Monday, January 10, 2005
Rick’s Family Site
Today, I am introducing a new part of this web site. Over the past couple of years, I’ve collected a number of photos, letters, newspaper clippings and other “memorabilia” associated with my family on my mother’s side. I’m going to start publishing a lot of that to this web site. It will likely be of most interest to my immediate family, but others may enjoy browsing through it. And, historians or geneologists may get some use of it.
I’m starting this section with a post that I got double-spaced type-written among a bunch of other stuff from my mother. She has never seen or read it before, so we don’t know exactly who wrote it or why.
It is an amusing write-up of a parade and barbeque that locals in Ruidoso, New Mexico hosted to help celebrate the quarto-centennial of the state of New Mexico. That was in 1940, and it was called the Coronado Celebration in order to commemorate the opening of the Coronado State (National?) Monument that year.
Bill Hart, who ends up doing the barbeque, was my maternal grandfather’s brother—a local Ruidosoan who created and ran the local electrical utility at that time.
To read the story, click on “More…” below. To view old photos (and family members feel free to leave comments!) click here.
Ruidoso - 1940 Coronado Tour
The occasion was the celebration of the Quarto Centennial of the State of New Mexico.
Since Ruidoso was not a political subdivision it was necessary for the planning of such a gathering to be done voluntarily by the business people of the area. There was a Chamber of Commerce that was working for the growth of the Village so it fell to this organization to handle the advertising, the funding and the actual presentation of the program. This included an advance group that traveled to the adjacent towns presenting a band with street parades, costume dances, clowns, Indians and loud speakers and hand bills scattered among the people who gladly gathered to the response of the music.
The program for this Quarto Centennial was to be a parade up the one and only street. Businesses and individuals were invited to enter floats drawn by horses, or oxen, or auto or to walk or ride horseback singly. The parade was to be at 10:00 A. M. beginning at the Navajo Lodge and ending at the Schoolhouse Campground by noon. Here everyone gathered for public speaking and to enjoy a feed of barbecue and beans.
It is this gathering that had attracted several thousand people, many from over the county, others from Roswell, Artesia, Carlsbad and Portales on the east and from Tularoso, Alamogordo and Las Cruces on the west. Many came from El Paso as they had summer cabins in Ruidoso. Some came from Santa Fe.
There were two men in New Mexico whose reputations as barbecue chefs [were] known throughout the southwest. One of these was longtime firechief of the City of Roswell, Rue Christman. The other was well-known rancher from Catron County, Tom Summers, who recently had been appointed chief of the newly created New Mexico Police. These guys were long time buddies and were very happy to have been asked to prep all the meat for the Quarto Centennial Celebration at Ruidoso.
They arrived in Ruidoso separately in mid-afternoon a day ahead and not having seen each other in several years, they were soon celebrating their reunion.
The pit had been dug early that day and the wire to support the meat was stretched and staked to iron posts at each end. Pieces of pipe cross-wise under the wire made it rigid. Large piles of oak wood and a small amount of pine for starting was placed on one side of the pit. A good mixture of wood was previously placed in the bottom of the pit.
By night-fall all of the workers had gone home except two. These were Bill Hart and Dick Traylor. The former was manager of the power (electricity) company and Dick was principal of the school. Bill had had experience in cooking barbecue having participated in cooking the meat for the celebration of the location of Texas Tech at Lubbock in 1924. Dick Traylor had a life-time experience camping, fishing and hunting in Lincoln County where he was born and raised.
While all this was going on, two other Ruidoso businessmen, George McCarty who owned the Self-Service grocery, the towns largest grocery and retired veteran A. D. Hart (not related to Bill) went to El Paso after the meat and other supplies. They had gotten loaded early and started for Ruidoso. In those days there was very little pavement along that road. Somewhere between Newman and Alamogordo, along where the sand was the deepest the truck broke down but their problems are another story. They arrived at the barbecue pit well after dark.
In the meantime Hart had persuaded the two cabellaros in charge to let him light the fires. For awhile there was quite a flare-up but it soon burned out the pine and the oak took over when the meat did arrive, the pit was ready.
McCarty and A. D. parked the loaded truck and walked home. By this time Rue and Tom had passed out and were no longer conscious of the pending barbecue [the] next day. After consultation with Dick, Bill decided to get the cooking started. He and Dick man-handled the quarters of beef, cut them into smaller pieces and placed them on the wire above the heat. Bill took on the job of making the sauce according to his father’s old recipe. This he started mopping on the meat and turning it. Dick had set up a new 30 gallon garbage can on a brick frame for the cooking of the beans. Along about midnight Dick came over to where Bill was tending the meat and said “Bill, that can of beans is running over, what can I do?”
Bill said, “You have some other cans there, take one and set up another and put some of the beans over in it. By the way, how many beans did you put in the can?”
“I put the whole sack in”, Dick answered.
“You mean you put in the whole 100 pounds?”
“I sure did,” was Dick’s reply.
“Holy Mackeral, 25 pounds would have been enough.”
As the meat had started to cook and had started dripping, it required Bill’s full attention for the next couple of hours. Again Dick came over to Bill and said, “Both of the cans are full and still rising. What next?”
“You will have to set up two more cans and that should be enough. We will have to get some more cans when the stores open up to make coffee in”, Bill answered.
Everything was quiet for the rest of the night. Bill kept turning the meat and basting it. The fire was burning evenly and hot. Dick now had the beans under control, four cans full, so he set about putting some salt pork and seasoning in each can. An occasional stirring was all the work necessary except a small piece of oak to keep them boiling.
Along about daylight, the two pros who were supposed to supervise the night’s cooking awakened, sobered up and climbed out of their cars. When they saw what had been done they sheepishly straightened up, their clothes and hats, got in their cars and Christman headed for Roswell and Tom for Santa Fe.
One of the entries in the parade was an ox-cart drawn by two Mexican steers owned by Bert Bonnell at Bonnell Ranch at Glencoe. The day before Bert and his son, Ralph, drove the oxen up to the Cree pasture at a point about where Holiday House Restaurant is now and camped for the night. Next morning they arose early, fed their oxen and then walked over to the campground where the cooking was going on. Bill and Dick invited them to have breakfast. Bert was a champion barbecuer himself and after sampling several cuts at different places along the pit, he declared it the best meat he’d eaten. After awhile they returned to their oxen, hitched them up and headed for the parade starting point at the Navajo Lodge.
By this time people on horseback, in old cars, wagons and buggies were gathering. Bands were warming up. Governor Johnnie Miles and his escort arrived from Santa Fe and Miles was joyously greeted as they drove thru the town.
The parade started on time led by Montie Gardenhire carrying the American Flag, flanked by Tom Babers carrying the State Flag. The Governor’s car was next. For the next two hours thousands of people lined the sides of the street and covered all the vacant lots trying to get a better view. Kids and dogs ran in and out, the dogs barking and the kids blowing horns and flying balloons.
Back to the barbecue - about mid-morning an old Ford pulled up alongside the east end of the pit. Out came the local Justice of the Peace, C. D. Weems. Judge Weems considered himself a number one judge of all things, barbecue in particular. Bill watched him as he took out his pocket knife, carefully chose a piece of meat on the far side of the pit. Cutting a long slice from the loin side of the quarter, he tasted it gingerly. Without comment he proceeded about 10 feet, then stopped and cut off another piece of equal size. This continued the length of the pit tasting as he went. When he arrived at the end of the pit he had a couple of pounds of choice meat left from his tasting. Bill had been watching him all along and when he came out from the pit with one hand full of meat and wiping his knife blade on his pant’s leg with the other hand, Bill said, “Well Judge, how is it?” Without turning or looking back he said begrudgingly, “It’ll do.” got in his car and left.
Tables had been set up and a few folding chairs, not nearly enough. The serving crew was on hand. Slicing meat had been going on all morning and large pans holding it had been kept warm near the fire. Two serving lines were provided, each with meat, bread, pickles, onions, a variety of canned fruit, honey, fresh apples and last, pinto beans. Coffee was available right out of the 30 gallon cans which one of the crew attended.
A speaker stand was set up and all the dignitaries including the governor were to sit on the stand. There were no loud speakers in those days but when Bill beat the pan with a big spoon and said, “Lets eat”, all fell into the indicated lines, picking up plates and cups along the way. With as many helpers as there were, it was not long before everyone was served and looking for a place to sit. It was not decided if it was the good food or was it the long wait with anticipation that caused the crowd to consume all the food, and the abundance of beans. Many asked for containers in which to take beans home with them. Dick was glad he did not throw any beans away but declared he’d never again cook a one hundred pound bag of beans at one time.
Posted under: Rick's Family • by Rick Robinson on 01/10/2005 at 07:36 PM
Permalink • eMail this article