Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Trails

One of the craziest things I've even done in my life was commute 8 hours to work. Now of course it wouldn't be possible to drive 8 hours to work, put a full days worth of work in, then drive 8 hours home. When I moved to Albuquerque in the fall of 2001 I was unemployed. I went through the long (or what seemed long), stressful job hunt until I landed a job in Santa Fe working as a Native American auditor for Kenton Keckler & Co. The first day there I became friends with an older (At the time I think he was in his late 50's, early 60's) co-worker, Patrick Newman. Patrick often went by a childhood nickname of Dub. He was wonderful. He was a jolly, round fellow who was very laid back. After one week of work we headed out on our first job, auditing the Duckwater Shoshone about an hour outside of Ely, NV. That trip deserves whole  post in the future. Several months into this job, Kenton decided that he was relocating the office to Denver. He wanted Dub & I to come along with the promise raises and other perks (Rockies tickets, etc.). Neither of us wanted to move right away so we took to just travelling there for the week. My first trip, I flew into Denver & stayed at a hotel not too far from the office. The flight was expensive & the hotel was in a bit of a shady area so that quickly put an end to that. So then Dub & I started car pooling for the 8 hour trip and we'd get hotel rooms in different areas always trying to find the cheapest rate. We drive up on a Sunday night, sometime driving through the night, then we'd work 10-12 hour days so we could head home Thursday night or Friday morning. We had a lot of adventures on those trips. We once saw a drunk driver driving half naked with all his windows down to keep him awake (or sober). One of our trips home we hit some sort of bird that Dub swore was an owl. He called me Bluejay (a nickname off of my last name), and often would ask me to explain the latest fashion or trend. He'd tell me about his daughter & her two kids that he thought highly of. He'd tell me that he remembered asking his parents for money and would say, "Gimme nickel" to them. Just went to show the change of inflation from his childhood to mine. He'd tell me about Austin & told me I should visit there someday. I remember him drinking peppermint tea in the morning & having a Hershey kiss to go with it. He like to go to a place called Manny's that was across the street from our office. The hotel rooms got expensive so we once tried staying in a hostel. That was a really shady experience that left us fleeing quickly from the next morning never to return back to that place. Sometimes we would be lucky enough to stay in our bosses apartment that was in the same building as the office...Dub would get the bedroom, I'd get the couch. I remember times where I even spent the week sleeping in the office. Kenton started having some financial issues and wasn't paying Patrick what he promised. The two of them weren't getting along & Dub wisely parted ways. Shortly after I went to quit when Kenton told me he couldn't afford to keep the office and was moving back to Santa Fe. I stayed on for a while doing contract work for him and working out of the house. I'd meet up with Dub periodically for dinner and we'd often exchange e-mails. I later on hired at Isleta and worked there for a year before moving back home. I always was thrilled to hear from Dub and see what his next adventure was. He loved hanging out in pool halls and always had stories from that. Every single e-mail ended in "Happy Trails". Last night I received an e-mail from a stranger who was replying all to a mass e-mail that Dub had sent out last January. He hadn't heard from our mutual friend in a while & wanted to know if the rumor he heard of Dubs passing was true. Sadly, I found out that Dub went on to the other side. I hope he's making amends with that owl so I won't have to when I get there.

Dub, you were one of the coolest old dudes that I ever met. You didn't need me to know what trends were cool & hip, you already had it down! I'll miss you, my friend. Happy Trails.

(I don't know who to credit the photo to, I took it off of his FB page.)

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