I began my last full day in New Mexico with a morning run. Since we'd seen the black dog along the creek, I figured I'd try a different route. I went to the drops, going first down the side nearest our property, where we had played as children and where my cousin Laura fell through the ice when we were all in town for my grandparents' fiftieth wedding anniversary in '76.
When I got to the road, I went back up the drops on the other side, to the other road at the back, and since the near side was blocked off by fencing to keep out cars and four-wheelers, I retraced my steps back along the drops, making a sort of U shape. Then I climbed the barrier to the road behind my father's house and took off toward the cemetery road. Unbelievably, there was that stupid black dog, just a bit beyond my father's property, barking at me on the road! I found a two-by-four on the ground nearby and no sooner had I picked it up when the dog decided I meant business and backed off, but I quickly found a smaller but equally sturdy stick and ran with it until I was well enough past that area that I could lay it down in a spot where I could pick it up again later if I needed it. I contninued on to the cemetery, halfway back down the hill, around another little trail I found, then back to the paved road and to the post office and church where they ring the bell for my family's funerals. Then I went back up the road, picking up my stick before going past where I'd seen the dog, but it was gone now. Then I climbed the dirt barrier, ran around the drops again, and headed home.
Shower, breakfast, coffee, long chit-chat.
Then we headed in to Albuquerque. My father thought it would be fun to walk along the bosque trail, which apparently winds around for miles in the city and its environs, a paved way for runners, walkers and cyclists. We had trouble keeping up with signage, but finally found ourselves at an aquarium and botanical garden that also boasted access to the bosque trail.
The trail access was tricky to find, and trail was almost completely without shade (Dudes, where's the bosque?) but it was a nice walk and it took us to the river and a couple of canals leading off of it. Then we went back to the place we started, got back in the car and went to Old Town. We'd walked for a couple hours and were hungry. We found a nice little Mexican place that offered salads, then we browsed the shops for awhile. Dan did some shopping for souvenirs for his family, but I just looked.
By now it was after five, so we headed home, took a little nap, then headed over to my pay a visit to my Uncle Mike and his new wife, Emily. They live in a big house on several acres of nice land a couple miles from my father. We found Emily watering her grapes and Mike filthy and tinkering with a truck in the garage when we arrived, even though they were expecting us. Mike has always been a strange one. But their dog, Pepper, was very friendly and held up a paw for me to shake, didn't jump or bark or any of that other irritating stuff that poorly trained dogs will do. Nice critter, that Pepper!
We were finally ushered into the house and Emily gave me the grand tour. I found the place a bit too new and fancy, like Emily was trying a bit too hard. I much prefer a home that feels cozy and looks like someone didn't go to every expense to make sure every little thing matches every other little thing. But it was nice and I must've made all the right compliments, because she gave me a little statue of the Santo Niño, which had been my grandmother's favorite. Not being a Catholic myself, and not being able to think how a santo would fit into my decor back in Houston, I was a little unsure what I would do with such a gift, but since it was obviously from the heart, I was glad to have it.
We then spent an hour all chatting around the rather too big and fancy marble kitchen table, then figured it was getting late, so we headed home. I set my Santo Niño on the dresser in my room, next to the picture of my maternal great-grandparents and it looked so appropriate there that I resolved that this should be its home.