There we sat—three old men on a park bench. I won't name the other two. I live here now. But we sat sharing a view of the fishing pond in Ralph Edwards Park. Small fish swim by. Behind the pond the Saturday farmer's market is in progress. A singer sings and plays guitar. Vendors sell fresh bread, squash, tomatoes, pecans, beans, garlic, hot coffee.
"I've been reading Will Rogers and Samuel Clemens," says Old Man #1. "They nailed it. They saw it all coming."
"What coming?" asks Old Man #2. "This. The world as it is today. Gone to hell," says OM#1 gesturing his arms in an all-encompassing motion.
The world as we all know has been going to hell in a hand basket for umpteen hundred years. But now, says OM#1, "We are really almost there. Something happened."
"Education," says OM#2. "I've never been to a white man's school. I taught myself read."
"What's wrong with education?" asks OM#1.
"When we worked with our hands, when we farmed, when we knew our place, when all you had to do was show up to get a job, you went to school to learn. Now we send kids to school to get employable skills, to succeed in the job market. It changes the whole focus of education," said OM#2. OM#3 nods. "Everything is automated. We're doing away with people," he says.
|View from the park bench of the fishing pond in Ralph Edwards Park.|
Fishing in it is limited to kids 12 and under and seniors 65 and older.
A woman walks up from the farmers' market. She is carries a large bag of pecans and a smaller one of fresh beans. She is wearing a long dress and her hair done in a neat bun. "How are you doing?" she asks.
"Can't complain," says one OM.
"Hey, that's all we've been doing," says another. "But it's OK. The world can always be thought better."
The light morning clouds visible in the sky and reflected in the water of the pond in the picture above gave way in afternoon to gray. Turtleback Mountain behind the town became shrouded in mist. Then rains came. They didn't end until late in the day.
Every second Saturday of evry month is Art Hop in Truth or Consequences. Stores and galleries stay open late, from 6 to 9. They have sales. Street merchants vend. Musicians play. It isn't a big thing as big things go. Broadway in downtown TorC is only a few blocks long. The turnout is a few hundred at most. But it's fun.
It's a pedestrian town. People walk. Men sport cowboy hats. Women dress up. Kids ride bikes.
One art gallery/ice cream parlor is doing a boom business in cones—$1.75, your choice of 20 premium flavors. Restaurants offer specials. The smell of food wafts into the street and mingles with the smell of oils and incense of trendy shops with open doors.
The evening air is cool from the afternoon rain. The street, usually empty at night, is lined with parked cars. Neighbors step put and greet neighbors.
If this were a Spanish town it would be going on in the plaza. There is no plaza here. Broadway—five or six blocks long—is the plaza.
But by nine o'clock all is quiet except for the sound of merchants closing shop and one or two cars starting their engines and driving off. Another day in TorC.