We’ve arrive in the little town of Trinidad – a place of
my former life I would have loved to come and look for unique old treasures to
buy and haul back to my business in the Bay – but a place I would have been
prepared to deal with lots of bigoted, narrow-minded white folks and maybe not ever
viewing a single person of color.
I doubt the town has changed much except the addition of
legalized marijuana plus a little organic food co-op. There’s a ‘blighted’ red,
white and blue tRump sign that proclaims “Make Marijuana Great Again” – so the
town has a sense of humor – and a closed sign of the plate glass window of the
co-op admonishing the lazy town’s people for not volunteering therefore not
having an open place to buy organic veggies and homemade kombucha.
After our brief tour of the town including traversing streets
paved in red brick, where we received a couple of friendly smiles and one scowling
middle aged white male in a huge white pickup, we headed to the ‘welcome
center’ for a quick bathroom stop and are heartily greeted by the bespeckled
white-santa look-alike behind the desk.
You can count on sparkling clean bathrooms at welcome
centers, as they are the advertising and promoting vortex of the area they’re
in, as well as extremely polite old retired white folks – no lack of volunteers
here – behind the counter. And this was no exception.
The old man pumped us for information about where we were
headed, not seeming to care where we came from – and I’m more interested in
telling him where we came from.
His response is to point out the water fountain which he
claims is 90% pure and doesn’t elaborate when I ask him several times what is
the other 10%???
He wants to guide us to places we can visit, if only we’ll
tell him which direction we’re headed. There’s another much younger man sitting
across the spacious room, in front of a large flat-screened tv watching
something. He chimes in to (mis)inform us Denver is 387 miles away. He is
skinny and tall, bundled in drab clothes hanging limply but not quite reaching
his wrists, one dark brown eye straying to the right while the other regards us
The white man leans in and lowers his voice to tell us
conspiratorially he allows homeless (people) to gather in the warmth of the
welcome center often. I feel a surge of anger, knowing how hard pre-tRump life
is for this young brown man, and I snap at this old white man, the statistic
who elected tRump, it’s gonna become a lot more difficult when tRump takes
The old man immediately but just as conspiratorially –
this time glancing in the other direction towards the front doors that remain
unpeopled – expresses his disdain for tRump and then accusingly says 54 percent
of women voted for him. I quickly and firmly correct his statement “white
women” you mean, not Black or brown womyn.
And I point out that even more old white men than old
white women voted for him. We share marvel tinged with longing that someone has
not eliminated this despicable threat to all life on our planet.
White people ‘established’ – as in colonized – this town
104 years ago and our host, being 82 and born and raised here, must have been
prodigy of the earliest colonizers. I don’t ask about the Native people who I’m
sure lived here thousands of years before his ancestors – other than names of
streets or businesses and the young homeless man, there is no evidence of such
We must get on the windy roads while the sun is still
brightly illuminating and warming our way and we are cautioned about ‘gusts’ up
to 50 miles per hour…oh to be in the south!