Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Road Trip -- Tuesday

According to a recent article in the Dallas Morning News, the all American holiday of Thanksgiving didn't originate in 1621 at Plymouth Rock. Of course, we have to consider the source. We're in Texas now. Many Texans, it seems, like their version of Thanksgiving better because in their version the first Thanksgiving took place 23 years before Plymouth Rock. The Spanish conquistador Juan De Ornate arrived with about 600 people at El Paso Del Norte after a terrifying journey across the northern Mexican desert and a dangerous but successful crossing of the Rio Grande River. The Texas version tells that a group of Spanish Franciscan friars held a Mass of Thanksgiving for the safe arrival. During that mass they blessed food which the soldiers and colonists then ate.
Whether that particular story is true, the towns of Southern New Mexico and Western Texas tell the tales of dangers and massacres and growths and declines.
Pecos, Texas, is the largest town in Reeves County. It's on the west bank of the Pecos River. The 2000 census lists its population as a little over nine thousand. At that time it was a regional commercial center for ranching, oil and gas production and for agriculture. Pecos claims to have been the first city in this country to host a rodeo -- July 4, 1883.
Today the main street of Pecos is lined with empty buildings. Broken glass makes the emptiness seem sad and forever. By eight in the evening the streets are empty.
Rooms at the Knights Inn, however, reflect not a depressed town but its finest hospitality. The wireless Internet is free. Artificial trees and flowers fill the rooms which are huge and clean.
Pecos may have empty stores and broken windows. It's spirit, however, at least at the Knights Inn is one of generous attention to detail.


riter42 said...

So glad your trip is going well. Now that you're in Pecos, probably you won't want to leave without looking around for some souvenirs having to do with Pecos Bill. Do you remember that record that we played over and over with Mike Sanborn? "He's the toughest hombre west of the Alamo."

Anonymous said...

What an interesting story - Thanksgiving either originated in 1621 at Plymouth Rock or 23 years earlier in Texas - who really knows? We celebrate the holiday nonetheless and are thankful for our Great Country.

MaryWalkerBaron said...

I remember that and in fact we were singing snatches of that song as we walked down a street of empty stores with broken windows.