The sign on the front of the building reads ‘Kona Coffee Served Here”. However, I did a little investigative work, peaking under the cabinet, and that statement is not true.
At three thirty in the afternoon, yesterday, I was sitting on a sidewalk in Marfa, fueling up at a gas station on Power-Aid, discussing the road ahead with two gents who are traveling the states on a pair of BMW motorbikes. One of the fellas spoke with a French Canadian accent, expressing his admiration; that I’m self propelling Jo and I across the country.
On the outskirts of town, there is an observatory where those passing at night have a chance of viewing the unexplainable, Marfa Mystery Lights. These peculiar beams have gained some fame as onlookers have ascribed them to paranormal phenomena such as ghosts, UFOs, or will-o’-the-wisp. Or could they just be the headlights of distant travelers?
That’s where I met Coral and his father. Coral is young man in his early twenties, sharing with me how he is trying to figure out what’s next for him in life. He’s living in the nearby town of Alpine, working in Marfa in the service industry. He asks me what it is that I do. I give him the shortend version, sharing with him how one of my greatest passions is to create a brighter Christmas for children. He lights up, inquiring how he might go about doing the same, opening a ‘free toy store’ in his town; Operation Elf Box, Alpine Texas. We swap digits and agree to discuss the mission in further detail in the next few months.
Out on the highway, I wasn’t in a hurry getting to where I was going for two reasons, the head wind and it’s only a twenty five mile bike ride.
On a warm Sunday afternoon, down on Main Street, I pedal along looking for a bike shop and a large pizza pie. I find both but one of them is closed. An outside patio at the ‘Guzzi Up’ lures me in. I was greeted by Coral and his girlfriend. He and I had just been talking a few hours ago. What a small world. And so we talk some more. There’s another guy seated with them too who works there at the pizzeria. He offers to house me for the night.
Moments later, Anders and his lovely lady, Marsha came strolling in. They’re from Denmark, here on business and also taking a vacation, exploring the country. Again I’m reminded of what a small world it is. The night before when I had arrived at El Cosmico Campground, Anders and Marsha were the ones who greeted me. They were camped out, enjoying a late night picnic together when I pulled in. And now we’re all here in this place having dinner.
In the pane-less window behind them I watched as Nick, the retired judge I’ve met cycling, went rolling by. Since I dint have a gavel to slam, I hollered, getting his attention. He said he’s moteling it down the street, retiring for the evening after a humungous dinner on the other side of the train tracks.
It was just after sundown when Zack and I started walking westward to his place. The conversation was rather heavy. He was sharing with me some things that seem to trouble him from his past. I did my best job listening and offered him some council when it seemed appropriate. We stopped at a mini-mart where I ducked inside to retrieve some snacks for myself and my host. But after walking another mile together, listening more, I started thinking that I may stay somewhere else instead. Then he mentioned his place was up a flight of stairs. That was signal to turn around; not willing to disassemble by bike train. I gave him a hug and I spoke briefly on the topic of ‘letting go’, a practice that has helped me find peace in my life.
Now it was after nine o’clock. The streets were dark as Jo and I made our way back across town. It’s not a big place, just a few short miles from one end to the other.
How lucky was I when passing the local watering hole to discover an open acoustic jam on the patio. The songs they sang were pouring out onto the street. I unpacked my Outdoor Ukulele and joined the group, making joyful folk noises together for an hour or so. They were a pleasant bunch, kindly offering me a the use of a six string that remains in the tavern. One man warmly spoke these words as I was leaving, “you’re always welcome here”. I’ve felt this sense of community, this friendly greeting in many of the places as I’ve been traveling.
And it was no different when a block down the street, Jack, owner of the Bien Venido Motel also warmly welcomed me in. The translation of his motels name, “welcome”. After taking my forty two dollars and change he pointed me towards my room, a mix match of decor, a comfortable king sized bed that softly welcomed me to enjoy a good nights rest.