Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Where Does The American West Begin?

Just where does the American West begin? Several cities lay claim, but none so tenaciously as Fort Worth, Texas. For them the pivotal point is their own cultural bull's eye--the city's much prized historic stockyard. I prefer the spot identification that award-winning American author Tony Hillerman (1925-2008) pinned in his own hand, now preserved in a plastic sheath on location.

The Two Grey Hills Trading post is authentic, one of the few remaining on the reservation. The post was established in 1897 and has passed through a series of owners. Les Wilson, the present owner, moved to the Navajo reservation from San Diego right after high school graduation to fulfill his ambition of becoming a trader. Sandy and I met Les and his wife Irma about a decade ago. For awhile Sandy made several long trips back to the area where Irma and a few of the area of weavers taught her to spin the wool sheared from their prized Churro sheep. Much to our disappointment both Les & his wife were out today, but we consoled ourselves by purchasing a Two Grey Hills Rug, one of the world's most coveted textiles, from his vault. We concluded our work day with an a la carte picnic of savory mutton ribs, 2 each, from T&R Market just outside of Gallup.