Wanna hear a cool story?
Dad has a girlfriend out in Eagle’s Nest, New Mexico who he must stop and visit on every trip. Actually, the relationship is a bit lopsided, as the object of his attentions is a bit aloof to the point of being rude, content to direct her cool gaze out across the valley.
Mom is fully aware of this arrangement, as the she also has seen the mystery woman, who is in fact a bust placed in the upper window of an old saloon; the contrast of the stucco wall, the white bust and the blue New Mexico sky is always reason to stop and pay homage. But there was always something else about the old girl; dad even named her “The Watcher”, as it seemed like she had an air of expectant sadness.
This morning, instead of stopping just to take his customary picture, he went into the old saloon that is now a very nice restaurant. He inquired as to the origin of the bust upstairs, and was told that the area was closed due to the fact that it was known to be haunted. The owner said that the upstairs area had been a brothel back in the late 1800’s, with a secret staircase so the customers could come and go discreetly. Downstairs was the saloon and a “respectable” boarding house.
In 1890, a newlywed couple is said to have spent their honeymoon there; the new husband went on a hunting trip during their stay, and never returned. The distraught young woman was left stuck and destitute, and was forced to become a saloon girl to provide for herself. Supposedly, her spirit still lingers at the old hotel in search of her long lost husband.
And the bust the dad has called “The Watcher” for years now sits in the window of the room closest to the secret staircase. The current owners of the building prefer not to go upstairs, but didn’t mind if dad paid his respects, so he did. It could have just been the scent of the century old wallpaper giving off the particular vibe, but there did seem to be an air of sad appreciation in the room when dad entered. Everyone wants to be remembered; how else would you explain the thousands of dollars paid for individual headstones every day?
If you ever find yourself in northern New Mexico, hitch your ride to the post outside the Laguna Vista Restaurant and Saloon and have a great meal downstairs, and give a thought to the solitary watcher upstairs.
See you on the road.