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In a message dated 10/26/04 3:52:35 PM, julie@... writes:

<< "I like it because I'm good at working there. I like the atmosphere and
people and it isn't a stressful job. It doesn't pump up my adrenaline and it
doesn't depress me. I can do it and still do all the other things that I really
enjoy doing away from work." >>

Marty and I met lots of people on our three day "explore" of the far SW
corner of New Mexico. We sat and talked, we heard stories, we messed with 19th
century stuff (little "museums" which are more like extended junkrooms where you
can pick the dusty stuff up) and asked questions and heard more stories.

We met a lot of enthusiastic people. The youngest was 20 or 21. The oldest
were in their 60's, maybe 70 on a couple of them. But they were happy, and
knowledgeable, and enthusiastically glad to see us.

Maybe some of them had college degrees, but nothing we saw or talked to them
about or that they were doing when we saw them had to do with those degrees.

I hope I will get the mood to write an account of the weekend, but Marty was
great and learned TONS and made lots of connections and got many future trails
to follow (literally and figuratively), and all this learning came from
people who were doing what was fascinating to them.

The youngest person is the oldest granddaughter of the man who currently owns
a ghosttown called Stein's (pronounced "steens" and sometimes spelled that
way in historic mentions). As she was giving me and Marty our little private
tour, for which we had paid $2 apiece, I asked her if she thought she would
still be doing this when she was fifty. "If I'm lucky!" she said very brightly.
My real question had been whether she might want to stay there and become
the owner someday, and I guess I had my answer.

What college degree would be the best for owning and operating a ghost town?
Maybe archeology, or history? Museum curatorship? She and her family had
met 200 people who had lived in that town at one time or another, who had come
through and told stories. She told some to us. Had she been off at college
instead, she wouldn't have known so many of those stories.

I didn't mention this to Marty; never said "college." We just basked in the
wonder of the journey and the many unplanned stops. We had never heard of
that town, but as we showed up to Shakespeare (a more famous ghost town) two
hours early and had already read all we could at the graveyard, we had those two
hours to kill, so perused the map for side trips. There was Stein's. They
were closed too. So we drove to Arizona just so Marty could say he had, found
a candy machine at a rest stop that gave us two KitKats for the price of one,
threw a u-turn and went back to New Mexico where we followed other odd roads
until we hit gates and turned back.

How could a weekend be better than to be filled with things like that? And
we listened to music and sang and laughed and admired different mountain
skylines and different desert flora than we were used to. We live around cholla, a
nd this place had mesquite, and barrel cactus--very exotic for us. <g> We'd
only seen barrel cactus 2" high in little pots. Some of these were three feet
tall and healthy.