Palabras Pintorescas: Did a fruitcake collide with a satellite?

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By Editha Bartley

My days spent way out in our mountains are never the same. One thing leads to another, and the story pops into my head. I discovered the so necessary candied fruits for fruitcakes are now for sale in our grocery stores. No, I don’t make fruitcakes any more, but I do enjoy eating same. Then I read in the newspaper that a Russian satellite is breaking apart and will soon drop on our good earth, in pieces, no less. Apparently it did no damage when it landed.

I actually have a different theory about this event. If one were to talk to my fellow columnist, Art Trujillo, one would soon realize that satellite circling the earth was the fruitcake Art described in a column just a year or so ago.

I wonder ... did the fruitcake collide with the satellite? Will it rain fruitcake one day soon?

All of this reminds me of some recent events near here.

I was asked to write a holiday story for the Pendaries Mill, a publication published every other month during the winter here. My favorite story, which was published in the Optic a few years ago, is about my grandfather Brown, who gave every child in Mora and San Miguel counties a Christmas gift, a toy.

I have discovered the readers of that publication (the newer home-owners at Pendaries) don’t know much about our Rociada area history.

One of the best small historical publications about New Mexico is the 1973 edition of Mountain Villages by Alice Bullock.

I suspect this dear volume is now out of print, and if so, perhaps our museum or CCHP can get it republished. In the Rociada chapter, Alice says, “There are three tiny villages in the valley, first settled by Jean Pendaries. Two are called Rociada, and the third is named Gascon after Pendaries far-off native province in France. Lower Rociada was once called Santo Niño.

“Rociada did not then — nor does it now — have a doctor. But Dr. Brown, of Valmora was beloved in the valley. He bought land here and kept a paternal eye on the entire population. Every child was given a Christmas gift by Dr. Brown.
He also gave special treats at the end of the school year for attendance and distributed very special ones for graduates. For parents, Dr. Brown stocked blooded rams and bulls, so their flocks and herds could be upgraded.

Bullock ends this chapter with, “Some of the media often call the jet set on the eastern coast ‘the beautiful people.’”

But they are so wrong. These village people are the beautiful people. Maybe they have never been on a plane, but they are the salt of the earth the real strength of our land.”

Now that was written 40 years ago, but Alice has captured the feel of this area well. There is so much history within those old abobe walls.

And don’t panic if you see some strange object flying trough the air in the next month or so. It might be one of Art’s fruitcakes circling the globe, searching for a new home.

Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.