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“Major Farr’s Residence…”

Farr family portrait

Yes, I’m wearing braces. Me and the two youngest are the only ones alive today.

That’s how I had to answer the phone when Dad was still on active duty in the Air Force. Even my mother did. For his part, when I entered the house in Tucson the night before he died, all he could manage from the bed was a softly croaked “Johnny…” and that was all I [...]

Real Taos

garbage dump and vista near Taos

West of the gorge on the Taos Plateau

This morning was hard. My wife looked at me and asked how we got trapped in this “funny little town.” I thought but did not say: because we didn’t plan for the future and I let you down and prices have tripled. Silence was sufficient and the moment soon passed. Later I did speak. We [...]

A Different Kind of Calm

Kathy on a visit

Had to burn the deck and fencing six months later to keep warm

A JHF classic from June 7, 2004. My wife was living in Dubuque, IA taking care of her mother and teaching music. I wrote this after a visit. We were only able to get together several times a year back then. “What do black widows look like?” asked the special guest from northeast Iowa. The [...]

Old Times With the Ghosts

Old Taos scene

Contemporaneous photo from late 2003

A JHF classic! Originally published as “Pall of Flame” on 11/24/2003. Hard to read, even now that everyone is dead. The bitterness, the deprivation, oy. This was me, though, 16.5 years ago, when I lived here by myself. Can’t believe we haven’t moved yet. Where’s the intervention? It’s 19 degrees at noon here in el [...]

Terrible and Fine

dead vole in sagebrush

You wouldn’t believe how many photos I took

A JHF classic! Originally published 12/8/2003. Maybe I should have been afraid, but I just wasn’t. The fact is, most mornings when I walk out to the road to get the paper, I do a special thing. Taking in the 80-mile view is one way to go to church, I guess, and the little ritual [...]

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