April 7, 2022, Abilene, TX- The tiny dancer showed me all of her gymnastic moves-including the one where she “split in two”. That, of course, was the split, a mainstay of young girls’ gymnastic shows, as far back as I can remember. She and her mother were going to San Antonio, to take part in Fiesta, the city’s signature event, since 1891. It started on March 31 and will end on April 10. They showed me their fiesta gowns, as elaborate as any Quinceanera or bridal attire.
The comely Ukrainian woman and her lively daughter also taught me a good series of stretches, to go along with the calf stretches and twists that I customarily do, after a long period of sitting. N is a free spirit, who regularly travels with her daughter, whom she home schools, across the southern tier, from their home in New Orleans to San Antonio, Tucson and Atlanta.
The Fiesta now in its last days is an apt description of their lives, and may it remain so, as long as the world does not encroach too much. I know N is worried, frightened, about the events in her homeland. She has family there, and while they reassure her that the Russian occupiers of her home area are not destroying the place, reports from the ground tell a far more harrowing story.
I meet people like N, wherever I find myself-including at Home Base Prescott. Being of an open mind is in itself a magnet for the quirky, the unusual, but most of all for the truly beautiful in spirit. I am not sure what category I would put the forty-something cross-dressing man, clad in pink dress and red slippers, with a red sash tied around the waist. His beard indicates an interest in having a certain take on the best of both worlds. He seems a gentle soul, forlorn by the decrepit state of the restroom in the 7-11 where we stopped, here in this resurgent former cow town, that is showing signs of being a far exurbia to Dallas-Fort Worth. The clerk, an adult in his early twenties, is nonplussed by his flamboyant fellow citizen-almost in an “every town has one” manner.
There surely are different forms of Fiesta. In the meantime, the bus ride that replaced a ride on the Sunset Train, goes on into the wee hours of tomorrow.