And Then I Get Out Of The Wayback Machine

I got a little down this past weekend. It might have been coming off one of the busiest weeks in recent memory. Twelve hour work days can bring a girl down.

It could have been the emails flying around about the upcoming memorial for my friend. It hurts my heart.

Perhaps it was simply about the dark gray skies and soaking rain that laid down like a cold, wet blanket over the Bay Area.

Yeah. It was all of that. But there’s one more.

Back in February, when I was visiting my Fair New Mexico, my best good friend told me some really good news.

“Friend, there’s a Lake Valley coming up! Joe Delk got the permits!”

Well, this made me grin so hard, the sides of my mouth met around the back of my head.

Ah Lake Valley. Now there’s a memory.

The town of Lake Valley, once a booming silver mine, is now a ghost town. Out there in the middle of gosh darn nowhere (a little to the left of I-25, a little to the right of Silver City), there are a few buildings still standing.

One of them is an old schoolhouse. For a lot of years, cowboys, ranchers, locals and college kids got together at that Lake Valley schoolhouse for a good old-fashioned country dance.

When I say a lot of years, I mean my best friend’s grandma remembers coming out to Lake Valley to dance, and she and I do too.

People came from miles around to tailgate, share beer and stories, and dance on the uneven wood boards of that rickety old schoolhouse.

The last Lake Valley dance happened back in the late eighties. The BLM has taken over the land and buildings and it’s been mighty hard to get in there ever since.

But to hear that Joe Delk, leader of local band The Delks, had somehow persuaded the BLM to go along? Well hell, I bought my ticket PDQ. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

March 19th was when it was set to go down.

About a week before I started packing my bags, I got the news. Sadly, it was not to be. Evidently the BLM wanted a whole lot of restrictions that just wouldn’t work. So Joe cancelled the dance.

When I heard the news, I felt low.

And so…on this past rainy Saturday, I looked out my window and I texted my best friend. “This would have been Lake Valley weekend.”

“Yeah,” she replied. Then she sighed.

And I sighed.

But it was not to be.

I guess Lake Valley gets to live on only in our memories.

Maybe I should write a story about it one day. It’s a intriguing bit of New Mexico history that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Ah well. Monday rolled around and the rain came down and work was waiting and I stepped out of the wayback machine and back into my life.

But somewhere in my dreams, I scoot across the uneven floors, careful not to trip on a nail, while the band plays “Put Your Little Foot”…..and we dance.

That’s the schoolhouse. Now imagine it at night. Very dark out there…

Photo from Jimmy Emerson‘s Flickr photostream.

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  • Aaron Lindsey

    The building is beautiful, though, and I bet the dances were a blast. Sounds like it, anyway….
    At least you’ve got some great memories.

  • Karen Fayeth

    Aaron – Indeed, and in my memories I can go dancin’ anytime I want! :)

  • Sam sanchez

    This brought back some good memories, in the summers of ’92 and ’93, I worked on a Forest Service fire crew out of Esterbrook, WY. There was a place called Hubbards Mountain Cupboard over the mountain from us, and they had the best dances there, just like the ones you describe held at Lake Valley. You could see three generations of the same family just having some good western fun together and when it got late for the kids, they just got laid out to sleep in the tents people pitched around the place. Good times, still aim to get out of El Paso and make it up to this place for a dance or two.

  • Karen Fayeth

    Sam – Yeah, if they can ever work out the kinks with the BLM and actually have a dance, you gotta get up there!

    Did you know that the Corbett Center Ballroom is no more? I was on campus in February and I walked up those stairs with all that same anticipation of going to a Corbett dance….but it’s all different now.

    I was way bummed.

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