beefjerky, New Mexico, protest, SantaFe

Protesting… You Know, a Bunch of Stuff

3/19/07

I was on my way to Museum Hill, a grouping of three museums about a 15- minute bike ride from my house and just out of the reach of downtown Santa Fe. I was hoping to make my way through two of them if not all three, but I was off to a slovenly start after dragging myself out of bed late; and then I needed to make a large breakfast since that is what one generally should do on a nice Saturday morning, and so it was almost 1 p.m. before I pushed my bike out the door.

As I passed the capitol building (Nothing, absolutely nothing when compared to the majesty of Wisconsin’s Capitol Building. Be proud ‘Sconnie, be proud!), I saw a group of people rallying. Always up for a good rally, I decided to check it out.

It seemed to be a generally-focused, peace rally of sorts. The kind where everyone is protesting everything and fighting for something and you agree with most everything everyone says, but you wonder where it all comes together.

One speaker would get up and talk about getting out of Iraq right now; another would go on a diatribe about proposed weapons program stuff in New Mexico; the next person would talk about illegal immigration and how Colorado is forcing prisoners to do the work illegals would do to try and save money so we could compete with China; and then someone would talk about everyone just getting along and then, hell yeah, can I get an Amen?

There were a number of signs and placards milling about, but my favorites had to include the person dressed as Darth Vader on roller blades weaving in and out of people with a sign that said, ‘Sleep’ on one side and ‘Obey’ on the other; and the lesbian couple with the sign: ‘Queer farmers for peace.’ I also enjoyed the placard that said: ‘Cheney/Satan, ’08.’

Overall, it was a pretty festive atmosphere and then I saw the jerky man. He was an older man with weathered skin, salt-n-pepper hair and a bolo tie (official state tie of New Mexico) with a crisp navy blue shirt. He was pulling one of those little steel frames on wheels with a plastic box filled with beef jerky. He politely stopped and asked if I’d like to purchase some beef jerky, two for $5 on the little bags, or $10 for the big’uns.

“How’re sales?” I inquired, hoping to get some kind of peace rally insight from the jerky man.

He glanced back at the stage and looked around a bit, and then said: “Well, I thought I’d come down to the rally and sell some jerky, but, you know, most of the folks that come to these things are vegetarians, you know. And those that aren’t don’t have no money,” he explained.

“But we make this jerky right here and a lot of people really like it,” he continued with the sale.

Later that day after successfully viewing the wonderful collection at the Museum of International Folk Art, I sat on a bench on Museum Hill overlooking the wide open desert scrubland and chomped my way through a styro-foamy bag of jerky while enjoying a fine sunny afternoon.

Peace out folks!

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