Back to Barelas for Huevos, Repairs, and a Man with Bronze Skin


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Let’s go back to Barelas.  My friend Sam Pillsbury and I went down for breakfast at the legendary Barelas Coffee House.  He, being vegetarian, had pancakes.  I had the basic huevos rancheros.  Apparently Barack Obama had the DeLuxe huevos rancheros when he ate here.  That’s where they sneak a couple of corn tortillas under the eggs and sprinkle some cheese on the chile.  It’s a dollar more.
back to barelas - huevos
It was a good breakfast, and everybody around us seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.  There were lots of nods, smiles, hellos and man-to-man hugs.  Our waitress Julia had such a nice smile.  Anyway, we paid our bill and wandered through their front room.
back to barelas - waitress
They sold some souvenirs.  But what I really liked was they had a whole lot of candy arranged on the counter top for sale as well.  What that meant to me was kids.  A lot of kids come here as well for it is truly a family place.  This part of the Barelas Coffee House looked like a neighborhood candy store.  And apparently it was.
back to barelelas = candy
My biking buddy Mike Moye grew up in the south valley and mentioned a grocery store next to the Coffee House that was run by one of the Salazars before they opened their funeral home.  This room must be it.

Sam and I, now finished with breakfast, drove north a couple of blocks, for I had other business to take care of in Barelas besides wolfing down eggs and red chile.
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I had brought along my big, heavy malted milk machine:  a Hamilton Beach model 30 dating from somewhere in the 40‘s or 50‘s.  It made a lot of noise and it just wasn’t working like it should.  I wanted to get it fixed, and there just aren’t that many places to take something that old for repairs.

One of the things to like about the Barelas community is that there are a variety of shops and service oriented businesses.  That’s not so true where I live in Nob Hill.  It’s mostly restaurants and bars there.

Barelas is lucky to have places like Lee’s Electric Motor Repair right on the main drag.  We walked in there with that big 15 pound Hamilton Beach model 30 and I hoisted it up on the counter without a word.
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A big man wearing a blue shirt that said his name was “Kelly” finished a phone call and walked over to the counter.

“What’s wrong with it?”

“I don’t know for sure.  It makes a lot of noise.  Might be the brushes.  It goes kkkkkkkkkzzzzzzkkkkkkkzzzzzzzz.”

“Looks pretty old.  Not sure about parts.  It’ll be three days before we can get to it.”

“That’s fine.  I’m going out of town for a while anyway.”

He wrote out a ticket, tore it in two and hung the big part on the mixer.  He handed me the other piece.

“We’ll let you know,”  He said.
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Sam and I walked out the door which, incidentally, looked stout enough to withstand everything but dynamite.

We sauntered across the street to a smartly dressed chap that was sitting on a bench.  It turned out he was reading a copy of Don Quixote.  It also turned out that his bronze good-looks had to do with his actually being made out of bronze.
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I love life-size sculptures!  And you know they will take on added interest the older they get.  Can you imagine a young couple stopping here a hundred years from now?

“Hmmm…look Honey.  He was reading Don Quixote back in the days before skull ports.  But what do you call those things like a slo-mo-reader but had the words printed on pieces of paper?  Ah…you had to flip them over.”

“Books.”

The plaque stated that Dr. John A. Aragon was born and raised here in Barelas and was President of New Mexico Highlands University.  He died in 1997.  The sculpture was created in 2003 by his daughter, Judith Alison Aragon.
Back to Barelas - Aragon book
It’s a beautiful tribute.  Just wonderful.  And there is plenty of room on the banco for his daughter to sit next to him.  And I bet she does.  So I decided to call her up.

She told me that he dad was born in the two-story house across the street.  His grandfather had built it.  When he was 13 or 14 he attended the famous El Rito Normal School, a boarding school that was set up before statehood.  It’s early mission was to teach English to people in northern New Mexico.  It was thought that it would help us achieve statehood.  Apparently Aragon attended after it had changed its mission.

Dr. John A. Aragon got his PhD in Education from the University of New Mexico.  In fact, he had a lot of public support to be considered to be president of UNM.  He did not get that position, but in the 1970’s he was president of New Mexico Highlands University.
back to barelas - old bch front
“My father was very much a man of the people,” said his daughter Judith.  “He loved eating at the Barelas Coffee House.  His cousins owned it.”

“He was cordial and friendly,” she continued.  “He was held in such high regard, that even the hospital workers came to his funeral.”  And that banco that I talked about?  She said she made it that way so people could sit down next to him.

His favorite book?  Yep, you guessed it:  Don Quixote.
Back to Barelas - malt mixer
Oh, and my old Hamilton Beach Model 30 malt mixer?  A bad cord.  It was ready that afternoon.

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