Feliz compleanos mi vieja

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Since we have been getting all personal lately with our love of cars, the roads you drive then on, birth genders and confessions of whoremongering,  I think it is time for me to get a little personal.


My wife and I just celebrated our 31st wedding anniversay. I married into a large Northern New Mexico hispanic family with documented roots in my neighborhood for hundreds of years. I have 10 brothers and sisters in laws and 35 nieces and nephew and they have over 35 children most which live nearby. I have three daughters and two grandchiddren as my suegra used to say.  In fact, my whole neighborhood is relatives. Of course families dont always get along and now is not the time to relay the adventures of a gringo breaking into this family and neighborhood 35 years ago, I can save some of the high adventures of Mustafa pistolero for a later date.


The subject at hand is her birthday is coming up. It occurs on either the 5th or 6th of September depending on which documents you look at and her mood. Unlike most years, this year I asked her what she might like for her birthday and she agreed to think about it Now, she is a country girl so she doesnt go for the glitz but I started thinking maybe it is time for a set of earrings. So Ive been looking around and I found two sets which I thought she might like but were kind of pricey.  So wisely I decided I would sleep on it and see what happens. 


Today she brought the subject up, and she said; viejo, Ive been thinking. I can tell where you are probably heading with this birthday gift.thing. Do you know what I REALLY would like? I said no, please tell me. I would like a truck load of gravel. That and some sheets of acrylic for my green house and a couple of 2x4s.     I said honey, if that is what you really want, then thats what youll get. Gravel and 2x4s, LOL.


I have attached a photo of her with our sunday cruiser, a 64 Chevy Impala, 40K original miles, with 327, 2 speed powerglide transmission and very comfortable  bench seats, so that  when we go for a cruise together, she can slide up against me and i can put my arm around her as we cruise through our beloved little river valley below the Sangre de Christo mountains,


She sure looks fine, dont she (the car I mean).




Jeff Michka Added Sep 2, 2018 - 8:51pm
Nice 64, Mustafa, and best wishes on your anniversary and the birthday.  If only gravel and dimensional lumber would be gifts of love.  And they are.  It's the spirit in which the gift is given, not the gift itself, that's love.
Ric Wells Added Sep 2, 2018 - 9:27pm
Nice insight to family and smart to wait until she brought up the subject. Happy anniversary and happy birthday.
Ryan Messano Added Sep 2, 2018 - 9:38pm
Congratulations on your 31st wedding anniversary, Mustafa, that is commendable.  
Happiness is having a little home well filled, 
a little wife well willed,
and a little field well tilled, 
you appear to be serene.
That is awesome you have so much family.  I have seventeen siblings personally.  It’s divine.
Katharine Otto Added Sep 2, 2018 - 10:23pm
Happy anniversary and happy birthday to your wife.  A woman after my own heart.  Nice and practical.  Who needs earrings when you can get gravel, 2X4s (which are really 4X9 cms), and greenhouse improvements?  Does labor for the improvements come with the materials?  If so, your wife is getting a great deal.
Flying Junior Added Sep 3, 2018 - 3:32am
¡Feliz Cumpleaños Señora Kemal!
You are indeed a lucky man.  Perhaps the best friend that I ever had was a man born into a large family in New Mexico in 1919.  He died in 2010.  Sam spoke Spanish the first twenty-one years of his life.  He quickly learned English when he was drafted to fight in WWII.  He had some knowledge of engines from keeping his father's Model T running and ended up driving a tank.  One of those tanks crushed everything in its tracks pursuing Nazi occupiers and liberating France under the direction of General Patton.
Sam came back to settle in California in the early 1950s.  He had a successful career in construction, notably as a foreman.  In his late eighties, he still had the strength of a much younger man.  All his life he had been endowed with an unfailing work ethic.  He was always doing something.  His house was immaculate.  I never met his wife, as he was about seventy-six years old when I met him.  He was probably the most fun and easy-going person I ever met.  I started visiting him every morning to have coffee and cigarets.  We did a lot of work together.  But mostly he helped out other people that had needs.  We used to love to watch the San Diego Padres together.  Before I came on to the scene, he had been a father figure to my wife and her daughter since 1980.  Whenever he was home, his garage door was open.  Neighborhood kids and just about everybody else was welcome to come in and knock on his kitchen door.  He had a nice workbench, tools and a table saw.
Yet one of the most fascinating things about Sam Marino was his recollections from his youth in Albuquerque.  His father owned a Rancho.  The culture in the late 1920s and 1930s was largely unchanged from the nineteenth century.  I had researched the culture of the wealthy Californios in the Eighteenth Century.  It was not unlike the world into which Sam was born.  The rodeo was a big thing.  Barrel racing.  Plucking roosters from the sand while on horseback.  Little teenage Sam was a champion rodeo rider.  Sam was a small, wiry guy, but his muscles were as big or bigger than mine ever were.  Today, the best barrel racing riders are female.  Many of the great traditions of the Californios were also traditions of New Mexico.  I was amazed.
You are a lucky man to have married into that culture.
Happy Anniversary.
Flying Junior Added Sep 3, 2018 - 3:44am
There is a guy in Clairemont, my community, that has a 1964 Bel-Air with just a tiny bit more chrome and brushed chrome.  It's chromatic red.  Totally restored.  The plate reads ROBERTO.
That car was so pretty, I followed it home.  One couple in the front seat.  One couple in the rear seat.  We were all driving 30 mph.
So I told my buddy at the liquor store and he knew who I was talking about.  It has to be just about the best-looking American four-door sedan ever conceived.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Sep 3, 2018 - 7:21am
Congrats, on marriage and strong family ties. Would not mind a visit to your town when you can arrange the same.
Stone-Eater Added Sep 3, 2018 - 7:29am
Hey Mustafa
Cool :-) Wish you all the best :-) No Spanish here though, but I'll have a Burrito on you.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 3, 2018 - 7:44am
Congrats friend.  
Stephen Hunter Added Sep 3, 2018 - 8:15am
Love a women who knows what she wants! (and not afraid to tell you)
You are a lucky man Mustafa! 
As far as the car goes, well it does have a big backseat- :)
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 3, 2018 - 8:59am
Jeff, thanks for the well wishes. Indeed I am a lucky man to have someone who understands such things.
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 3, 2018 - 9:03am
Ric  and Ryan, 
I grew up an Army brat, moving every year, so I never lived near my aunts and uncles, but since moving into the ***  barrio, where the pieces of land and the acequias, have the same names as the the people, I have loved the life surrounded by family. Its not always pleasant but it is always real. It is one of the greatest pleasures of my life to consider myself part of it.

Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 3, 2018 - 9:07am
Katharine, and after mine. I married a tomboy. We have a little ranchito with a lot of time is spent outside. She has her own set of tools on the porch and she his quite handy. We are getting older to the hard work, especially anything with shovel, we dont do any more,
but she and I will do what is our pleasure.
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 3, 2018 - 9:09am
Dr. Rupert,  consider yourself invited. We have a little separate room for guests.
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 3, 2018 - 9:14am
Burghal and Stephen and Stone Eater, thanks amigos.
My favorite is my wifes green chile chicken enchiladas. Up our way we have a local chile, called Chimayo chile. It is much different than those our state is known for. It is very tasty and not too hot. We are chile snobs. 
When I first moved here in the early 80s I had a four dour 63 impala and it could and did sleep two on the side of the road quite often.
Back then it was my daily driver.
Ryan Messano Added Sep 3, 2018 - 9:35am
If I were married, I’d never invite Green to my home.  He loves porn, and a man like that can never respect a woman.
The Burghal Hidage Added Sep 3, 2018 - 9:37am
You are such a tool
Ryan Messano Added Sep 3, 2018 - 9:43am
Silence, Hideous Burger, if I were married, an impenitent libertine lone you wouldn’t be invited around my wife and kids either.
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 3, 2018 - 10:03am
Flying Junior, 
Thanks for that picture you so well painted.
I know the men that you speak of. When I first moved here, I was a neighbor to one of my wifes relatives Silviano. Silviano was  a small wiry spanish only speaking hard working veteran who served in the Pacific in WW2, carrying the much heavier BAR. He had a  huge pile of steel out back and a shop filled with tools and jigs. He made is own lathe and planer among many other tools  After my father I learned mechanics from him.  I learned much. At he end of  a life of hard work he had a ranchito of about six acres prime irrigated land with three houses he had built, a very large garden, animal pens and a pond, I lived in one of those houses. He showed me how to graft a rose onto an apple tree. He had a lovely garden. 
As for electrical he was a menace. When he needed power he would go up to a   wire sticking out of the side of the shop and take the two ends with his bare hands and touch the two wires together producing  sparks and that ksksksksks electrical sound and then  without tools, bare handed hook those wires up to some others attached to some generator or such and hook it up. It was a  kind of magic I never learned.
Sometimes I would go to visit him and we would watch the fights on a  little black and white tv.
I know many  Korean war vets. One day one told me the following story: On his way to the battle of Incheon, he met a fellow name Martinez from nearby Truchas ( trout) and they became friends. They were soon separated because of duty but one day he wrote a letter to his unit to try to track down his new friend. He said he recieved his letter back with a red stamp that said Killed in Action.   No message just a stamp. He just could not believe it, so some time later he wrote another letter and this time got a stamp that said Missing in Action. So now he started writing to his family and they responded that he was still MIA.  My neighbor was seriously shot up  and sent home and a couple of years later he gets a call from his friends daughter, they had found him. As you can imagine such a recovery in a small community is a great event so the they organized a parade all the way up from the valley to Truchas in his honor. My friend asked his employer at the dairy if he could attend and they said no, he had to work. When he told me this story he just smiled  with  a little twinkle and  said. Well, it was war time. Times were hard.
Working on cars was something all the men did when I first moved here. When you couldnt figure out what to do  or needed a hand you could just go to one of the neighbors for advice or help. 
Moreover, people in this part of the world turn off their lights at night so the whole place is black. Except on full moon nights you could walk the dirt roads by the light of the moon. Then the song “Im being followed by a moon shadow” has a real meaning.  And the skies?
Or, when you hop in your carrito after working on it all day  with a few fellows  and a six pack of beer, you can putter through our little pueblo without headlights on at midnight, leaving vivid visual traces on your soul.   Of course, we are all alot older now, and some of us wiser,  and dont do that anymore.
Neil Lock Added Sep 3, 2018 - 11:22am
Mustafa: Great article. Nice lady. Lovely car. Thread only spoiled by the attitude of one commenter (-:
James Travil Added Sep 3, 2018 - 3:57pm
Congratulations on the long marriage and wonderful family Mustafa. I've got a pretty large extended family myself, with seven children from the three women who I've loved. I often think that if she hadn't died in a car accident I would still be with my first wife. We were sweethearts from kindergarten tell I lost her at nearly thirty years of age. We even shared the same birthday. Have a great anniversary and wish your wife a happy birthday! 
Ryan Messano Added Sep 3, 2018 - 4:07pm
What a hypocrite you are, Travil.
Talking about your love of porn on one thread, and upholding marriage on another.  Are you schizophrenic, by chance?
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 3, 2018 - 4:26pm
Thanks Neil, It thought youd like the car.

James, Im sorry to  hear such a sweet and sad story.  That must have/still hurt.
Ive heard of childhood sweethearts, but from kindergarten?
Any grandchildren?
Best regards,
Jeff Michka Added Sep 3, 2018 - 5:05pm
Then there's Ryan, first nice to please the local voters he knows are reading his demeaning and foul comments to people here, then tries to "be nice," but has to beat up James T for no reason.  I Reacted the same as Mustafa reading what James wrote.  It does cross the mind how much it will hurt if I lose the love of my life I've been fortunate and lucky enough to have for nearly 50 years.  With great love, there can and eventually will be great pain.  Can't be helped.  My deepest condolences, James T.  Sorry. 
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 3, 2018 - 5:12pm
re:"With great love, there can and eventually will be great pain"
Funny how it works that way, no?
Jeff Michka Added Sep 3, 2018 - 5:50pm
It's just something I remind myself about, and never miss a chance to say or do something letting my partner know I love her more than life itself, and am grateful for every day I can spend with her.  Not oddly, it gets returned.  A good long one on ya' both, Mustafa...
James Travil Added Sep 3, 2018 - 6:38pm
Thanks for the kind words Jeff and Mustafa. And to answer your question Mustafa my first wife and I had two children, a son and a daughter. Both of which have given me wonderful grandchildren. I believe in a way my late wife lives on in them and our memories. 
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 4, 2018 - 7:55am
James, I been thinking about you most of the day. That was surely a special thing that you lost. I also have two wonderful grandchildren and as you so aptly put it, there is something that lives on in them.
Jeff we do appear to be blessed brother.  
Jeff Michka Added Sep 4, 2018 - 5:14pm
Ai, Mustafa, we are blessed in a very wonderful way.  I was really glad to read James' answer regarding grandkids.  That has been my wife's and mine greatest joy other than our lives together, having a grandchild now.  Funny, but James' tale stayed with me most of the day, too.  Such saddness couched in such joy is a deep part of our human experience.
Ryan Messano Added Sep 5, 2018 - 2:26am
Are you a polygamist, Mr. Devil?
You mention three women, one departed, and two that you are with at the same time. 
What sick practices and minds you Satanists have.  
Just so you know,
the Bard had something for you.
’All this the world well knows but none knows well, 
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell’
Ryan Messano Added Sep 5, 2018 - 2:28am
Wow, Michkas tender moments.  I guess there is a way to sit on a porcupine without hurting yourself.
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 5, 2018 - 8:14am
re:"Are you a polygamist, Mr. Devil?"
You have serious problems with deductive logic. 
Although you could be correct, I suspect you are not.
Let me try to use logic.  If I were to guess, but I really wouldnt because I dont care to try to snoop out peoples personal lives, I would guess that he is not marrried. 
Jeff Michka Added Sep 5, 2018 - 4:15pm
Go fuck yourself, Ryan. Good thing you had that forced same sex marriage in the culture war POW camp. Is sitting on Vinny like sitting on porcupine, Ryan?  Why aren't you telling local voters about your marriage to Vinny?  Gee.
Flying Junior Added Sep 8, 2018 - 2:25am
So my first love was born in Virginia.  Her mother was very probably the most beautiful woman in the U.S. at that time.  After three husbands, Ms. Rivers reinvented her life.  She moved into an adobe house in Taos New Mexico.  She brought several cassettes with her including a couple by Buffy Sainte-Marie.  It's hard for me to remember the artists from the 1960s and 1970s that she favored, being a rocknroller myself.  Delaney and Bonnie?  Dolly Parton?  Johnny Cash?  Linda Ronstadt?  You get the picture.  She left just about everything else that she owned behind in California.  I will never forget the sad day that we went through her cast-off treasures in a storage unit in Solana Beach.
She had moved to Taos to rediscover her spirituality.  The land of the frozen waterfalls and the Taos Pueblo.  She had made quite a go of it for almost five years.  The adobe house was a beauty.  It was round, with a fireplace in the center.  The kitchen had an old-fashioned coffee grinder.  The living area was spacious.  Bedrooms had an outer wall with windows.  In November, those windows got pretty cold.  The snow piled up around the house.  It helped to wear thick wool pants.
Tragically she died driving a truck to church in the company of a four-year-old boy in snow.  The road was winding.  She drove off the side of the mountain.  The little boy survived and crawled back to the roadway to be discovered.  My friend was left without a mother.
I had the unique opportunity to visit this magic land and to stay at that magic house.  I remember chopping firewood.  It was an adventure.  my friend had been living there most of the year.
It was no problem getting high.  There was plenty of high-quality weed.  There was even a crazy doctor who sold coke.  We didn't drink too much or smoke cigarets in those days.  Beautiful, holy times.
I met some rocknrollers that were heavily into REM.  Incredibly, I had tried to check my Fender Rhodes and an amp at the airport.  The amp made it through.  A nice 100-watt tube amp.  My Rhodes languished in my Ford at the airport parking lot for two weeks.
I ended up giving that tube amp to these young players.  I was only twenty-five years old.  But these were kids.
One wild night, somebody lent me an old Ford Mustang Fastback from the 1960s.  It was snowy and the car had almost bald tires.  But I just followed the guy in front of me and we made it to a real rocknroll party.  There were lots of people there to hear the band, including Native Americans.  Unforgettable.  I remember dancing like crazy.  Mostly I remember a girl who seemed to be able to read my mind.
The next day we went driving up the mountain to see the Taos Pueblo.  There were people with blankets sitting in the doorways of their apartments.  It looked ready to be photographed for a postard.  We made it up to the lowest of the frozen waterfalls.  But as we had no climbing gear, we decided it was far too dangerous to attempt to do any climbing despite our desperate youth.
Mustafa Kemal Added Sep 10, 2018 - 8:15am
Flying Junior,
Thank you for that lovely and sad tale. New Mexico can do that to a  person. It is no wonder that Georga Okeefe referred to it as the Land of Light.  But that is not just its physical appearance, which is by far one of the most beautiful places i have been. Something we are reminded of whenever we return home from a vacation to some exotic place.
Getting my education primarily in the east, I was really refreshed when I visited NM to find that nobody gave a shit about where I taught or what credentials I had. Here they assess you more on the look in your eye and your gate, that and how you present yourself and deal with some playful and sometimes not so playful challenges.
Being an Army Brat has the advantage of not having a home town so when I came to work here in the early 80s  a light went on that “this was going to be home”  After couple of years I made the leap and arrived from Boston in my 4 door 63 Impala with a 3-speed on the column.  I fit right in with my appreciation for older autos and after living in a few places I rented a trailer in  a barrio in our little river valley and fell in with the neighbors. We spent much time working on cars, working on the properties helping each other on their houses and at the end of a sweaty work day, loaded up a truck, throwing in a six pack of beer and a pistol, and headed out to the dump to drop off our load and  have a few beers while sharpening up our pistol skills. Funny, just the drive to the dump was magnificent.
I learned to hunt and I learned to do truck repairs out in the boonies. I always kept my toolbox with me, including bailing wire. I also learned never to forget the coffee.
Holidays were fantastically wild. Parties were commonly held outside, regardless of whether it was snowing or not, around a campfire, usually with plently of guitar playing and singing of spanish, country and western and rock and roll. When it was real cold we would all stand up next to the fire and rotate so as not to burn one side and freeze the other. One fellow, my future brother in law showed me how to ride a horse  at full speed  up the rocky river bed in blinding snow.  He had  a trick pony and another steed with flames that came of its nostrills.  It is a miracle I survived.  
After my brother came to visit, he too decided to move out, so he lives in Taos as a ranch hand, Haitian drum instructor and performer, and an early 80s Toyota pickup specialist. There are some really tough hippies up there. One I know lived in a school bus with a little wooden stove out on the plateau between Taos and the Taos Gorge bridge. Brrrrr, It is indeed a very unique place.
But then one day I met one of their sisters, who later became my wife, and they my brothers and sisters inlaws, mis cunyados.  One of them picked a fight with me at our wedding shower. Their family has been here since the time of the Spanish land grants, the properties around here are named after surnames  such as Ortiz, Garduno, Trujillo, Espinosa, Martinez, Lujan, Romero, Rivera, Cabeza de Baca, Mondregon, 
and I ended up purchasing an old small adobe on the same land grant as that of her and her brothers and sisters.  1200 sqft, 50 amps of electrical, no plumbing with hand pump on the well, plywood floors in two rooms, Princess wood cookstove in the kitchen and wood stove in another room for heat.  A two seater outhouse for extra intimacy, and a large galvanized tub to fill with water for taking a bath in the kitchen.  I made that deal with a handshake on the owners porch and when the bank told me I needed  a purchase agreement I went back to him and  we took out a piece of paper and wrote out one by hand and signed it. Keeping the woodpile in good shape used to be a regular chore for me, that and going for wood with the chainsaw with mis cunyados.  My wood pile is rarely smaller than 5 chords. We lived like that for several years and then started making the obvious improvements. After 32 years we still live in that little house, although it now has gas heat, better power, indoor plumbing, nice windows, and hardwood floors and a little gas range for the kitchen. We still have the wood heater and a hand pump on the well. When the power goes out, which is quite often in the winter, we have water and heat.
In the days before 4 wheel drives, winter driving was extremely dangerous here, justifying calling an old 63 chevy a 1 wheel drive car. I can remember many times singing “comin in on a wing and a prayer”. Its hard to even believe what we drove through back then in those 1 wheel drives. In the early days I had a black lab named espresso for the red in his black fur and he was about the best truck dog you could find. One evening I headed to santa fe to go pick up a table
Flying Junior Added Sep 14, 2018 - 2:25am
Albuquerque nobility.