• Linda Alessi: A look back at a time in New Mexico

    By Linda Alessi -

    The summer has passed so quickly. Here in the West, the summer was mild, and we were blessed with much-needed rain. Our festivals were well attended, both the Indian Market and Spanish Market. The tourist trade is a major influx of revenue for us in Santa Fe, and so these festive activities add to our coffers. We are happy to have the visitors come and buy our wares, but selfishly we are happy to have our city back without the added traffic and crowds.

    Spanish Market is a favorite of mine. I especially enjoy the music and arts and crafts of the culture in Santa Fe. My daughter, Joan and I went to the Plaza in town early Sunday morning and ate breakfast in a diner overlooking the many booths situated around the Plaza. We sat in front of the bandstand listening to the marvelous mariachi music, the best I have ever heard, performed by both men and women. The voices each had a particular quality that enhanced the total effect, and the solo performances were exciting. There were other groups of performers both singing and dancing that made for an enjoyable presentation.

    One weekend, I was invited to attend the graduation of several people who completed a three-year course, namely Jornado de fe or the journey of faith. My daughter, Joan, was one of the graduates and also a keynote speaker. The three years of one Saturday per month was a noteworthy expression of commitment to the study of canon law, Vatican papers and a deeper knowledge of faith. I was proud to witness the accomplishment. Joan’s speech indicated her deep appreciation of the faith and commitment of others in her class who added an additional prospective to the teachings.

    This summer was also the 100th birthday of Allan Houser a famous sculptor and teacher of Indian art. His wonderful bronze statues can be seen in around Santa Fe.  He was an Apache Native American from Oklahoma who came to Santa Fe to study and perfect his artistic ability. He is much revered and respected throughout the world. His centennial was celebrated at the Museum of Indian Art with ceremonies commemorating his works. Many of his sculptures were displayed in the open area outside the museum. Indian songs were song, flutes were played and drums were drumming.  

    The Indian culture was preserved by the artistry of people like Allan Houser. It is wonderful to see Native Americans who have contributed much to the richness of what was and continues to be. For many years, Native American were discouraged from maintaining their rich heritage in their rituals and beliefs.

    Santa Fe continues to hold a special enticement for me. It has been three years since I have lived here permanently, and have visited for more than 17 years before, and it still remains the City of Enchantment for me. I hope to still enjoy its many facets in my time and hope others will come to experience the magic.

    Linda Alessi writes a weekly column for The Democrat.

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