After the Fact: Don’t I know you?


Shopping in the coloring book section of Dollar Tree, I eavesdropped as the lady next to me asked a clerk (there’s always someone available to help in that store!) about pencils vs. crayons. I noticed the embroidered “Robinson Farms” logo on the back of her jacket.  The name rang a bell. Jolene (Milligan) Robinson had been a classmate of my ex-husband’s at Hooper High School, class of ’58. We spent a pleasant ten or so minutes blocking the aisle (there weren’t too many shoppers clamoring, at that hour, for access to that part of the store) while she caught me up on the “comings and goings” of other classmates. I’d actually met a few of them, which is a significant number since there were only nine who graduated that year

It reminded me again how small a community this Valley really was when I first arrived.  Everyone knew everyone else, or, at least, knew someone who was related to that someone else. Half or more of my freshman class at Adams State were “Valley kids.”  Total enrollment at the college was an even 1,000. Or thereabout. I remember being smitten by a guy from Alamosa, Larry Motz, who, in turn, was smitten by a little girl from Canon City. He sure never had “eyes” for me, but we would, occasionally, have a cup of coffee together at the SUB. The only part of that SUB still standing is the “hangar” part that served as a ballroom where I danced to the music of “Les Brown and His Band of Renown.” Les Brown’s band was one of the last of the “Big Band Era.”

They say the older you get, the more likely you are to forget what happened yesterday, but you’ll remember, down to the last detail, events that transpired 40 or 50 years ago.  Shoot! I can’t remember where I put my coffee cup 10 minutes ago, and here I am, rattling on about things dredged up from almost 50 years back.

I recently read an article that claims your intelligence is inherited from your mother.  There’s no doubt I should thank mine for a decent vocabulary, superb spelling skills and understanding how the English language should be used. But my grandfather had a photographic memory (despite those who say there is no such trait) and some of that came my way. As he got older, Grandpa wrote the “50 and 100 Years Ago” columns for the Santa Fe New Mexican. Some on the staff there believed he wrote all of it as he remembered it from firsthand experience. They’d be right on some accounts. But to give credit, Grandpa seldom lost his coffee cup.

I’m seldom in a hurry to get anywhere or do anything nowadays so, if I’m in line to check out, find another place to go through. Or just ask me if you can go first. I’m almost always amenable to a polite request, and usually ask those with fewer purchases if they’d like to step up. Why is it that those with the least amount of time for shopping will wait until the very last minute, drive like the bat from nowhere to get to the store, then treat everyone in the store, customers and employees alike, as if they are the biggest inconvenience in life? They remind me of politicians: in a great hurry to get elected but can’t be bothered to listen to constituents once they’re in office. Sometime, just for fun, I’d like to get out on Hwy. 160 between Monte Vista and Alamosa at 7:50 a.m. and drive 55-60 mph all the way from the Co-Op to WalMart. I’ve been “flipped off” for going 65 mph through that same stretch because it’s just not fast enough for some.

The Valley is growing but it’s not that big yet: flipping me off may result in a call to your mom or grandmother and don’t EVEN think you’re in too much of a hurry to listen to them!

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