for the rest of my life.

    This by the way is not necceessarily a good thing either.
    As you may well be aware, infrastructure and services are mostly down the drain.

    It scares me that in my old age I may have to sit on a bench in the sun, in a long queue of sitters, waiting for my turn to see the doctor. Hopefully not be told in the afternoon to return tomorrow….

    Anyway, I’m starting to get over the fear of ageing.
    It’s when I look at my wife that I get scared all over again.
    How will we survive?
    To watch her struggle along with bugger all would kill me.

    Heck, for her sake I hope I get to shrug off this mortal coil before I can no longer pay my life insurance.
    At least that way she can live with dignity.

    I’m sure there is a plan in the whole bigger scheme of things, and that thought gives me some measure of comfort.

    Meanwhile, like it or not, for now I’m playing the end game.

    • JHF November 20, 2019, 10:31 PM

      I hear you. Many of your thoughts mirror my own experience. I don’t know how we’ll survive, either, but I can’t give up. And I have been experiencing some feelings I never had before.

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