Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A German in Name Only

It was time for a change of the blog photo. The previous one, shown below, was taken by guide and photographer Jake Quinones of Las Cruces. It was early morning on the Taos steppe, standing next to Eggbert and I was working at opening a can of stout Jake had offered.

The next one, the one this tale is about, showed me fully-clothed in front of Phoebe (the Geo Tracker) with the German flag.

Here's the story...

Many years ago I had an office in a division of the University of New Mexico's College of Education called LLSS. Formally known as Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies, it was an agglomeration of 22 professors who taught teachers, primarily graduate students, to teach cultural diversity. There was a Buddhist, a Jew, a Fascist, quite a few from the Native American community including the Pueblos of Zuni and Cochiti. Many were/are famous authors.

There was a Chinese woman who came from somewhere in the western part of the country who when I asked if she spoke Mandarin, huffily informed me there were over 27 languages in China of which she spoke six, including Mandarin. There were also several lesbians: a militant, a moderate, and a sensualist, each, of course, with a unique view of patriarchy.  The rest were mostly Spaniards, descendents of the Conquistadors.

I, a mere administrator, designated myself The German-American and taped a brown paper sack with the German eagle on it to my door.

After my four-hour stint, I would cross the street to run my art gallery (NW corner of Central & Pine). My boss, the department secretary, came from an entrepreneurial family of Italians who'd immigrated to Gallup to be miners. Over the years she allowed me to run several businesses...as long as the faculty were kept happy.

When we first returned from Germany in '62, we went to Nashville, Tennessee. I was almost ten and had never encountered racial prejudice. Living through the Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King riots I saw first-hand the hatred and violence of Whites toward Blacks. Today, in an era of nationalism that reminds me of Germany in the 1930s, I occasionally fly the German flag as a mark of individuality, a symbol of pride in German neo-culturalism. It's nothing like being Black, or any of the flavors of sexual orientation, or -- there but for the grace of god go I -- FEMALE, but I like to think when folks see it, it'll give pause for thought. Maybe they'll wonder what those Germans are doing over there! (They presumably know what everyone else is doing.)

Once, when I was flying it, the flag that is, on the bluff above the Takhini River in the Yukon, my girlfriend, said, "There's no place for politics in the wilderness." I agreed and attempted mollification (she's Dutch) by saying it was a joke. She didn't think it was funny. And frankly, neither did I. But it's the best I can do in the face of the lines being drawn.

Finally, Wahnfried was the name of Richard Wagner's (the composer) home in Bayreuth. It means madness-free. Nomadicism has done the trick for me.

It's hot here in Moab, but at least it ain't raining.


Anonymous said...

Yup, I have always wondered where the ' german name ' came from, because there is nothing of german in the ' QuiƱones ' last name, LOL.

Art said...

We used to live on the street where Mr. Castile was shot by the policeman this week in MN and were at that intersection w/i five minutes of he shooting. Tonight protesters have blocked I94 for almost three hours. The Hispanic-origin officer has released a statement that race was not a factor in the traffic stop or in the shooting...that it was the gun the officer saw in the car. It's all bad. Many people need to greatly broaden their understanding and acceptance of cultural diversity.

MFH said...

As much as I hate to admit it, I gave up. Part of it was realizing I'd never accrue the power necessary to make change. Still, I look for those times when I can do something, however small, to brighten someone's moment...even if it's just with a smile. But I had to come to terms with the selfishness of deciding to make the most, for me, of the time I have left. Last night, thanks to 4WD, I reached a spot overlooking the Colorado River. As the fiery sunset reflected off the water I watched a heron, near a sand bar in the middle of the river, fish for its dinner. I juiced a lemon, added a dash of gin and toasted the cosmos. It was nice to be alone, but I'll be forever grateful to the lemon grower and the gin-maker.

Jozien Keijzer said...

lol you know, i forgot what I said, and why (I the girlfriend) but I say now: I actually don't know what you are trying to say here......I must be missing something.

Art said...

At 6.5 decades, soon 6.6, I have started admitting to myself that I, too, am giving up. My better half is becoming more impassioned about the issues that I would prefer to see in my rear view mirror. "The Time One Has Left" is now a daily tune.

MFH said...

I'm expressing my frustration with my impotence. In my youth I, like most youths, tho't I could make a difference in the way the world is/was. Now, after having shot my wad (as they say), I'm pondering the reasons things happened the way they did and thinking about what, if anything, to do now. One of my recent "reads" admonished people (It could have been Edward Abbey) for feeling like they had to DO something. His point was we should just accept whatever is....kind of like the Japanese. But then, Abbey was a known pinko-commie (whose writing I admire) so whaddya expect? ; - )

MFH said...

Yeah, I hear yuh. Several of my better fourths (or fifths, but who's counting?) take their other interests/responsibilities FAR more seriously than me. And all this time I thought exceptional sex would win the day. Silly me.

So I guess the question on everyone's (well, mine anyway) mind is: Now what? Penny for your tho'ts? (I can send it via Paypal. See comment about Edward Abbey below.)

MFH said...


I just read, moments ago, the account of Mr. Castile's death. There aren't words to express my grief. I offer my sympathy to Ms. Reynolds and her child as well as to the families of the policemen shot in Louisiana. My tears include the ache that still burns decades after seeing the riots in Nashville.

Good Luck Duck said...

I've hoisted my share of flags, but today I lean toward inner changes. I'd rather be happy than right.