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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Socorro Days

Slept in yesterday but made it out to Escondida to see the re-enactment of the Battle of Valverde fought in 1862. Though the weather man said the temperature was to reach 61, it never got above 50 and at 10:30 in the morning it was even colder--windy and raw. John Taylor, a professor at the Tech here and author of Bloody Valverde, said the weather was much like it was on Feb 21, 1862 when the actual battle was fought. I will not bore you with the details of the battle but, if you would like a couple of good links for very short description of the battle and pictures of Ft Craig as it looks today, you may like to check out these. They have even more links if you are a Civil War buff or just interested in that aspect of the War which took place this far West. It was quite a surprise to me and Bill two years ago when we came across the Fort. http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/socorro/fort_craig.html



I wondered why the re-enactment was not held at the original site of the Battle rather than Escondida--seems that the old Fort is too fragile and the actual battlefield is owned by Ted Turner, himself a Civil War buff but apparently it is really difficult to access the site--which is true, having been there. I'd never seen a re-enactment and John Taylor's narration was very interesting but, since the actors came from Ca,NM,Az, Co and Tx there was a certain lack of coordination--perhaps more realistic than we can imagine, since the NM volunteers under Kit Carson at Fort Craig, spoke only Spanish and the officers did not. Apparently, this was a problem in many of the Western campaign events. Glad to have seen it but don't think we'll rush to another--as a matter of fact we skipped last night's small event on the Square and today's Battle of Escondida. But I'll tell you, there are tons of interested people and many who spend beaucoup monies to have authentic uniforms as seen amongst the spectators. The older gentleman in the fancy uniform, not on the field is the great-great grandson of a man who fought for the Confederacy at Gettysburg--another in an even fancier uniform had a great-great grandfather who took part in Pickett's Charge. After the show we went to Socorro Springs Restaurant and Brewery for lunch and met a youngish man--40's maybe? and his pre-teen son. The traveled down from Michigan on Friday night specifically for the re-enactment. His great-great-great grandfather was in this specific battle at Ft Craig. The man's memoirs have been published and in them he says he and his comrades could not understand why retreat was sounded since they were beating the Confederates handily. What they did not know was that elsewhere on the field the Rebs had captured over 200 Union soldiers. Which reminded me of the memoir I've read of an infantry man in the Union forces who fought at many of the big battles and who said once a battle began you knew who was in front of you and who on either side but other than that you had no idea what was happening in the battle! Well, after lunchand taking leave of John, our pony-tailed Techie waiter, we went to the Capital Bar to have a few Guinesses and ran into a native Soccoran--Becky. 35, divorced but engaged to a career Army guy in Afganistan who retires in a couple of months. He's from a small town outside Watertown NY--she has visited there and been to Al Bay but really does not want move there for the same reasons that I'm not sure I could relocate here--know no one, don't know how the locals react to newcomers etc, etc. She's had an interesting life--she's one of 20 battle councelors for the Red Cross--she's been in Afganistan among other places --helping combatants in the field cope with being far away while life goes on for better or worse back home. Also arranging for deployment home in emergencies etc. She works 9 months on and then 3 months back home....don't think I could do that. In the meantime, the barmaid, Linda is from Saratoga Springs and went to St Peter's High School, now defunct, for a year before leaving for the public school. She's been out her 25 years or so. Her Mom lived in Deming so she moved out here with her young kids--one boy was 10 and as a 20 year old moved back East--he hated it here--but the two babies are New Mexicans through and through. Came home early and watched the Olympics til bedtime. We spent this morning in the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge after having decided to spend another night here. Before leaving the motel we met another couple from the East--Bolton Landing! They are hanging around for a couple of days and them moving on to Tucson. We talked about continuing to Arizona but decided it would be just a jaunt in and back out and we'd like to explore NM, a new area of Texas and a new area of Louisiana so we will continue here. The other traveler having breakfast was from Minnesota but he is on his way back. At the gas station met a man who thought he was far from home, Illinois, until he saw our plate. He, too, headed back home but wishes he could stay away another month!The Refuge was as always serene and restful, but since we were an hour later than two years ago, there were no deer to greet us at the visitors' center and, since we are just about a month later, many of the migratory waterfowl have started on their way North. Still there were plenty for us to enjoy--Canada geese, sand cranes, snow geese, another crane, roadrunners, hawks, ring-necked pheasant though not a mountain lion, which we would have loved to see. Then back to the Brewery for lunch of wonderful steak dinner--I saved half of mine to eat for supper tonight. Jason was our Techie today and he is the apprentice baker so I told him he will appear in my scrapbook as Jason--the tiramisu guy. He liked that. Then back to our room, since we decided to spend one more night here. Bill watching the Canadian-American hockey game--which has been really exciting. While we were eating a lady breezed in and asked Jason if they were going to have the game on. He said sure--seems she and her husband are on their way to Chicago but wanted to stop somewhere and watch the game--so out to the car she went to tell him--yup, we've found the place! LOL Now that I've finished this, I'm going to do the bills since tomorrow is the 1st and then I'm going to read. Tomorrow we are going by way of Truth or Consequences to Las Cruces and then back up to Alamagordo. We'll probably stay there tomorrow night if I don't find too many things to explore in between--in which case we'll stay in LC. After all, we are in no hurry and have no place we have to be. Life is good! Hugs to you all! Kathy and Bill--the happy wanderers

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