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It's me doing a little posing while taking a break at the Ouray, Colorado Jeep Jamboree in 1995.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Look at My Few Days in the Road Runner State

I've been visiting my sister in New Mexico for the past few days. It's been a laidback sort of affair. These visits typically are. They consist of lots of home cooking, napping, reading, laughing and catching up.

But they're not all home and hearth. We always manage to get the New Mexico wing of the family out for at least one big gathering during my visits. During this visit we've actually gotten together twice.

In what was an adult-only gathering, we trooped up to a casino north of Albuquerque to have a few pops in the Sadie's Mexican Restaurant that is part of the casino complex.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may already know that I am not a fan of casinos. I see them as smoke-filled crap holes designed to bilk folks out of their hard-earned cash. In producing Discover America, I spent a lot of time in casinos from the Pacific to the Atlantic, from the Gulf of Mexico to the 49th Parallel.

I'd almost be willing to swear that the same six-bus loads of people drive around from one to another for my visits. It's the same beat-up, worn-out looking crowd whether in Vegas, Biloxi, Atlantic City or Fort Yates, ND.

Several members of my family love to go to casinos, of which there are several within a 25-mile radius of Albuquerque. Some of them even win big from time to time. And I'm not talking about 80 bucks, but hundreds and hundreds. However, if they added everything up, I suspect -- of course, I don't know -- that the losses outstrip the winnings.

Having said that, to a person, they see a casino as entertainment like playing a round of golf -- what I also judge to be a colossal waste of money -- or going to the movies -- the last one I attended cost me $23 before all was said and done.

So when they walk into a casino with $20 or $30 and manage to squeeze two or three hours of entertainment out of that money, I guess it's not an unreasonable use of entertainment funds.

In any event, I'm not keen on casinos, but I do love Sadie's. It's my favorite Mexican restaurant, bar none. And I've been in Mexican restaurants all over the country.

This event was the first time I can remember that all the adults in this family have been out together without at least one kid along. It just rarely happens. Not that having a kid or two along slows this bunch down much. This is a group of very funny people who pretty much say what's on their mind regardless of who is around.

We went to that particular Sadie's because it has a terrace off the back of the restaurant that looks out at the mountains. That was our plan. However, we wound up staying in the bar area because it was happy hour and it applied only to the bar area. We should have asked exactly what happy hour consisted of. Not much really. Just some munchies.

We didn't realize there were no drink specials involved until we settled the bill. We also think our server padded the bill; but when you have eight people ordering things, there is no way to really keep track.

We were there when happy hour began at 4 p.m., when it ended at 7 p.m. and then when it started again at 9 p.m. In other words, we lapped ourselves.

Our second big family get together was at another Sadie's in Albuquerque's core. This was really the planned event that we do for each of my visits. It is my favorite Mexican restaurant after all.

This included all the kids, which is pretty amazing because they range in age from 3 to 20. To have high-school-age kids eager to accompany a bunch of adults to a family dinner is unique and gratifying. And, it's a testament to how close this family is. It makes me proud.

So, that's a wrap up of my New Mexico visit that will end tomorrow morning. We are already planning things for my Christmas visit that will include 75th and 50th birthday celebrations.  

Bring on December!

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