SUBMITTED OCTOBER 2014
Many people on Dal’s blog may remember my husband Jerry from scrapbook seventy-nine. He’s the one who was rescued by a helicopter after spending the night in the snow. Jerry has been on many searches and we both have enjoyed being in the chase, but I’m not writing to tell stories of his searches or where we believe the treasure rests. There is more to the search then looking for the chest, at least for us there has been and that is why I had my heart set on traveling to Santa Fe to meet Forrest.
A lot of people want to dissect everything that is said and every story told. We can overanalyze things and end up reading into things that aren’t there. Sometimes we miss the beauty in the moment or the fervor in the person. My day with Forrest was just that and nothing more.
Forrest knew that I would be coming but I think he wondered if he was getting more then what he wanted finding out that I’m a psychology major, who’s a counselor/ teacher, with a catholic background. I think you might as well have put a target on my forehead, but lucky for me he let me in anyway 🙂 I’m thankful he didn’t have to use his hole card a.k.a. escape plan “B”.
When I pulled up to his home Forrest was waiting for me outside his door. The first thing I noticed was his big welcoming smile and his down to earth demeanor. Stepping across the threshold into his home and down the steps into his den was a little paralyzing. Seeing everything in person for the first time was overwhelming to take in all at once. It was like out of a movie set. I wanted to touch everything. He was very hospitable and we talked about things that may have seemed of no importance to anyone else, but sometimes those are the most intriguing conversations.
After talking with him and seeing some of his artifacts, we went to the Feed Store for lunch (San Marcos Cafe). It’s one of those mom and pop country folk type places that sells agriculture products in the back and has farm animals around. If one is looking for good food and a laid back environment where the people are friendly, then this is the right place. Forrest said he stops in there often and that it’s on the way to his pueblo. The place was under new management, but that didn’t stop him from being comfortable and in his own element. He introduced himself to one of the new owners and cut-up with her like he had known her forever. I think that’s just the type of guy he is, never meeting a stranger. Sitting at our table I noticed him looking around the room. He’s a people watcher and notices everything and curious about a lot of things. I like that about him and had fun sitting and being imaginative about what was going on around us, such as where the people were from and what brought them there. His storytelling abilities are not just limited to his own life experiences. He would make a good fiction writer. While waiting on our food he took me in the back to show me the feed store that’s attached to the restaurant. I could recognize the scent of alfalfa hay and other earthy tones I couldn’t place at the moment, but were familiar to me from my days on my grandfather’s farm and working in landscaping. There were work gloves hanging up on racks with bins of nails in different sizes, animal feed in sacks, and dog bones for sale. Those weren’t the only items around, but just the ones that caught my eye. There were a couple farmers in the back talking shop with the other owner. Again, Forrest went and introduced himself to him. They talked for a second and got some good o’l boy advice from Forrest.
Our food arrived shortly and we had a nice meal together. He likes a lot of spices and asked me if I like jalapeño peppers. I went ahead and confessed and told him that I’m a picky eater. It doesn’t take being around me long to find that out. So, fessing up and letting him know I’m not the gal to talk cooking with saved me from a conversation I wasn’t going to be able to hold for very long. Soon it was time to leave, but not before visiting the little pond they had outside and seeing the chickens, roosters, doves, and peacocks. He told me that the koi in the pond came from his pond at home and how he use to raise red banty roosters as a kid. I think he finds it relaxing being there and I’m glad he took me.
Forrest is the type that opens car doors and pushes your seat up before sitting down. He just does those things naturally. It’s refreshing and I believe are dying gestures in our society. One of the reasons I wanted to go visit with him is because of his knack for getting adults excited and interested in things that under other circumstances they wouldn’t care to learn more about. It’s easier to get kids excited and fired up, but it takes a certain personality to do that with adults. The next time I visit, I will be sure to touch every relic I can reach and hope there is a bowl of candy waiting because I’m a kid at heart.
Now, I know that my day with Forrest would not be as interesting without having a little dirt on him to share. So, here it is… he occasionally has bad hair days!! I couldn’t believe it either!