While we were visiting Santa Fe, NM, my late sister-in-law Felecia’s second yahrzeit came upon us. We picked her anniversary time, March 20, for a drive up to Taos, where I happen to have one special auntie and a bunch of cousins. Taos was both my late mother’s and Felecia’s favorite place – so we really had to visit, right? Well, that’s not all. My husband of 35 years, though originally fated to meet me through divine providence, as being executed by my uncle Hajo, who bought me a plane ticket on the same flight my future husband was booked on, had never, in all those many years, met any member of my paternal family before – with the exception of one cousin, who happened to live in Chicago, while we also lived there. Confused? Join the club! No, I forgot, he also met uncle and his firstborn, Andreas, when they passed through Arlington, Texas, in 1979.
Nevermind those complicated relationships. On the before mentioned Wednesday, March 20, we climbed in the car, still coughing and wheezing, to drive the 60 or so miles from Santa Fe to Taos. It had been a considerable concern of both of us, to visit with babies (my cousin’s children) and octogenarians (my aunt), while suffering an upper respiratory infection. But since we had been laboring with this cold for several days, and they (medical Koryphäe) always tell you that one is contagious mostly/only BEFORE the manifestation of symptoms … who the heck really knows, what to do or not to do? Anyway, we drove up to Taos and we don’t regret it one bit!
When I was last there, I took a side trip up the Chama river valley to Abiquiu with my mother, so there was a lot to remember and to reminisce, as we were taking this leisurely and pleasant, sunny drive from Santa Fe to Taos.
I may have overlooked to mention that several of my paternal cousins are architects. One cousin in particular, Peter Kolshorn, dedicated many years of his professional life to the concept of building Earthships. My aunt lives in one of the first Earthships he built in the Taos area, and this home is a true testament to all of my cousins’ strong belief in sustainability and foot-print-minimizing. All five siblings contributed labor and love to their mother’s homestead in the high desert near the Rio Grande Gorge. Not wanting to disturb her privacy, I’m only posting a flowering succulent from her lovely home, to represent their environmental ethics and accomplishments.
My aunt welcomed us into her home and showed Barry around, who had never experienced an Earthship before. I was content to re-visit the spaces my late mother had enjoyed so much through a number of extended stays over the years. After tea and several slices of my aunt’s famously delicious lemon pound cake, we moved on to my family’s most recent venture and adventure, the Taos Mesa Brewing Company. My cousin Peter and his partners have built and are operating this microbrewery in Taos, which we were eager to visit.
It was amazing to step into this enormous space of hospitality and perfect acoustics. And the beer wasn’t bad either, even though they had just run out of my favorite, Pilsner. This brewery, restaurant, kid’s playground, BBQ and beer garden, music venue, and family hang-out lives at the juxtaposition of the ski slopes of Angel Fire in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the art galleries of Taos proper and the hot springs of the Rio Grande Gorge. And they serve the best tapas in the area as well!
The Micro Brewery has a state-of-the-art sound system and absolutely lovely, perfect acoustics, over which bands and performers salivate from Austin to LA and back. Naturally, the brewing equipment is the most important investment in an enterprise like this. No expense was spared, to acquire the most reliable system and Taos Mesa Brewing owners are justifiably proud of their product!
Peter showed us around, explaining processes and gleaming equipment. Later, when I saw one of the pictures I had taken while touring the brewery, I had to chuckle. Ever since our very first trip out to the SW many decades ago, we’ve been very fond of artist Sam English of Albuquerque. Sam is a wise man, who has seen a lot and who is able to apply a nice sense of humor to the failings and shorts comings of humanity. I have cherished an English print in my office for many years, so it’s no surprise that I immediately drew a parallel between the Sam English picture titled “Them Guys, Discussin” and “My Guys, standing in the Cooler, discussin” … God only knows what …
We enjoyed visiting with y’all so much! Hugging my dear aunt Zéna, visiting my cousin Peter’s (architect) new business, seeing my cousin Johannes (architect) and my cousin-in-law Catrina (architect) and admiring their drop-dead-gorgeous desert home, meeting my new cousin-in-law Alesia (surprisingly, not an architect) for the first time, kissing (NOT- remember the germs!) the next generation of potential architects, Corban, Arin, Jonah & Neve, re-visiting with Christina & her new family and several other friends – it was just wonderful.