In early December, a 20-degree cold snap chased me through the southern states. We all know that the desert gets cold at night, but THAT cold? Well below freezing?? Surprise to me. Unfortunately, the turtle’s water pipes are liable to burst if they’re exposed to freezing temperatures. Consequently, we sped the 1,000 miles from Amarillo, Texas to Southern California. On the way, I met a gun-totin, elk- and quail-huntin, RV-park-ownin, extroverted man named Rick. You can hear him talk about how playing baseball in the minor league was a thrill off the field, why he left baseball to become a plant manager for a Fortune 500 company, and the biggest selling point for the RV campground that he and his family came to own in New Mexico–
Music in this show:
1. Novos Baianos, “Globo Da Morte”
2. Rilo Kiley, “My Slumbering Heart”
3. Breathe Owl Breathe, “Lions Jaw”
4. Rilo Kiley, “Capturing Moods”
5. Little Cow, “What Will Be”
6. Dosh, “Country Road X”
7. Eels, “Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues”
The RV park is walking distance to a historic town called Mesilla, where Billy the Kid was tried and hanged, and where the oldest brick building in New Mexico still stands. In those days, the bricks were fired in the oven of a man who was later killed by robbers in the very house he’d built. I got my fill of colorful contemporary stories from Rick, his employee Michael, and a retired man from out east named Jack.
Although I didn’t get to see them, Rick told me that roadrunners live at the RV park alongside the motor homers; the birds most often roost in heaps of leaves on the ground. The morning I left, my passage out of the park was blocked by–I counted them–208 bicyclists pedaling en masse toward Las Cruces. It being early December, some bikers wore Santa hats or reindeer antlers on their helmets; some rode recumbents; some shared tandems. A good omen, I thought, as I drove off toward a border checkpoint. No matter where you’re headed from Las Cruces, you’ll run into a checkpoint.
Hey, checkpoint it out–bonus tracks!
BONUS: Ode to Youth
Rick is a farm boy originally from Indiana. Here, he relates some stories from back in the day, when he was up to no good.
Music in the Ode to Youth:
1. Hot Chip, “The warning”
2. West Side Story soundtrack, “Prologue”
3. Thao & Mirah, “How dare you”
Bonus bonus: Homage to Jane
Rick’s wife passed away 8 months ago. Jane and Rick were high school sweethearts, together for over 20 years before she died. Here, Rick tells a story about what happened one time when they took out a canoe.
Music in the Homage to Jane:
1. Laura Veirs, “Ocean night song”
2. M83, “Train to Pluton”
3. Breathe Owl Breathe, “Across the loch”
4. Jonathan Richman, “When she kisses me”