Thursday, April 23, 2009

April 23, 2009
One of the stops on our art trip last week (hard to believe we left Phoenix a week ago today), was the Lowe's in Alamogordo. Last October when Kathy and I attended a marriage workshop in Cloudcroft, we flew to El Paso, rented a car and on the way up the mountain, stopped at Lowe's for wine and weekend snacks. Inside the big grocery store I marveled at all of the blown up historic photos that lined the walls—like this one:

This was in the cheese department. The problem was I didn't bring my camera, so on this latest trip I made sure we stopped there so I could take a few photos of the photos. For example, I also really dug this photo because of the great hat reference:

Looks to be about 1900 or 1910 and I believe this was in the cosmetic section. But the biggest surprise was in the liquor department. Up on the wall, for all to see, is one of the alleged killers of Albert Jennings Fountain and his six-year-old son:

Fountain had indictments for rustling cattle for certain local cattlemen, and he and his son were killed as they rode in a buggy back to Mesilla, on the White Sands. Their bodies have never been found and it's one of the biggest mysteries in New Mexico to this day. From the probable death site (authorities found blood), trackers trailed the tracks of several horses straight to the ranch house of this guy:

Oliver Lee was pursued by none other than Pat Garrett and at the subsequent trial at Hillsboro, New Mexico, Garrett and Lee's attorney, Albert Fall squared off on the witness stand. Lee got off scott free and ended up, just like Jimmie Dolan, as a solid citizen, honored beyond Aisle Three:

And I thought Arizona was shameless in promoting its thieves and killers. Alamogordo even has Oliver Lee State Park, south of town to honor their favorite son (of a buck). Ha.

Of course, this is all contentious in that part of the state and I've heard of fist fights breaking out at rodeos because some cowboy cast aspersions about Lee.

When I took my Aunt Sadie Pearl Duncan and my mother on a trip to New Mexico in 1991 we visited with Cordelia Lewis in nearby La Luz, and she had nothing but praise for "Dad Lee" and she also told us when she was a little bitty girl she had a crush on a cowboy named Wayne Brazel. I about fell out of my chair. Not THAT Wayne Brazel? The man who killed the man who killed Billy the Kid?

It was. She said Brazel was the most handsome "blue-eyed" cowboy she had ever seen and as a young girl she would go out in a bull pen and climb a tree so that he would have to come save her (I think she was about ten at the time).

So there you have it: cold-blooded killers honored in grocery stores. Life is certainly stranger than anything you could make up.

"He who seeks, is being sought."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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