I spent a little over a week here, the longest I have stayed anywhere as of yet. There is so much to that area that I like. For one thing, the scenery and history of the area is amazing! I could not get enough of the Moon rise over those mountains, though I only saw it three times. The sunsets were some of the most beautiful I had ever seen. It is easy to find your way around. The couple of times I got food at a restaurant, it was excellent. I know I say it a lot, but the people at the Market that I met and got to know were just awesome! There is a market 2 days a week on Las Cruces Main St. and a market 2 days a week in the Plaza in La Mesilla. Fortunately, I was able to play at both of a couple of times. Each time I went and I got to see the people I had met- Miles and Jainey, Gabe, Dodds, Lincoln, Eliot and her husband(sorry, I forgot his name,ugh) and of course, Duane- it was like meeting up with old friends. That is the way they made me feel anyway. All of them and the ones I only met once all made me like part of the “Market Family”. Irene, the woman in charge of special events, in La Mesilla was also very cool. I really had no problem, getting adjusted to anything there.
Playing in the La Mesilla Plaza when there is no market however, can be a little lonesome. I would go out there during the early afternoon and then again in the evening. During the day all week it was absolutely beautiful weather, it cooled off considerably at night. During these shifts there were a few people that would walk through the Plaza, and most of them that walked by me, would drop a little something. The sound of the solo saxophone in that Plaza was pretty cool. I wish it brought more people out, but the few it did bring out were sweet and very friendly.
Two of those nights stick out more than many on this entire trip. One one, Linda, who owns the Chocolate Lady, walked over with a tip and THE best large cup hot chocolate I think I may have ever had! Later, Santa Claus came walking through the Plaza, it was awesome! He was just walking along enjoying the evening, he stopped, as I was talking with a couple of people. They took some pictures, unfortunately, my phone was on the charger! After they left, I was talking with Santa for a few minutes and then the Bishop walked by! I had never met a Bishop before. Yeah yeah- I know there is a joke in there somewhere, “A Jazz Man, Santa and a Bishop walk into a bar….” that is as far as I want that to go! The three of us had a nice conversation for a few minutes and Santa and the Bishop left. I got back to playing and a few minutes later, Santa drove by and yelled out his window “Hey Boston! I have something for you!” He handed me a strand of battery operated lights, I thought that was pretty cool. I thank him and he went off. I wrapped the lights around Gilda and she looked beautiful all lit up!!
On the Friday afternoon market,I didn’t get to play too long, as it rained. After, I put all my gear away, I saw Father Richard and I asked him if I could see the Basilica. He took me in and guided me through. I sat down for a few minutes and then I left. After talking to Dodds, I decided I would go to Emilia’s for a late lunch. The food there is excellent, at least what I had was. I was talking to Ricky and Lynn, the owners, and they told me there would be a band that night. Thinking it was going to rain, I figured I would go see the band. Later I went, and it was a trio, and they were really good, very mellow laid back jazz trio. I listened for a while and saw that it wasn’t raining. I decided to go play for a while myself. This is the other night that sticks out. I wasn’t even going to play, and it turned out to be one of the best shifts I have had on this entire trip. I was so grateful at the end of the night, not just for how well I did, but as always- and I mean always for the people I get to meet and talk to. That entire night was just the perfect end to my last night in that area.
The next day at Las Cruces Market, it was very cold and windy. Only about a third of the vendors showed up. About 10 minutes after I started playing, a youngster named Evan, who was carrying a saxophone approached me. He wanted to play with me and split the tips we got while he was there. At first, I didn’t want to. But then I thought, “why not?” We took turns playing songs. He has only been playing the sax for 4 months, he had been playing oboe, but he was playing things he learned by ear from a band he likes. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the band. We tried a shot at doing some improv together, it didn’t go too well, but at least we tried! He was with me for about 15-20 minutes and we didn’t have to split anything, it didn’t matter- I think we had a good time! Thank you for that, Evan!
I was able to last about 2 hours out there on Saturday morning. I met a couple who was busking their way east. I thought that was cool, I am headed west, they are headed east! We shared some information on the locations we had already been to. I wish them the best! Duane had organized a Tuba Christmas for later. I went to watch that, as I used to play tuba in high school. That was a great show. After the show, I walked around for a few minutes and decided it was time to head to Tucson. I looked for all of my new friends so I could say goodbye. Everyone was so sweet, with hugs and “Next time you are in town…” and Elliot gave me an ornament that she had made from her table. I put that right up next to the one Jainey gave me. All of that made it a little more difficult to go.