Thursday, April 11, 2013

You Can Retreat, But You Can't Hide
I'm immersed in a lovely three-day holiday at Riverbend Hot Springs in Truth or Consequences NM. Nominally, Ma'ikwe and I are celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary—now just 10 days before our sixth. We had meant to mark this occasion nearer to when it actually occurred, but we postponed due to Ma'ikwe's poor health last spring.

The image above is of one of the Riverbend pools, where patrons can soak in warm water overlooking the Rio Grande River as it wends its way from Albuquerque to El Paso. It's a pretty nice set up.

We're also celebrating Ma'ikwe's rising return to health after a brutal 2012 battling Lyme disease, and, most important of all, we're marking that our marriage is doing better. In fact, much better. All good reasons to suspend normalcy for a few days of communing with hot water. (As someone who earns a living working with groups in hot water, there's a certain poetic justice about turning literally to hot water for rest and renewal.)

We arrived Tuesday afternoon and were being shown around by the proprietor, Wayne Long, when Ma'ikwe happened to mention how different the weather was here (in the 60s and breezy) than back home In Missouri, where they were coping with a forecast of cold rain. At mention of the (I'll show you mine if you) Show-Me (yours) State, Wayne asked where we were from. When we disclosed that we lived in the northeast corner, he shared that he had grandparents in Canton (only 45 miles to southeast of Rutledge). Well how about that? Then it got really strange.

When Wayne continued, saying he grew up in Missouri, we naturally inquired where. His answer was: De Soto. While this small town of 6400 (an hour south, southwest of St Louis) is best known as the boyhood home of our current governor, Jay Nixon, it was noteworthy to me because my daughter-in-law's grandparents, Bob & Juanita Purcell, live there and it's the headquarters of Purcell Tire, where my son, Ceilee, works.

Given that De Soto isn't all that big, I asked if Wayne had heard of Purcell Tire. Gobsmacked, he put his hands on his hips and replied, "My brother, Paul, was childhood friends with Dennis Flynn (the Operating President at Purcell) and Paul has a career with the company." Small world, indeed.

Dennis is my daughter-in-law's uncle, and both Ceilee and Paul had just been together in Phoenix for a meeting of Purcell executives. Here I thought Ma'ikwe and I were disappearing from the known universe into a sleepy town of 6400 noted for its warm water and goofy name, and we may as well have been the second coming of Ralph Edwards given how much we matched up with Wayne's World.

If you were paying close attention above, De Soto (named for the Spanish explorer, not the car) & Truth or Consequences (named for the popular '40s radio show, not an oracle working in concert with the hot springs, a la Delphi) have, for some reason, the same population within half a percent. I tell you the parallels between these two disparate places is downright Roswellian. (Speaking of which, Wayne was wearing a bright, rainbow-colored tie-dyed tee shirt featuring a green alien in the middle as all of this unfolded. Take me to your leader?)

With all these revelations going on during the first 15 minutes, you had to wonder what kind of mindbending experiences we'd have once we got into the hot water. Fortunately, Ma'ikwe hasn't been passing out (which was the unexpected highlight of our last trip together to a NM hot springs—see Adventures in Hydrotherapy for more about that). It has been spectacularly relaxing though, which is what we had in mind all along.

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